Take your licks! It’s National Ice Cream Month

"I spent last night with my two boyfriends, Ben and Jerry.” — Anonymous

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan, who had a real soft spot for ice cream, designated July as the month to pay tribute to one of his favorite indulgences. Since the Reagan-era, ice cream has evolved into a creamy, dreamy industry that practically suits every cultural, dietary and gustatory preference.

Frozen Freaks  from Afar

•  The Japanese, hands down, have mastered the art of frightful frosty treats. If you have a bizarre yen for raw horseflesh, sharkfin noodle, ox tongue, octopus, wasabi or poisonous pit viper, then check out Ice Cream City at the Namja Town Amusement Park in Tokyo, along with other creameries in those parts.

• The Emerald Isle serves such quirky concoctions as Dingle gin, green peas and mint, smoked salmon, goat cheese and caramelized shallot, toasted Irish oats and peat-smoked sugar ice creams.

• The British ice cream purveyor, Lick Me I’m Delicious, features fish-and-chips ice cream as gross flavor of the month, along with novelty glow-in-the-dark jellyfish, at a whopping 140 British pounds a scoop. ($239 U.S.)

• Folks Down Under offer whisky prune; the French have contributed foie gras and avocado flavors, while some domestic lollapaloozas include stinky Durian fruit coming out of the Big Apple, roasted garlic from Minneapolis and Portland’s herbal concoctions of mint leaves and sea urchin meringue. Syrup of Ipecac sorbet, anyone?

What’s your Fave Flave?

Baskin-Robbins, famous for offering more than 31 flavors that rotate seasonally, collaborated with a Chicago neurologist Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, to determine the link between flavor preferences and personalities.

Surprisingly, Rainbow Sorbet fans were found to be pessimists, despite the bright colors and cheery flavor blend.

Vanillaphiles were anything but boring. They tended to be impulsive risk-takers driven by intuition rather than logic.

Chocolate lovers were dramatic, flirtatious and downright seductive.

Very Berry Strawberry pickers were profiled as devoted introverts.

Ice Cream Imposters

There is a whole line-up of frozen dairy-free delights easy on the gut for vegans, lactose intolerants, allergics, the cholesterol-conscious or those with dietary restrictions. Major players have been churning out such treats as hemp-based temptations made from nutty-textured hemp seeds, decoys from soy, icy rices, nut “milks” such as almond and hazelnut, along with silky, coconut-milk delicacies.

Frosty Facts

•  Americans are top banana when it comes to global ice cream consumption. International Dairy Foods Association reports the average American scarfs down more than 48 pints a year; Nebraskans heading the pack.

• This country produces 800 million gallons of ice cream yearly.

• 12 pounds of milk are needed to make a mere gallon of ice cream.

Sunday is the top ice cream-selling day of the week.

• Children ages 2-12 and adults older than age 45 are the biggest ice cream demographic groups.

Ginger Apricot Topping for Frozen Desserts

INGREDIENTS

2 cups spring water

2/3 cup orange blossom honey

2/3 cup dried apricots

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zest from 1 Meyer lemon

1 inch fresh ginger, shredded

Method:

In a heavy saucepan, combine water, extract, honey, ginger and apricots, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until apricots are tender. Cool and add to a blender, along with lemon zest.  Puree, adding more water for desired consistency. Blend well. Serve warm or chilled over your favorite frozen ice cream or non-dairy dessert.

For additional frosty treat recipes, e-mail kitchenshrink@san.rr.com

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