I can’t say that I’ve ever had peach ice cream but I’ve definitely had peaches and I’ve certainly had my fair share of ice cream, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect with today’s celebration. My vision was somewhat similar to strawberry ice cream where it would be a yellowish shade in color, reflective of the color of the fruit, and there would be chunks of peaches mixed in throughout the ice cream. Big goobers of slightly icy, gelatinous chunks of the famed summer fruit in every bite. I figured the peaches would taste similar to the flavor of canned peaches – sweet, delicious but different from the sweetness of a perfectly ripened fresh peach. That was my expectation so I wasn’t all that excited about what was coming. It was an ice cream flavor I likely would never reach for. At best, my excitement level for today’s celebration was a Meh.
I tried to think about what the best course of action would be to get my celebration in. I toyed with the idea of taking the ol’ lady out for some ice cream on a warm summer night. It was a good night for it – still very warm, very little breeze. My concern however was that we would go to a spot and they might not have peach ice cream. I couldn’t be sure. You’d be surprised at how little information about available flavors you can find online. Ice cream places have yet to fully embrace the convenience of sharing information like that on the web. Peach didn’t seem like an uncommon flavor, so it was definitely a possibility that they would carry it. On the other hand, it’s not really a flavor you would consider a must-have. It would be a crapshoot and the uncertainty of it made going out less and less appealing. The ol’ lady would have to be ok with some from the store. So on my way home from work I stopped at Clements to pick up a tub of peach ice cream. That’s when this whole celebration almost came to a screeching halt.
When I got to Clements, I walked right to their freezer section and that’s where I noticed they were in the midst of some type of chicanery. All the pints of ice cream had been taken out of the freezer and lined up in shopping carts. ALL the ice cream. All I saw was a row of empty cooler shelves, a train of shopping carts filled with ice cream and two teenage stock clerks who seemed to be behind it all. Panic set in. I thought for a brief moment that maybe someone was actually buying all the ice cream. I had to meet this guy. Did he pull a Harry Potter and just walk in with his bag of galleons and proudly declare “I’ll take the lot!”? Then I realized that the stock clerks were just rearranging things. This was good news for the long run of future ice cream purchases at Clements, but for now, on National Peach Ice Cream Day, it was not ideal. My stash of peach ice cream was somewhere in one of those carts. I was going to knock them over and go on a searching frenzy, but instead I just asked if either one of the stock clerks had seen any peach ice cream in the carts. They had not that they remembered. but one of them said they think Warwick Ice Cream sold a peach ice cream and that the Warwick Ice Cream was still at the end of the aisle in their own undisrupted bin. This news was helpful. I walked down to that section and within thirty seconds I saw my white whale: Summer Peach Ice Cream.
When I got home I decided to mow the lawn because it was ready for it and I hadn’t had the chance to get out there. When you have the time and energy, mowing the lawn can be almost enjoyable. It’s exercise, at least when I use the walk-behind mower, and it’s also a good time for reflection as you get lost in thought. I usually put my headphones in and play Pandora on shuffle and tonight, the DJ was doing a particularly good job at mixing up the playlist. While I was outside, I also changed the oil on the mower tonight. That hadn’t been changed since early last year, so it was due. I was pretty proud of myself though because this was the first time that I actually did an oil change by myself (I’m not the most mechanically inclined). But it needed it, so I did it. Mission accomplished. Then after I dumped the old oil into the Sakonnet, I went back to mowing the lawn. It was tough work, going up and down the yard but fulfilling and I ended up working up a bit of a sweat and an appetite by the time I was done. I finished up about 7:45, just as the sun was starting to sink on the horizon. I showered, made a quick dinner and then relaxed on the couch with Lola for a bit in front of a fan. Then it was time for ice cream. I scooped some into bowls and served with a spoon. Nothing fancy here – no syrups, no cookies, no whipped cream – just straight up peach ice cream.
The packaging of Warwick Ice Cream is pleasing to me. It’s simple. The ice cream comes in round half gallon containers which remind me of ice cream from long ago (before they started putting pictures and fancy images on the labels). It’s a throwback to the company’s roots which began as a dairy farm in Warwick, RI in the 1930s. The founder, Charlie Bucci, had four sons and a daughter. The three eldest sons were deaf and because employment and education was not readily available for the impaired, Charlie decided to teach his sons the family business. With the family all working hard, they were able to open a little store front on the dairy farm and started offering fresh ice cream to their customers. By 1940, the company had evolved into a full-service ice cream parlor and restaurant operation. It has been run as a family operation ever since. I never knew much about the brand until Clements started carrying their ice cream in a pretty prominent spot. I have had some flavors before so I knew they made quality products.
About two or three bites into the ice cream, Lola stated quite matter-of-factly that she thinks she just found her new favorite ice cream. I chuckled at that, but then I realized she was kind of right. This ice cream was good. In fact it was great. It was almost the perfect balance of flavor. It had a slight bit of tartness from the peaches and that was incredibly well balanced against the creamy, sweetness of the ice cream. It was the taste of peaches and cream in a single frozen bite. There were no chunks of peaches mixed in (which I liked) – it was just a really smooth and creamy combination with great peach flavor (but not overly peachy – and not artificial peach flavor either). I kind of couldn’t believe how much I liked it. I wasn’t at all looking forward to tasting this, but the ice cream just took over my taste buds and brought them to a place of joy. There’s still magic to be found in the ice cream aisle.
Today I got a message from WordPress, the website that hosts this blog. The message said that it has been exactly one year since I signed up for their services. It was my anniversary. That was my first real reminder that the end of my year long quest is slowly approaching. It was last July that this silly idea for a blog had come to me. I let it simmer in the chasms of my brain for a few days and then that one day, exactly 365 days from today, I decided to take a baby step towards making that crazy idea a reality. That first day was just a beginning. There was no content. No real scope of what it would look like or what it would take. I didn’t even know what I wanted to call it. I just wanted to nurture the idea and see if it could grow. I was just investigating but suddenly, deep in the endless maze of unpublished pages, I was there. I kept it secret from everyone – even Lola. A few days later, I would write my first post. A few days after that, I would make my first raspberry cream pie. It was a year I don’t think I could have ever been ready for and in truth, I’m still not ready. But it’s been a journey for sure. More to come on all this reflection over the next few weeks, but the end is near my friends. Or is it?
How about that peach ice cream? An unheralded little hero of the ice cream world. Just when I think ice cream couldn’t make me any happier it goes ahead and throws a simple flavor at me that brightened up my day. Now that’s a celebration! That’s reveling in the joy of peach ice cream simply because it’s National Peach Ice Cream Day. I did it. And if I were to travel back to the version of me from 365 days ago, the one nudging his way through the Blog Set Up page, he would be happy to know I learned to love something new today. He’s be happy I was still at this quest. He would be happy to know that the online journey he was just about to take would change his life. But I should probably warn him about the job thing that comes up on Day 8. And Trump too. He would definitely want to know about Trump. But don’t forget Saturday Night Live. There’s so many stories that my old self needs to hear.
Next up: National Sour Candy Day