Ode to Ice Cream
I wasn’t sure that I would make it. It was a tough road, and it certainly had its ups and downs. But I prevailed. And I’m stronger for it.
No, I’m not talking about the fact that as of last week, I’ve survived the one year after my breakup. I survived …
Wait for it …
Giving up ice cream for Lent.
I know, I’m shocked too. This is literally the first time I have not cheated on Lent. Maybe I’m not going to hell after all.
First of all, you should know that I’m not a real Catholic. I have only been to a Catholic church two times in my life. I was baptized Catholic, but I was not raised in any church. In fact, until about the age of 15, I believed that churches were only open on Christmas and Easter. That’s what my dad told me. When he said that, I asked, “Well, if they are only open two times a year, what do they do with the buildings the rest of the time? They just sit there?”
“Soup kitchens,” he quickly replied. And I believed him. Until the age of 15, when I made a new friend, and she invited me to her Baptist church on a random Sunday. After getting over my shock that churches were open all the time, I realized I’d been duped.
Maybe I should add gullible to my list of weaknesses on my Dating Resume.
The most church I’ve ever attended was when I was with my ex fiancé. His family is Pentecostal, and very involved in their church. We joined his family at church a few times a year, and it was through his parents that I was informed that you must choose Jesus Christ as your savior in order to go to heaven. And with the Second Coming near, his parents were very worried about my salvation. Ie., one night at dinner, his mom told me she was concerned that I was going to hell, unless I changed my ways. That was pretty disconcerting for me to hear.
And here I’d always thought that you just had to be a good person and not murder anyone or do anything crazy like that, in order to go to heaven. Oh, and those Ten Commandments. I had a feeling that those were important too.
It was a case of good intentions, bad delivery. I say that because I loved his parents dearly and I still miss them quite a bit. Even if they think I’m going to hell. Let’s just say that I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I believe in the religion realm, but that’s a topic for another day.
The point is that I’m not some hard-core Catholic. But, for some reason, I’ve practiced Lent since high school. Usually, I give up something like chocolate, and then cheat by eating something that I believe will be slightly justifiable on Judgment Day. Like white chocolate.
I can just picture it now. I’ve died, in the perfect way to die: In my sleep and old as heck, but in good enough health to have enjoyed my later years. I just had a wonderful day with family and friends, a delicious meal and maybe some good sex if I’m still up to it. I’m wearing the appropriate underwear and pajamas so that I’m presentable for the coroners. (You wouldn’t want to die in your sleep naked. How embarrassing. Just sayin’.)
So I’ve died. I meet up with God in some place between Earth and heaven, and he says, “Catherine, you’ve lived a pretty good life. And you apologized for that incident in your 20s. So we’re good on that – close call though, gotta admit. But, there was the Lenten season of 1999. The year you gave up chocolate for Lent, do you remember that?”
“I do remember, Lord,” I reply. “It was hard, but I did give up chocolate. Except for that king-sized Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme bar I ate two weeks before Lent ended. But that was white chocolate. And we all know that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate. And cookies are … well, cookies. Not really chocolate either.”
I can just see God shaking his head in dismay. If there is such a thing as Purgatory, I’d probably be in there for a bit over this incident.
This year, I gave up ice cream for Lent with new purpose. It’s my absolute favorite food, and I gotta admit, since the breakup, it has become a staple of my diet. I eat ice cream at least twice a week. Notice, I said “at least.” I often eat ice cream in lieu of dinner and I even have my own personal top 5 list of ice cream places in the Richmond area. And, in case you are curious, they are as follows:
- Cold Stone (Location: Chain, so everywhere; Best flavor: Cake batter)
- Bruster’s (Location: Chain, so everywhere; Best flavor: Tie between Birthday Cake and Graham Central Station)
- Country Style Ice Cream (Location: Chester; Best flavor: Apple pie milkshake)
- Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream (Location: Carytown; Best flavor: Espresso Oreo)
- Baskin Robbins (Location: Chain, so everywhere; Best flavor: Pralines ‘n Cream)
Out of curiosity, I searched how many times I’ve mentioned my love for ice cream on this blog. Wow – 16 different blog posts. This one makes 17. I even listed as one of the things I love about being single, “No one to judge my ice cream intake.” And, I added “ice cream man” to my list of hot professions, even though I find ice cream men to be “pedophile hot.” All because of how much I love ice cream. So maybe I have a problem.
I remember being a kid, and watching the movie My Girl. Remember the part where Vada joins an adult writing class, and shares her “Ode to Ice Cream” with the class?
“I like ice cream a whole lot
It tastes good on days that are hot
On a cone or in a dish
This will be my only wish
Vanilla, chocolate, rocky road
Even with pie, a la mode.”
When Vada said that was all she had written for the poem, the teacher Mr. Bixler said, “Vada that’s … It’s very sweet, and it rhymes and that’s also good but, you’re not expressing to me what’s in your soul. I want you to show me how you see the world, your fears, your desires, your innermost secrets.”
Um, Mr. Bixler. You may know English, but I know ice cream. And Vada’s poem echoes my inner-most thoughts. She spoke my soul. You could never understand.
As you can imagine, it was very tough to give up ice cream for Lent. It was even harder to really give up ice cream for Lent – and that means, no frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, custard. Nothing of the frozen dairy variety.
Of course, now it seemed that every TV commercial was for Dairy Queen. Free samples of a new ice cream flavor taunted me relentlessly on my visit to Sam’s Club. Edy’s released their limited edition Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Ice Cream (the best Girl Scout cookie + ice cream = pure genius). Chef brought over my favorite peach cobbler from his restaurant – and it just wasn’t the same without a scoop of ice cream on the side. And the final straw was when Google decided to celebrate the invention of the term “ice cream sundae” on April 3 with a scrumptious-looking three-scoop ice cream sundae on the homepage, instead of the normal Google logo.
I almost cracked. But I prevailed. And this past weekend, I got my reward for my hard work. Not only is this year’s Lent one more step to heaven for me, but on Saturday, I enjoyed the Holy Grail of ice cream: Cold Stone Cake Batter ice cream with Oreo cookies and cookie dough mixed in. With hot fudge and whipped cream on top. Oh yeah, I was not playing around. Check out the slideshow below.
Have I lost my love for ice cream? Have my taste buds changed in my 40 days of Lent (more, if you count Sundays)? Is it a case of out of sight, out of mind? Have I found some other love?
No, I still love ice cream. But maybe I’ve cured myself of my ice cream obsession. You know you have a problem when you quit eating ice cream, and don’t change anything else in your diet – and you lose three pounds.
Maybe it’s better this way. Maybe I’ll enjoy ice cream that much more if I only have it infrequently. Kind of the way that seeing someone you love (hell, even someone you are just in lust with), feels 10 times better if you’ve been apart for some time. Perhaps the old saying is true: absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Or maybe my taste buds are just out of practice and I need to give them more ice cream to get them back on the right track. Only time will tell. We should have a definitive answer by National Ice Cream month in July.