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Ode to Ice Cream

April 28, 2011

I survived.

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:

  1. Cold Stone (Location: Chain, so everywhere; Best flavor: Cake batter)
  2. Bruster’s (Location: Chain, so everywhere; Best flavor: Tie between Birthday Cake and Graham Central Station)
  3. Country Style Ice Cream (Location: Chester; Best flavor: Apple pie milkshake)
  4. Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream (Location: Carytown; Best flavor: Espresso Oreo)
  5. 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.

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Funny thing is, since that serving of ice cream, I’ve felt satiated. I haven’t had a major craving for any more ice cream. I went to the grocery store and didn’t feel all that tempted to buy some for my house. And, while I’ve considered going to get some ice cream, I’ve decided not to.

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.

30 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2011 9:24 am

    I loved your post. I love ice cream. But mine has to have dark chocolate in it. But I’m willing to give cake batter a try.

    • April 28, 2011 12:40 pm

      Thanks, Mairedubhtx! Hmmm… if you like dark chocolate, I’m not sure if cake batter will be too sickeningly sweet for you. I’m more of a milk chocolate person, and I like really sweet/rich foods. But certainly try a spoonful when you go – they give free samples 🙂

  2. Susan Emerson permalink
    April 28, 2011 9:33 am

    Congrats Catherine for making it all the way this time!! I also made it with no chocolate what so ever!!! amazing… and actually I feel the same… setting in front of a HUGE easter basket on Easter morning (that I carefully made with all my favorite chocolate)… I didn’t even get a piece out until after lunch! crazy… I think we all have a tendancy to become addicted to something and mine was chocolate… which I know that I still love, but can definatly have in moderation. Still haven’t indulged in the choc chip cookies that I would have killed for last week!! ha… Have a great day!

    • April 28, 2011 12:41 pm

      Thanks, Susan! Congrats to you too! Chocolate is a hard one too 🙂 I think it’s funny how we are a little meh about the things that we used to be obsessed with. A pretty good by product of Lent, I’d say!

  3. 2blu2btru permalink
    April 28, 2011 11:29 am

    I’m partial to an altered version of Coldstone’s That’s How I Roll (even though I hate that phrase): Cake batter ice cream (of course), cinnamon, pecans, graham cracker crumbs, and caramel (I’m allergic to chocolate, but LOVE caramel). I only ever get the like it size, though. And the cost deters me from getting it everyday (just maybe, you know, every weekend that the BF will support my habit :-)).

    40 days is more than enough time to change a habit (I think it takes 30 days). I gave up soda once–when I drank it again, it was TOO SWEET. How could this be? Not my beloved soda! I still can’t handle caffeine (I officially gave that up over a year ago now…maybe 2? I don’t know anymore). Absence usually makes the heart grow fonder, but waiting too long, that heart may just wander off with someone (or something) else!

    • April 28, 2011 12:46 pm

      Oohhh, 2blu2btru, That’s How I Roll sounds pretty good! I also like the cheesecake ice cream with graham crackers and strawberries. Can’t beat it! I’m so sorry to hear you are allergic to chocolate – I’ll eat a little extra to pay my respects 🙂 Cold Stone is sorta expensive, so I try to make it a treat. And now that I’ve (maybe) beat my ice cream addiction, I’ll just treat myself every once in awhile (instead of once a week haha!).

  4. Zak permalink
    April 28, 2011 4:24 pm

    Loving the pics!

    • April 28, 2011 6:42 pm

      Thanks,Zak! I hate taking pictures (well, I hate pictures of myself) so it’s always a struggle to put pictures up on the blog 🙂

      • Zak permalink
        April 30, 2011 10:28 pm

        You shouldn’t worry, you’re a pretty girl and you are very expressive. Both good things.

        Once you start taking pictures of yourself being silly, hopefully like me you’ll find yourself oddly addicted and doing it more often. Snap away!

  5. April 28, 2011 8:44 pm

    Cold Stone is awesome, but the first time I went I was a little freaked out. I did not realize that the employees sing there. On purpose. And very loudly. I thought I’d stumbled across some sort of flash mob or something.

    And…you may be cured of your craving, but after reading this, I want some!!

    • April 30, 2011 11:41 am

      Mark, haha, yeah the singing sort of sneaks up on you. That’s funny. Definitely go get some – Cold Stone is the best! 🙂 (And you can always tip, but tell them no song is necessary. I bet the employees would thank you!)

  6. April 29, 2011 8:32 am

    Ooooo…I love ice cream. Especially Coldstone.

    I see that your dad was tricky as well. My parents told me I couldn’t have a trampoline because you needed trampoline insurance. I believed that, too.

    • April 30, 2011 11:42 am

      LOL thoughtsappear. That’s too funny. I bet there are lots of things our parents lied to us about…and you slowly start unraveling truth from fiction :). I will admit I felt like an idiot when I realized how long I’d believed something so stupid!

  7. April 29, 2011 10:17 am

    Love this post! And I remember Vada’s ode to ice-cream, I was obsessed with it! I love ice-cream. The last time I gave something up for lent, I was 12, and it was soda. I ended up not drinking soda for 10 years, but I gave up on religion. And thanks for the tips on best flavors, I totally want ice-cream now.

    • April 30, 2011 11:44 am

      Thanks, Larissa! That’s funny about giving up soda. I usually drink diet soda, so I have the same reaction when I have regular – I’m shocked at how sickeningly sweet it is. It’s funny, I have so much less of a craving for ice cream now. It’s kind of awesome – and perfect to help me lose a few pounds before summer :).

  8. natasha permalink
    April 29, 2011 2:34 pm

    I’m very proud of ya 🙂 fyi: you didn’t miss out on the Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Ice Cream – surprising, it wasn’t very good.

    • April 30, 2011 11:45 am

      Thanks, Natasha :). We seem to have some disagreement here between you and eternallyemo on if Samoa Girl Scout Cookie Ice Cream, seems I’m just going to have to take one for the team and try it… 🙂

  9. eternallyemo permalink
    April 29, 2011 4:29 pm

    I’m afraid I must respectfully disagree with natasha — Samoa Ice Cream is crazy good IMO. Give it a try if you haven’t already. Congrats on sticking with your Leneten sacrifice. Your semantics argument with God made me laugh out loud. Hopefully the man (woman?) upstairs shares my sense of humor 🙂

    • April 30, 2011 11:46 am

      Thanks eternallyemo! Glad I could make you laugh. When I was writing I was laughing at the ridiculousness of it as well! And then I laughed at myself for making myself laugh. Haha.

      Thanks for the tip on the Samoa Ice Cream – I’m gonna have to check it out for myself and break the tie 🙂

  10. April 30, 2011 10:17 pm

    My life is limiting enough enough as it is so participating in Lent might just kill me. I ate ice cream for dinner last night (Chocolate Macadamia Nut) because real food just wouldn’t cut it. If PinkBerry was closer, I’d eat it every damn day.

    I grew up in the deep South and one of my friends was born again… she knew I was going to Hell because I didn’t know what The Rapture was. I’m pretty sure her parents were afraid of me. My Catholic friend (who is still my favorite shopping partner) was also going to Hell because she lied in confession. Why can’t people just accept that we all believe different things but that doesn’t mean that we’re any better or worse than anyone else? Such a lack of tolerance.

    Did I mention that when I’m stressed out I become lactose intolerant. I’m now wishing I hadn’t eaten ice cream for dinner yesterday.

    • May 2, 2011 10:16 pm

      Pammy Girl,
      Love having ice cream for dinner. It’s like the best reward for a crappy day. And the best part of being an adult – no parents or anyone else to tell me I can’t have dessert for dinner! I’ve actually never had PinkBerry, but I definitely want to try it.
      I totally agree with you on religion. I don’t know why anyone thinks they have the right to judge someone else’s religion (or lack thereof). Live and let live. If you want to be super religious and do the confession thing and all that, do it. More power to you. But don’t tell me you think I’m going to hell because I don’t.
      Ugh – I can’t imagine being lactose intolerant – especially with my ice cream addiction! I hope the stress goes away soon so you can enjoy your ice cream in peace 🙂

  11. May 1, 2011 11:33 am

    I have never had coldstone ice cream (gasp!) but seriously after reading this post I think I’m going to have to break down and go get some. That cookie batter sundae you had looked like heaven (pun intended.)

    • May 2, 2011 10:13 pm

      Gizzy! You are sooo missing out! Unless you are one of those people who says about a dessert, “That’s just too rich for me,” you’ll LOVE Cold Stone ice cream. Definitely go check it out. And, they will give you free samples of the different flavors to help you pick one 🙂

  12. May 2, 2011 9:34 am

    So where do you stand on Gelato???

    • May 2, 2011 10:11 pm

      Umm, I stand on the side of right. GELATO ROCKS! 🙂 I’m an equal opportunity ice cream lover. Even if it’s not “officially” ice cream.

  13. Sandra permalink
    June 11, 2011 11:12 am

    Explicitly written with deep feelings of human understanding and personification. Substituting ice cream as human fulfillment.
    It is me, my GOD Bless everyone slogan, The Jesus freak! That is what my Father’s relatives said about me I pray for them (not sarcastically meant) I believe as a Christian, god is love, light and Father Son and Holy Spirit You writing abilities are extremely touching for deeply emotional women keep up the good work I’m looking forward to the book you one day write.
    By for now SLG, god bless

    • June 21, 2011 8:40 pm

      Thank you Sandra, I really appreciate your support and I do hope that I will write a book someday. You’ll get a copy 🙂

  14. July 5, 2011 2:07 pm

    My first job was at Bruster’s! It was amazing. We always got to take home a free pint. I tried a lot of different combinations that I never thought would go together and tried a lot of ice creams I never would have tried otherwise. Mmmm, I’m still an ice cream nut. My mom makes fun of me because just this past week I ate 2 pints of ice cream.


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