Oh, you thought our Thanksgiving op-eds were bad? Gird your stockings for the least wonderful time of the year, when the merry gentlepeople of MEL attempt to outdo one another with the most heinous holiday takes we can unwrap. We can already feel the angry tweets nipping at our noses.
The summers of my Chicago youth were hot ones. As such, my preferred method of cooling myself down was by scooping the last few spoonfuls of peppermint ice cream straight from the plastic gallon tub in our freezer. Sure it was leftover from the holidays, but despite being coated in layers of freezer burn, it remained a delectable, refreshing summer treat — sweet, crunchy and not too full or light.
It’s unfortunate that I had to go to such extremes for my summertime peppermint ice cream fix, and that a fresher serving was generally impossible to secure due to seasonal availability. It’s likewise unfortunate that mint chocolate chip somehow has such a hold on the mint-centric ice cream flavors. In fact, Big Dairy has deemed this clunky pairing the fourth most popular ice cream flavor in the country, ahead of even chocolate chip cookie dough.
Are you fucking kidding me?
The combination of peppermint and vanilla ice cream is leagues better than chocolate chip and mint. The cooling sensation of the peppermint candy enhances the creamy, smooth base of vanilla ice cream. And just when you think you’ve gotten used to the flavor, a nice crunch ignites your brain with texture, starting the cycle anew — peppermint to cool, cool to sweet, sweet to vanilla, vanilla to smooth, smooth to crunch, rinse and repeat. Peppermint ice cream is a carnival of pleasure, something that cannot be said about the lumpy mixture of spearmint, chocolate chip and ice cream (and trust me, I’m trying to be kind here).
I mean, spearmint is in gum and toothpaste for a reason. It’s a utility flavor, meant to cover up whatever chemicals clean your teeth and make your mouth feel sparkly and new. Peppermint, however, is candy. Look no further than Candy Land to see how important the red and white striped hard candy is to the candy ecosystem. Case in point: Are there any spearmint leaves to be found in the Lollipop Woods or by Cotton Candy Corner? Is there a log cabin made of Andes Mints, spearmint’s singular claim to being candy? No, there are not, because Andes Mints are a bullshit candy that remain in circulation only because of grandmas and semi-fancy restaurants in the Midwest.
That’s not to say I love peppermint candy on its own, either. Because I don’t. You can keep your candy canes to yourself thank you very much. But at least it’s not toothpaste! Better yet, any misbegotten candy canes that do end up on my person can be shattered into a million little pieces and swept into a couple of scoops of vanilla ice cream.
Mash that peppermint into the ice cream, and voilà — a tasty treat for Mr. Mint and all the little cannibalistic creatures of the Peppermint Stick Forest to enjoy, no matter what time of year.