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Small Wonders: I scream, you scream, sometimes we drive from Long beach for ice cream

August 05, 2011|By Patrick Caneday

Ice cream. Two words that bring a smile to your face, a tickle in your tummy and a cure for what ails you on a long, hot day.

Though our kids get a summer break, the world and its trials don't. Now, in addition to camp, work, sports, cooking, cleaning, catering and cohabitating, we get an adhesive, smothering, smoggy heat for a couple months.

But have some ice cream at the end of a blistering day, preferably after the little angels have been safely and securely duct-taped in bed, and the universe begins to spin on its axis once more. It will be knocked off-kilter again tomorrow. But for now, there is stillness.

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And ice cream.

I recently paid a steep price for a pint of gourmet ice cream at my favorite local store. As the cashier was going over my earnings statement and loan application, I asked what made this brand so expensive. The maker was too cheap to even put labels on the containers, hand writing the flavors on each pint with a Sharpie.

“Dunno,” she said as she circled some figures she thought curious. “But, people drive here from Long Beach to buy this stuff.”

Long Beach? Wow. Must be good then.

And it was. Deliciously unique, as a matter of fact. But I am going to hold off on buying it again until I have a special occasion. Maybe when William and Kate accept my invitation to come over for a barbecue.

One of our family’s summer rituals is to go to Foster's Freeze, get soft-serve delicacies and sit in the back of my truck devouring them before we drive home sticky and self-loathing. You can keep your Cold Stone Creamery. Give me a vanilla dipped cone and 300 napkins, and I don't care who the Republican candidates are.

But for me, two of the greatest words in ice cream lore are also the briefest.

It's It —

the perfect, over-the-counter prescription for frozen dairy product nirvana. Vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two oatmeal cookies then covered in chocolate. Keep your Cool-A-Coos and your Toll House forgeries. It's It is the original, irreplaceable cookie and cream combination.

Almost non-existent in the Southland until recent years, the It's It was the original San Francisco treat. Sorry Rice-a-Roni. So growing up in Los Angeles, it wasn't a staple in our freezer.

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