Ligaya Mishan I am enamored of your writing. Florid, evocative, funny.
The American ice cream sandwich was born in the Bowery district of Manhattan in the early 1900s, when a pushcart vendor slapped together skinny wafers and vanilla ice cream and handed them for a penny each to shoeshiners and stockbrokers alike.
Only the latter are likely to have access to the version now served on the Bowery at the high-minded restaurant Pearl & Ash. Here the sandwich ($6) arrives wrapped in paper with a happy face scrawled on it, belying the adult flavors within: ice cream suffused with Campari, vermouth and juniper (to conjure gin). It is a Negroni, transmuted, and tastes frankly medicinal, unmitigated by the trace of orange (the cocktail’s garnish) in thin bookends of vanilla cake.
The calculus of the first ice cream sandwich was simple: mostly cold and creamy, with a little crunch on either end. But unlike the cone, which functions primarily as a serving vessel, those crunchy ends (originally wafers, later upgraded to cookies and cake) are integral to the whole. They should make the ice cream better than if it stood alone. Not every combination works. Cookies and ice cream that are perfectly delightful on their own can be, once married, a bore.
How far has the ice cream sandwich come in a century? To find out, I visited a dozen ice cream shops and restaurants that have opened in New York in the last few years. (Note that the season is not quite upon us, and some purveyors are still in hibernation.)
Read the rest of the story here → NY times
Thank you, Yeah-Ya-Do Charles and and Sorry-Birds Ellen, both ice cream enthusiasts.
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