Tag Archives: ice cream

113. We All Scream for Blue Bell Ice Cream

12 Oct

The other day, my dad was telling me about some really good homemade ice cream he’d eaten. I said, “Was it actually homemade or was it Blue Bell?” He said, “Oh! It was the Blue Bell Homemade.”

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…

A grocer’s freezer, not near me.

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).

Follow that truck!

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.

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37. Chick-fil-A

7 May

I’m going home for my dad’s wedding in a few weeks, and can’t wait to get me a Chick-fil-A sandwich. Yum! Those of y’all not familiar with Chick-fil-A might think this is just another fast food sandwich along the lines of McDonald’s Filet-o-fish. Well, two words: Nuh Uh! Chick-fil-A is the best chicken sandwich in the universe. Ever. Plus, it’s cheap! And fast!

Words cannot convey how amazing this sandwich is, but I won’t let that stop me from trying: it’s a DD-size breast o’ chicken dipped in some kind of breading and magical spices and then deep fried. But it’s not all greasy like something you’d find at KFC. Not that I’m claiming it’s some granola-ish health food. It just lacks the traditional fast food oil slick. The chicken breast (or “fil-A”) is cradled by a buttered bun and garnished with two pickle slices. No nasty Thousand Island goo. No sickly-sweet ketchup. Just two pickle slices.

I never manage to get up early enough for it, but one of these days I’m going to get a Chick-fil-A biscuit. I can’t even speculate how good that will be, seeing as biscuit trumps bun any day.

Considering my undying love for carbohydrates, y’all might be surprised to note that sometimes I skip the bun altogether and go straight for the nuggets. They’re that good.

When my mom died, I took a red-eye and got home around 10 a.m. Folks had already started bringing food, and the first thing I spotted was a gi-normous tray of Chick-fil-A nuggets. They were gone before 11:00. I couldn’t tell you how many I ate. A. Because I don’t remember and B. I’d be embarrassed to say. My best guess: a lot. I don’t know who brought them, but thank you, thank you, thank you. The next tray’s on me.

All right, it wouldn’t be fair to rave about Chick-fil-A without mentioning the downsides. There are exactly two: 1. Closed on Sundays. 2. Waffle-cut fries. While I respect their right to forgo work on the Lord’s day, sometimes I sure would like a sandwich. Or even one lonely nugget. Imagine me staring through the drive-thru window looking sad. And waffle-cut fries are just wrong, any way you slice it.

Also, their lemonade isn’t all that great. Better than Country Time, but just barely. However, they make up for it by having the absolute best soft-serve ice cream. What does it have that other soft-serves lack? In a word: flavor.

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