The lady in the ice cream store
Visor on and perfectly penciled eyebrows, smiles into our eyes as she
Uses little wooden spoons to scoop every single flavor in the store
We try everything she offers and before the cold goodness even hits our taste buds
we have judged the flavors by their names:
Pan con Platano (Bread with Banana),
Maracuyá Ají (Passion Fruit Aji, which is a kind of pepper, but also a condiment that Ecuadorians put on everything)
Ron Café (Rum Coffee)
Maduro con Queso (Maduro, a kind of banana, with Cheese)
Caca de Perro, yes Dog poop is actually a flavor.
You can tell a lot about a culture by the ice cream they eat.
In Guadeloupe, the most popular ice cream was le sorbet coco which was the most delicious coconut sorbet I have ever tasted. During my time on the island, every week I would swim on Wednesdays and Saturdays and after each swim, my treat to myself was a sorbet coco, freshly churned.
In Argentina, they take their ice cream pretty seriously too, and there one of my favorite flavors of ice cream was Dulce de Leche, the best of both worlds; I could have my ice cream and Dulce de Leche too. Of course another favorite, especially during the holidays, and a favorite among the older crowd, was Ron y Pasas which is basically Rum and Raisins. I never liked this flavor much as a kid, but last time I went back to Argentina I went to visit my tía Milka. She had me over for lunch and for dessert she pulled out a whole container of ice cream from her fully stocked freezer and we had two servings each of Dulce de Leche and Ron y Pasas. As we spooned into the ice cream everything else melted away and our mouths were taken over by the overpowering sensation of cream and sugar. We were in heaven.
Ice cream is a kind of heaven. I think I could write all day about ice cream because of such good memories attached to this particular food.
I think the only bad ice cream experience I had was one time when my dad thought it would be a great idea to buy one ice cream flavor in the biggest container he could find. In Argentina when you buy ice cream they put whatever flavor you want into a Styrofoam container and no one, just no one, gets only one flavor. He got peach ice cream, solamente, and my family and I ate peach ice cream for days upon days to never again touch the stuff.
So we set, content with our choices.
Licking our cones.
Aliyah has an ice cream goatee and the Chocolate Marshmallow flavor she has chosen now is fully part of her outfit: head to toe.
We spoon, and we lick, and we savor, and for a few moments, each of us is in ice cream heaven.