Given my affinity for wreaking havoc on my insulin levels, it would seemingly follow that I also adore Ben & Jerry's-- the premiere premium ice cream on the market. It is a rare person who doesn't go all glassy-eyed and weak in the knees at the mere mention of Cherry's Garcia, Chunky Monkey or the classic Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Decadent full-fat ice cream, chock full of big chunks of occasionally bizarre, yet mostly delightful ingredients? What's not to love?
That's right, friends. I, Diana Takes a Bite, the queen of sugar, the chocolate princess, the cupcake glutton, am not a fan of Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
I won't try to pretend like I've never waded my spoon through an entire pint of Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, Chubby Hubby or Half Baked over the course of a single night. I've done it. And during college, I was just as excited as my friends when Free Scoop Day rolled around every April. But just because I've gone the distance with and for Ben & Jerry's, doesn't mean that my heart goes all a flutter when I scoop up a creamy bite.
My problem with Ben & Jerry's is two-fold. First, it is too rich and decadent. No matter how little I eat, I am always left with a stomach full of guilt and pain. Just a half cup can have up to 30 grams of fat --over 6 times the amount in one serving of my favorite Dreyer's Slow-Churned flavors. Why would I want to limit myself to a tiny portion of Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie, when I can have a double serving of Dreyer's Mint Karaoke Cookie and still come out ahead?
Second, the chunks of mix-ins are too big and incongruent with the inherent nature of the product. Premium ice cream is an indulgence. Something to be savored, relished and coddled on the tongue. The large pieces of cookie dough, chocolate chunks and assorted other ingredients require the ingester to take a hefty bite of the product in order for the mix-in to be in proper proportion to the ice cream base. This does not work for me. I'm a girl, my mama raised me right, and I like to take small bites -- especially when I'm eating something that I want to last for more than 30 seconds. As such, I am faced with a dilemma when consuming Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Do I eat the whole chunk sans enough ice cream for ultimate satisfaction? Do I choke down a large bite? Or do I go for the mannerless option -- chomping the piece into smaller bits and leaving some on the spoon for the next moderate spoonful of ice cream?
It's a tough call. And not one I want to have to make when I'm supposed to be enjoying a special treat. As a result, I have only had Ben & Jerry's one time in the four years since graduating college, and up until yesterday, felt no inclination to make it even an occasional perpetrator in my sugar line-up. I didn't see the point.
But, I maybe, sort of, kind of see it now.
I don't know if it was the 95 degree temperature, the lure of something free in a world that seems intent on eradicating every last cent in my bank account, or a recent dearth of material to write about, but yesterday I decided that I needed a free scoop of Ben & Jerry's ice cream. At approximately 1:30 pm, I told my boss I was running out "for a few minutes," and made a mad dash to the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop on Main Street in Santa Monica. As I walked down the street toward the ice cream parlour, I felt absurdly giddy, nearly breaking into a full-on skip as I tried to beat two girls on the sidewalk next to me who were also aiming for the shop.
The line was surprisingly short and didn't allot me nearly enough time to make my scoop decision. While I was busy debating the virtues of Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road vs. Seven Layer Bar in my head, I had to let three customers go ahead of me (yes, even those two girls I beat to the line). I finally decided on a scoop of the Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road, and moments later I was sitting down to Elton John's special edition flavor -- a delectable combination of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brittle, and white chocolate chunks.
"Oh." I thought, as the rich chocolate oozed over my tongue.
"Oh." I thought, as I nibbled through a chunk of peanut butter cookie dough.
"Oh." I thought, as the crunch from the butter brittle provided a burst of contrast against the tender dough.
"Oh! Oh!" I thought, as a prodigious rectangle of white chocolate materialized on my spoon.
It was great. It was grand! It was everything Ben & Jerry's is for most individuals who are not me!
Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road -- this may be the flavor that is actually worth my mannerless mix-in consumption, and the stomachache I felt later in the day.