I’ve never considered myself much of a binger. Unless, of course, you’re referring to my addiction to very dark, bittersweet chocolate. Or to Hagan Daz Belgian chocolate or coffee ice cream. I guess you could call me a binger if you put a quart of that in front of me with a spoon.
My ice cream habit started with the Good Humor man. When he came around ringing his bell in his spiffy white uniform and shiny silver coin belt I would run in the house to get a quarter and run back out, waiting for him to climb out of his clean white truck with the dark brown ice cream pop-on-a-stick painted on its side. He’d open one of the little doors in the back, and I’d watch the cold mysterious steam escape. He’d reach his long arm inside and find– what?!– a fudge or coconut or toasted almond pop for one of the many kids who clamored, along with me, for this treat. When he rang his bell, it rang my bell. I can still feel the visceral charge of hearing the Good Humor man’s bell. It was foreplay. Though I was too young to recognize it. God how I looked forward to its arrival. I was Pavlov’s best dog.
On Friday nights Dad used to take us to Carvel where they filled my cone with that yummy soft swirl of vanilla and chocolate cream. I’d run my tongue around the cool, sweet dessert to keep it from dripping. Eventually I’d get down to the bottom of the cone where a tiny bit of ice cream remained in a tiny little cone. Good to the last drip. What a treat!
And then there was the thrill of Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors opening near my house on Long Island. I was a teenager by then. I could go into their store whenever I wanted, eye all the flavors and inevitably walk out with a cone of Jamoca Almond Fudge. I was in heaven. I guess I’d outgrown the Good Humor man, or I was looking for a something different.
But now I think there’s no Good Humor man driving around in a spiffy white Chevy ringing a bell. You can find something called Good Humor ice cream in some Stop n Shops, maybe. But it doesn’t ring my bell. You may be able to find Carvel somewhere back East, but out here there’s just mediocre Dairy Queen, and I don’t even know if that exists anymore. And as for BRobbins, they closed the store near us a few years back. I don’t know if there are any left. But I know where to find Hagan Daz! RIght in my freezer! I’m gonna binge tonight!