When I was planning for today, I had it in my head that it was National Ice Cream Sundae Day. But it wasn’t. It was National Hot Fudge Sundae Day. That’s not a problem. If I’m reaching for a sundae (and I do reach for sundaes), I will always reach for the Hot Fudge variety. But today I was planning to just roll with the broad category of sundaes. I’d pick whatever variety of sundae presented itself to me. Caramel, Strawberry, Snozzberry – whatever the flavor, I was game. I had sent a message to Lola earlier in the day asking if she wanted to go out for sundaes after work. I thought tonight might be the day I finally get her to go to Friendly’s. As the day marched on, things changed and going out for ice cream wasn’t going to happen. That was ok, it was going to be sundaes at home which is always more fun. I had plenty of supplies too. I had vanilla ice cream. I had strawberry topping and caramel sauce. I had oodles of chocolate sauce too and even had whipped cream. I was ready. Then, after we had settled in for the night and not in a position (or desire) to go to a store or an ice cream spot, were sundae-ready, I realized it was Hot Fudge Day and I was fresh out of hot fudge. This was a pickle. A sundae pickle.
Lola’s dislike of Friendly’s is deep rooted. To her, it is awful food in terrible settings served by overwhelmed and overworked teenagers. The place is always filled with dirty tables like a bus group had just left the restaurant all at once. It smells like a nursing home cafeteria. The food is greasy and tasteless. The ice cream is ok, but it takes twice as long to get that as it takes to get your meal. It’s just not her thing and the few times we have been there throughout our history, Friendly’s never failed to deliver on her perception. I like it however. I grew up with it being a special place to go. I like their food. It’s a bit of nostalgia for me and it tastes good to me. Yes, they have to work on service and cleaning up, but I still like them. It’s part of the classic New England childhood. My vision for an ice cream sundae made me think of them right away. Sitting on the stools at the counter that spin. The ice cream served in giant goblets. It was the ice cream sundae of my youth. I knew convincing Lola to go on a Friendly’s trip wasn’t an easy conversion so I was really ok if we didn’t go there. I thought maybe we could hit the Newport Creamery instead, which is kind of the Friendly’s of Newport. It’s still not a favorite of hers but it was a suggestion that stood a better chance with Lola than Friendly’s. But it wasn’t to be. We had too much going on and we didn’t think that spending our time in mediocre places on spinning stools would be a good use of our time.
Today was a day that took its toll on us. We have been fighting the good fight against the Confederacy of Dunces that is our lending system. We have been fighting them on all fronts. We have been engaging lawyers, advisors, mediators, realtors, friends, family, spirit guides, conjurers, lottery agents, Beetlejuice and anyone else we can think of that could help us combat these cretins. It’s a tough fight and the fire is still in our eyes. It just wears you down. At the end of the day, we just need to take a deep breath. We are up early. We are not sleeping well. We are at it all day long, especially Lola who is on the phone and on the ground. When dinner time rolls around, it feels like someone needs to take this badge off of me because we can’t take it anymore. That’s the time when Lola and I have to find each other too. We need to recap the day’s events. We need to speak words to each other just to know someone is listening. We work out our anger, our frustrations, or sadness, our fear. We just brace each other up so we can get ready for the next day which always comes a little too fast. That’s our life these days and frankly, it’s not ideal for celebrating at ice cream parlors. But celebrating at home, that’s something we could do. And in fact, after dinner, as we slid back into the comfort of our couch, an ice cream sundae sounded pretty good. If only I had hot fudge
I almost just used chocolate sauce and not told you about it. But I couldn’t do it. A quest comes with a certain level of gallantry and pureness of heart. I couldn’t lie. I had to do what I could. Then I realized I had fudge. Cold fudge. I had a very small stash of homemade chocolate fudge. It was from a batch I had made recently (not the penuche fudge from Saturday). It had been in the fridge in a yogurt container and Lola was probably unaware it was even in there. I had heavy cream too. I could melt the fudge on the stove in the heavy cream and make my own sauce. Was this the way they made hot fudge? I don’t know, but it was my only shot. It melted pretty fast. At first I didn’t think it would work. The pieces of fudge just sat there in the cream like errant icebergs. It turned the cream slightly brown in color, but not thick and chocolatey. Then it started getting melty and I started whisking it all together. Soon it was thickened up and it had that dark fudge color that I was looking for. I scooped out some vanilla ice cream and poured the fudge on top. Then I finished it with whipped cream. I had made myself a Hot Fudge Sundae.
I have to give Lola’s palette credit because when I gave her the sundae, she had no idea I was having an ingredient crisis. I gave her the sundae and she asked what the holiday was, I told her, then she started enjoying. She appreciated that the chocolate was warm. After a few bites, she asked me if I had made this sauce with my fudge. I told her I had. She said she knew it tasted familiar and that her mouth knew it was a taste she loved. That’s how sharp her taste buds are. She’s impressive. They were good sundaes too. Nice and simple. No nuts. No maraschino cherries. Just the ice cream and fudge. The sauce came out pretty tasty. If I were to do it again, I would let the fudge sauce cool more. That would have thickened it up a little and it would have worked better with the ice cream. As it was, the sauce was a little thin. But the taste was spot on. The deep chocolate sweetness. This was as good as a sundae could get and it was made better by being on our couch in each other’s company (and not spinning on squeaky red stools).
There’s nothing quite like the joy of a hot fudge sundae and now I know that they can get even better when you use a homemade fudge sauce. That was a new creation for me, created from one of my better recipes and turned into something more useful. It felt like we had our own Friendly’s right in our living room (without the smell and long wait). It was a nice way to end our night. Our nights are becoming somewhat precious to us. A time to really fall into each other and rejuvenate so we can be ready for the next day. There have been some sighs, some yells, some tears and always some laughs too. Our time together is getting us through the storm. The ice cream sundae helps too.
Next up: National Coffee Milkshake Day