That’s a flavor, y’all.
Once my parents discovered Blue Bell’s “Homemade Vanilla” they never looked back at the bad old days of ice and rock salt. Why bother if you can get yourself a half-gallon of homemade-ish ice cream for $5.99 at Kroger in less than ten minutes, depending on how fast the “express” line moves.
I, myself, was skeptical, but when I tasted the “Homemade Vanilla,” I had to agree that it was good stuff. Flavorwise, anyway. (I’ll spare y’all the commentary on high fructose corn syrup. You’re welcome!) But does it live up to folks’ claims that it “tastes just like homemade”? Sort of. But also, not really. Seeing as I haven’t had the opportunity to do a side-by-side taste test, I couldn’t say for sure. How can one possibly expect accurate results when comparing ice cream stored in memory with a spoonful “fresh” from the freezer?
Folks in Texas have been enjoying Blue Bell ice cream for the better part of a century. I’m not sure when distribution expanded to other Southern states and then up and over to parts of the midwest, but I do know when Blue Bell arrived in Seattle. The 12th of Never, unfortunately. Nor can the brand be found anywhere in Washington state, Oregon, or California, not for lack of trying on my part. One day, as I perused my grocer’s freezer a brief moment of elation ensued when I spotted the brand “Blue Bunny.” Alas, this was a case of mistaken identity…
If you happen to be burdened with an overabundance of filthy lucre, the folks at Blue Bell will happily overnight four half gallons to your home or office for $129. Which at first glance seems a bit spendy, but seeing as I’ve been known to pay $4 for a scoop of Molly Moon’s salted caramel maybe the math works out. Sadly, I don’t have room for four tubs of ice cream in my freezer, so it’s a moot point. (Unless y’all can help me convince Geoff that I need a deep freeze.)
Blue Bell has a vast selection of regular and seasonal flavors, but I’ve only tried the “Homemade Vanilla.” I can’t recall finding any other kind in stock at my dad’s house. Of course, that doesn’t explain why I opted for the same flavor when I lucked upon a purveyor of Blue Bell while passing through a Texas airport terminal on a trip to MS last Christmas. Or why I got the same kind on the way back home.
Looking over their flavor selection, I’ve decided I need to branch out more. Sadly, I’ll miss the August flavors Southern Blackberry Cobbler and Strawberry Cheesecake. But maybe I’ll find the Pecan Pralines & Cream or the seasonal Christmas Cookies (which, it seems, is also a summer flavor known as Christmas Cookies in July).What I’m really hoping to try is the flavor I heard about from my friend Julie who moved back to Texas for grad school last year. When she was surveying the Blue Bell selection, a friendly older gentleman kept pushing her towards his favorite, Banana Pudding, which he described thusly, “It’s like pudding, but it’s ice cream!”
Pass me the tub. Also, a spoon.
What’s your favorite Blue Bell flavor? And do you think the Homemade Vanilla is worthy of its name?
Photo Credits: BB Homemade Vanilla by kusine, Flickr Creative Commons; BB freezer display by headexplodie, Flickr Creative Commons; BB truck by .imelda, Flickr Creative Commons.