Wednesday, April 28, 2010

We all Scream for... Rice Cream?

     I love my sweets. I always have, and I always will. I long ago embraced my semi-addiction to sugar as an inescapable part of my genetic fabric. Nature and nurture have had a hand in that—one of the key players being none other than my dear, sweet Grandma Joan
     From Mike & Ike’s to ice cream cones, Grandma Joan’s house was a treasure trove of carefully concealed goodies. When visitors came over, she would cleverly place a bowl or two of sugar-free hard candies on display in her living room, as a sort of deterrent, I believe, but I knew where she kept the good stuff.
     Not surprisingly, some of my most cherished childhood memories are of spending the night at Grandma Joan’s house. I had trouble falling asleep as a child, so I would lay in her guest room (my room while I was there) and wait until I heard her turn on the television and settle into the living room couch for her own ritualistic bout with insomnia. Then, like clockwork, I would make my way downstairs and slide in next to her, waiting to hear one single string of words from her mouth. Sure enough, within minutes of my arrival, she’d turn to me casually and say, “How about a cone?”
     Happily, I’d follow her into the kitchen to make ice cream cones. She always bought the cheapest brands, and I’d often be mildly disappointed to find only freezer-burned Neapolitan flavors or frozen yogurt in her freezer. But regardless, the sensation of that ice creamy goodness melting over my taste buds and trickling down my throat was pure bliss.
I felt such incredible kinship with my grandmother as we sat on that couch with our ice cream cones in hand, watching Audrey Hepburn and Barbara Streisand movies into the wee hours. And that comforting connection with ice cream most certainly followed me into adulthood.
     So I’m sure you can imagine my dismay when, in the summer of 2006, a routine blood test revealed that I had developed an allergy to milk. In fact, I was so resistant to this result that I didn’t officially stop eating dairy until the summer of 2009. I did stop drinking milk (for the most part) upon receipt of the lab results, but ice cream and cheese? No way.
     Alas, my mind may have been hooked on fresh mozzarella and frappuchinos, but my body revolted. I simply cannot digest dairy products. I won’t go into the details, but the reaction, which involves a lot of swelling and discomfort, has become unpleasant enough to keep me away from all things dairy—for good.
So now, imagine my sheer ecstasy when I came across Living Harvest Tempt—a rich and creamy frozen delight made from hemp milk. It is unbelievably, indescribably delicious. Since the anti-dairy diagnosis, I’ve tried coconut ice cream (I’m not a fan), and soy-based ice cream products, which make my belly blow up like a horribly unattractive balloon. But hemp-based ice cream? Divine. My favorite flavor thus far is Coffee Biscotti. I have yet to try Mint Chip and Chocolate Fudge, but that’s only because my current local grocery stores do not carry them.
Tonight, after another long waitressing shift, I decided to try a new brand: Good Karma Organic Rice Divine. Rice milk typically leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but the folks at Good Karma have managed to whip this non-dairy beverage into a light and refreshing frozen indulgence, sort of like the frozen yogurt of the non-dairy ice cream world.
     Following a brief perusal of the available flavors, I settled on Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge,  which melted quite satisfyingly in my mouth with its gobs of peanut butter and chewy bits of fudge-like goodness. My only complaint is a slight taste of the carton having been left in the Wegman's freezer for too long.
     Then again, this hint of freezer burn actually enhanced the nostalgia of my frozen treat eating experience. If only I'd had a cone! (They do make gluten-free ones, by the way.)


  1. I'm a huge fan of the Turtle Mountain Coconut Milk ice creams... particularly the mocha almond. Blue Mountain makes ice cream out of cashews. Their chocolate is the best chocolate non dairy I've ever had. It's better than chocolate dairy ice cream! :)

  2. Mmm. I want to try the cashew one. I've never seen nor heard of Blue Mountain though. Damn this town!



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