Hard-Packed Ice Cream Or Soft-Serve?

Part of a series: Two choices—which do you choose?

Ice cream is way more fun to eat in the summer, especially if you like to go to places where they serve it to you in a cup or cone, because it’s like, a very American Summer kinda activity, hitting the ice cream place for something cold and sweet and bad for you, and in the summer, more than the other seasonals, the mere act of Hey I’m Going To Get Some Ice Cream, or Hey Let’s Go Get Some Ice Cream becomes a Social and Cultural Event, because you are gonna go to a place where lotsa other Peoples of the Earth are out there, in The World, on the exact same mission as you, and you will Congregate in peace and harmony and sprinkles.

So now in the summer, when Ice Cream is Go, the first decision is: Hard Packed or Soft Serve?

My name is Joe and my favorite flavor of ice cream in the whole wide world is the Baskin-Robbins Jamoca® Almond Fudge. It has everything left in and nothing left out and it starts with coffee ice cream, which I would never eat all by itself, because coffee-flavored ice cream, you know? I would have a cup of coffee with some vanilla ice cream or some strawberry ice cream, but I would never. Anyway.

I don’t hate on chain-places like Cold Stone Creamery or Dippin’ Dots or whatever it’s called, at the mall? I just think they are crazy overpriced and I almost never patronize them, but the other day, I was driving back from the tire store, where I got screwed outta an entire tire because the guy said I never asked for the Road Hazard Warranty thing, and I’m like, “why would I come back here to you with a slow leak in this tire if I didn’t think I had the Road Hazard?” And the guy’s like, “well, it’s not on the invoice, and we don’t put it on because people want us to take it off,” and I’m like, “but you never asked me if I wanted the Road Hazard, so I figured it was on there! Why would I not want road hazard for a tire that costs over a hunnert fucking dollars?!?” Sigh. And of course the invoice he prepared for the new tire, before we had the argument about the Road Hazard? It had the Road Hazard on there, he didn’t ask me.

So I got burned by the tire guy and now I just really wanted some ice cream on a hot summer’s day, and there were no options driving back from the stupid fucking tire store (which I will not identify by name, but the initials are NTB) so I saw a Stone Coldery on the strip near a Target, and I stopped in and got the smallest thing they have at a Cold Stonery, a little plop of ice cream in a giant goofy waffle cone, which I do not support, the Waffle Cone, because the cone to ice cream ratio is way off when you get a small ice cream, which is what I ordered because I need to lose a few, and it was OK, but what I really wanted was this thing pictured here, a large vanilla soft-serve with a chocolate dip, yeah, baby, are you looking at that bad boy?

Hard ice cream is like, totally great and wonderful and I enjoy it, and like I said, the Jamoca® Almond Fudge is my jam, but when the weather is hot and sticky, you gotta go soft-serve. Look at that cone! I got that at a place called The Arctic Circle, in Churchville, MD. That is Summer with a capital *UMMER*, man, being at a non-chain place like that having some soft-serve. Ice cream is not defensible for any health reason, so it’s not important what is in a soft-serve, man, it is cold and creamy and sweet. If you can find a place where you can score that choco-dip effect on top of your cone, you have a smooth creamy lickable that makes the soft-serve hold together better while you are enjoying, but even still, the decay of the structural integrity of the ice cream, the melting, fast, is a huge part of the Fun of the soft-serve, because now it’s an Activity, you know? Competition! You Vs. Cone! Everybody who is standing around in their Summer apparel licking a soft-serve at the ice cream stand is Interior Monologuing like: I gotta eat this thing before it melts!!!

You don’t get this with a hard-packed cone. There’s no sporting angle, you just kinda lick the dome until it recedes into the cone, and then the only real decision is if you wanna go in deep for the ice cream at the bottom of the cone, or crunch on the cone and risk the dry throat-choking thing.

But with a soft-serve, it’s like: I must eat this ice cream faster! When do I stop licking and start scooping with my tongue? When do I start slurping it along the bottom part where the melty ice cream joins with the cone? This is the only time I can be a hog on dessert and nobody will judge me because it’s Summertime and hot and you gotta eat the soft-serve fast! No drips this time! I won’t let any of it get on my shirt this time either! OK, next time! When do I bite the top of the cone? Not yet! The ice cream to cone ratio is still too high! I have contained the melting! Don’t let any of the sherds of choco-dip break off! OK, now! Bite the cone! Don’t let the melted soft-serve squish out! Yum.

Previously in series: Angela Lansbury Or Betty White? and Wallis Simpson Or The Queen Mother

Joe MacLeod realizes this thing came off as kinda dirty, but it’s just ice cream, seriously. Top left photo by Flare.