by ice cream. Yes, ice cream
Now even I have heard of a certain brand of ice cream from the United States. It comes with a certain philosophy and a mind boggling array of flavours. If someone is prepared to put up almost half a million dollars then a single shop will open here in our fair city. Hmmm - or should that be "mmm"? I am not sure. I suppose people will buy it.
When I was merely a kitten there was just one flavour of ice cream to be had, if ice cream was to be had at all. It was just too bad if you did not like vanilla or chocolate coated vanilla. The chocolate coated vanilla came wrapped in silver foil and it was available when you went to the pictures if you lived in the city.
We lived in "the bush", the rural areas of the state. Ice cream? Well you needed electricity to keep it from melting didn't you? It was a rare, very rare, treat.
My mother would make it occasionally, usually for the occasion of my sister's birthday in October. (The rest of us have our birthdays over the summer when we were usually in the city.) She would make it from milk, condensed milk, powdered milk and sugar I think. There were no eggs in the recipe so it was not custard based ice cream at all. I know she mixed it, semi-froze it, beat more air into it and then re-froze it. The resultant mix was a slightly grainy textured frozen mixture that we actually liked. It was, after all, ice cream of a sort.
If we happened to go to "the Show" (our Royal Agricultural and Horticultural Society Show) in September there would be the other treat...honey flavoured ice cream. It came from the mid-north of the state. People would line up for scoops of this rare treat. We would save our pocket money for that single scoop and savour it. Honey flavoured ice cream only appeared at that event.
If you went hunting there was an "ice-cream cake" made by another firm. It consisted of vanilla, ersatz strawberry and chocolate swirled together and decorated with "hundreds and thousands". I can remember seeing these but we never had one.
There must have been other ice cream type treats around but we never saw them in the country. It took a long time before the other fancy things appeared.
Now I can prowl along the frozen food section and find honey, boysenberry, vanilla, chocolate, lime, pistachio, chocolate chip, strawberry (still ersatz) and other flavours. There is also "frozen yoghurt" and "gelato" and "low fat" and "no-fat" and "soy" and yet other variations on the ice cream theme. There are ice cream treats on sticks, in cones and between biscuits. There is ice cream which is, to put it mildly, very expensive. There are "adult" flavours and ice cream intended for children. There are now mini ice creams intended to be a guilt free treat for those who are on diets but want to indulge occasionally.
And yes, there is still vanilla ice cream. It sits there in plastic containers or cardboard plastic coated containers of various shapes and sizes. It comes from at least a half a dozen different sources. Even then it is not just plain vanilla. There is also "French vanilla" and "some-thing else vanilla".
The Senior Cat likes ice cream. I do too. We try not to eat it too often. Ice cream is to be treated with respect. I explore the flavours available. I reject the most expensive brands. They rarely live up to the extravagant promises they make.
I wonder, if it comes, what the new place will be like? There are a number of "ice-cream" places around now. Some of have lasted longer than others. It is no longer a seasonal treat. I am told it is easy to flavour a basic recipe so flavours can come and go. But, comfortingly, vanilla is still there.
My paw reaches out for the familiar vanilla from the familiar maker - or perhaps today it will be the honey flavour. I'll ask the Senior Cat before I do the shopping.