Look. Sometimes a topic comes up on a Facebook post, and there’s just not enough space there to give it the sort of attention it deserves. Yesterday, I tried to write a simple post about how you learn to handle rejection. Naturally, my sister ruthlessly hijacked the thread to turn it into how good vanilla ice cream is. Suddenly, I’ve got family members popping up to talk about how lobster is good, as well. All it’s missing is to have someone bring up Grape Nuts, and the thread’s downfall will be complete.
Brothers. Friends. Countrymen. There comes a time in every blogger’s life when he has to stand up and speak the truth to power. Even if that power is older than you by two years. And I might be fine with an analogy about how some people might–might–theoretically like vanilla ice cream, but when it comes time for a prolonged debate about the strengths of the ice cream ouvre, then the time for vanilla is well and truly done. Because what is vanilla but the blandest of the bland? You take cream. You add sugar. You throw in some vanilla extract.
That’s not a flavor. That’s a failure of effort. Vanilla isn’t ice cream. It’s a step to making ice cream. It would be like calling a cake “eggs,” because it has eggs in it. Come on, folks! This is grade school stuff.
So I decided to give this topic the attention it’s due. To set straight once and for all the true hierarchy of ice cream. Let it be known from now until forever that this is the One True Ice Cream Post. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
If an ice cream flavor doesn’t appear on this list, then I don’t need follow up questions wondering why, or trying to persuade me I’m wrong. It’s not on the list because it didn’t break the top ten. You might like it, but you probably also like vanilla, so I don’t have to listen to you. Fact.
Ready? Here we go.
10–Chocolate. All ice cream lists must start with chocolate, for it is the ur-flavor. The flavor from which all other flavors inevitably get judged. The darker the better, but we’ll go for anything chocolatey, really. If you’re at one of “those” ice cream places, and there are only like three flavors to choose from, one of which doesn’t count, and the other of which is strawberry, then you go with chocolate. (Note: strawberry is a fruit, not a flavor. If I want fruit, I’ll eat fruit, but keep your nasty fruitses away from my ice cream.)
9–Chocolate Chocolate Chip. How do you improve upon chocolate? By adding more chocolate, of course. Everyone knows that. ‘Nuff said.
8–I couldn’t think of a #8, so we’re going to go with nothing, instead of putting vanilla anywhere near this list. That’s the sort of dedication we need to keep vanilla at bay.
7–Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. What a world we live in! The wonders of cookie dough in ice cream have long been apparent, even if it’s typically fallen under the awful spell of vanilla’s siren song. But this is the 21st century, friends. We have the technology and the capability to cast off those vanilla chains and bring a true flavor to this pairing. There’s serious potential for this flavor to move up the ranks, but for now, it’s just too new for us to really know. Ice cream scientists must continue their studies and get those papers peer reviewed.
6–Cookies and Cream. No. I know what you’re going to say, and just stop right there. This is not vanilla. It’s right there in the name, calling it what it is. Cookies. Cream. Not vanilla. Cream. All ice cream is cream. This is cookie ice cream, and it’s a testament to the power of oreos that those wonderful cookies are able to combat the blandness that would otherwise be vanilla. Of course, they use the power of chocolate to get there, so I guess we could have all seen that coming.
5–Chocolate Brownie. Sure, you can (and should) eat ice cream with brownies, but this flavor recognizes that fact so much that it just brings the brownies with it, wherever it goes. It’s like that friend of yours you had in grade school who had a Super Nintendo and brought it over to your house to play. Who doesn’t like a friend like that?
4–Mint Chocolate Chip. Yes, it’s not chocolate based, but if there are enough chocolate chips in there, then that makes up for it somewhat. This doesn’t score higher, mainly because it’s typically neon green, and you don’t know where that ice cream has been. But then again, if it’s white, it might be vanilla, and you have to do everything you can to stay away from even the appearance of evil, right?
3–Rocky Road. How can you go wrong with this? It’s like a sundae in every scoop! You’ve got your cronchy nuts, you’ve got marshmallows, you’ve got chocolate. It’s the complete package deal, and it sits so close to the top.
2–Peppermint. This doesn’t score higher, because it’s really just a seasonal thing, and it is only to be consumed in winter, ideally between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. But for those months, it reigns supreme over the ice cream world, scoffing at all lesser flavors. Yes, you have some small pockets of vanilla when pie is involved, but in those cases, the ice cream is a plus one, essentially. It didn’t get the invite to the Dessert Ball. It just came in on the arm of Pumpkin or Apple.
1–Chocolate Peanut Butter. Not just peanut butter cup. (For one thing, sometimes you get peanut butter cup ice cream, and it turns out to be vanilla based. OH THE HUMANITY!!!) In this case, I’m talking about the ice cream with the ripples of peanut butter spread throughout each scoop. It really doesn’t get better than this.
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