Or: Literary Candy Crushes, Ice Cream Edition!
Happy Pride Month, Bookwyrms! For this year’s Summerween Post, I’ve decided to combine three themes: spooks, sweets, and saucy small businesses that celebrate Pride all summer long.
It’s an ode to America’s most surreal ice cream sundaes!
I was initially going to review Gareth P. Jones’ Death Or Ice Cream (a.k.a. “Death Or Frost,” according to Google Translate…see my Lost In Translation preview). After the first story, though, I realized it was going to be depressingly rather than delightfully macabre and decided to focus on more cheerful chills instead.
So chillax, Bookwyrms, and let’s see what’s so deliciously devious about this quintessential summer sweet!
Big Gay Ice Cream: 5 out of 5 helpings of Awesomesauce.
Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream: 3 out of 5 scoops of red ice cream with red syrup that may or may not be…blood? 😱
The Saddle Club: 5 out of 5 cranky waitresses who wish you’d just order a simple hot fudge sundae.
Playlist: Some of these songs are recommended by the co-owners of Big Gay Ice Cream themselves.
- “Big Gay Ice Cream Song,” by Jane Wiedlin
- “Ice Cream Freeze (Let’s Chill),” by Hannah Montana
- “32 Flavors,” by Ani DiFranco
- “Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps),” by David Bowie
- “American Dream (Afterlife Remix),” by Jakatta
Coffee Pairing: Coffee and ice cream go together like small town kids and goofy mysteries! I LIIIIIVE for such caffeinated ice cream creations as BGIC’s coffee shake with espresso beans and live salamanders (jk! maybe. 😈).
Or there’s the affogato, which is basically an espresso float. Conjure Coffee here in Fort Wayne has unnervingly good versions of both (minus the salamanders).
Anyhoo! For me, the ice cream insanity began with a running gag in Bonnie Bryant’s Saddle Club series. One of my first Out-of-the-Books Experiences was back in my horse-crazy middle-school days. Sitting in Annie’s Ice Cream Parlor in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, I searched the menu for a combination of ice cream and toppings bizarre enough to make Stevie Lake proud. In the end, I think I settled on a semi-adventurous chocolate with peanut butter sauce. 🤷♀️
The Saddle Club‘s chief prankster, on the other hand, loves grossing out the very humorless server at the local ice cream shop by ordering combinations like peanut butter with creme de menthe sauce or marshmallow and pineapple on bubble gum. Even when offered a free conformist sundae, Stevie stays true to her wild tastes.
Except for that one time she had a head injury and forgot how to stick it to the snowman? Luckily, Carole and Lisa loved her enough to keep a butter pecan with licorice chips, caramel, and marshmallow in the freezer for when she snapped out of it.
If only Stevie had known about New York’s BGIC shops or Rococo’s Artisan Ice Cream in Kennebunkport, Maine! The staff there would have seen her coffee with boysenberry sauce and raised her a Peppercoke Sorbet, a Sweet Avocado Cayenne, or a Goat Cheese Blackberry Chambord!
Next up is a very silly monster mystery by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones. Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream is Book 31 in the Bailey School Kids series, about a group of grade school Scoobies who seem perpetually in half-denial about their town’s cryptid population.
I hadn’t read any of the Bailey School books before, so this was quite an…experience. The adults in this town seem weirdly blasé about this group of kids constantly shouting their suspicions and counter-arguments to each other at the park and performing random acts of buffoonery in the ice cream parlor.
Like, literally, one kid busts in wearing only a cape, swimming shorts, and David Bowie make-up, and dumps whipped cream and syrup all over the emo counter girl (a.k.a. the alleged ghoul).
Any Bailey School fans out there? Are these regular occurrences in the Baileyverse? Do they ever actually prove that any of the adults are mermaids or vampires or zombies? Or is this whole series really a psychological thriller about a group of kids suffering from collective psychosis? Maybe this whole town is one big experiment and the adults are all acting just “supernatural” enough to test their subjects’ grip on reality?
I welcome all conspiracy theories in the comments!
Finally, we have a very kooky cookbook/yearbook created by Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff of Big Gay Ice Cream. It started as a converted Mister Softee truck at Brooklyn’s Gay Pride in 2009. Actually, it started on social media, where Doug and Bryan gained a sizable following even before they debuted, partly because of their hilarious placeholder name that people apparently loved announcing they were fans of in their feeds.
Soon, the delicious duo were experimenting with twisted topping combos like curry and coconut, whisky and walnuts, kiwi and elderflower, ginger and chili flakes… They were creating dangerously daring Frankensauces (that’s literally one of their recipes) and shocking sorbets… They were associating with famous fellow fiends like Neil Gaiman and Anthony Bourdain!
Behold the opening ceremony for their first brick & mortar, “christened” by “Father” Anthony. 😆 (NSFW: swearing)
The most fun thing about this book is that it’s designed like a high school yearbook — complete with handwritten shout-outs and well-wishes in the front matter, by fellow rabble rousers like Amy Sedaris and Jim Gaffigan.
The aforementioned Bourdain opens with a “Message From the Headmaster” in which he publically admonishes “students” Doug and Bryan for allegedly selling ice cream out of an El Camino in the school parking lot.
The rest of the cookbook is divided into four scholarly sections — Freshman Year (“Ice Cream 101”), Sophomore Year (“Homemade Toppings and Sauces”), Junior Year (“Sundaes, Floats, and Shakes”), and Senior Year (in which you learn to make the ice cream itself from scratch).
I mean, who could resist the sweet siren song of a business that features Bea Arthur and a unicorn as their mascots? P.S. They even have a Mermaid Sundae, which is a key lime pie in sundae form.
This book is a frozen blast whether or not you’re an aspiring ice cream artiste. If nothing else, it’s total #TravelInspo. Hopefully, the few stores that closed during the pandemic will revive soon!
What’s the most bizarre ice cream combo you’ve ever seen/made/ordered? Ever suspect one of your teachers or soccer coaches or camp counselors was actually a supernatural creature? Which of the options would you choose from the Rococo menu?
Creepy Ice Cream GIF from MakeAGif.com.
Second creepy ice cream GIF from giphy.
Spongebob’s stinky sundae image from the Encyclopedia SpongeBobia.
Creepy flying ice cream GIF from giphy.
Ice Cream Truck GIF from tenor.
Opening Ceremony video from HuffPost.
The Rococo Ice Cream photo is my own. Check out my Out of the Books post from September 2017!
There is just too much entertainment in this post. I don’t even know where to begin. 😉 But for more pedestrian ice cream tastes, I highly recommend Bubbie’s frozen mochis.
Thank you! And the Bubbies look like so mochi fun! (sorrynotsorry 😉 ) I’m going to have to find myself a few boxes of chocolate espresso and chocolate chip cookie dough (they literally wrap it in cookie dough??? 😀 ).
Mango coconut sounds good. I loved the video with the bassoon band!
The bassoon band is great! Apparently, Doug got his Master’s in the bassoon at Juilliard before starting the ice cream truck.
And yes, mango coconut sounds lovely! If I could go back to Kennebunkport and they offered the same flavors, I’d try the Maine Whoopie Pie. 😋
Ummm…. I want a Mermaid Sundae!!! I do have to tell you that the picture of the sundae eating itself is very creepy xD
Also, I’m not a brave eater. I don’t think I’ve tried anything that most people would find weird. The craziest thing I’ve tried (and super loved) was the DQ s’mores blizzard.
S’mores blizzard sounds awesome! The craziest thing I’ve had recently is a homemade milkshake with Oreo/Chips Ahoy ice cream, peanut butter, and caramel dip.
Now I’m having a random 90s flashback and craving straight-up Oreos with peanut butter, like Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap. 😋
And you’re welcome for the sweet, sweet nightmare fuel. 😈
The gifs in the post crack me up. 😂
I would choose chocolate coconut cream from the Rococo menu. I bet it’s delicious!
They cracked me up as I was writing the post. 😄 And good choice! That does sound delicious! 👍
[…] Big Gay Ice Cream, by Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff. An ice-cream-truck-owning power couple presents their weirdest recipes in yearbook form. With a Foreward by Anthony Bourdain. […]