Sunday, April 25, 2004

When good dessert makers go bad

Okay, the low carb thing has gone too far.

Dont get me wrong, I'm still a big proponent of Atkins, etc. and I'm grateful that all these chubbstitute products now exist, but sometimes I still just want the real thing! The Ben and Jerry's section of my supermarket has shrunk from an entire freezer to two shelves, one of which is yogurt, no sugar added and Carb Karma. I went to the Food Emporium in Union Square last week, where they have an entire aisle of ice cream -- same thing. Since I'd be hard pressed to think of a flavor of ice cream I really dislike, and I shouldn't be eating it anyway, you'd think I could manage, but I am on a quest.

I guess I should backtrack a little to explain. Last summer, Ben and Jerry, whom I've always assumed are very nice men, did something incredibly mean. They read my mind and created my perfect flavor -- Oatmeal Cookie Chunk, a surprisingly light combination of cinnamon ice cream with oatmeal cookies and chocolate chunks – but marketed it as a "Limited Batch." I didn't (and still don't) actually know what "Limited Batch" means. I mean, in a general sense, it's obvious, but how exactly were Ben and Jerry using the term? Would it be around for a month? A year? A season? Was it a test-marketing ploy, like when new things show up in some McDonald'ses but not others, then disappear, then come back months later with a different name? I went to their website to try to find a definition, but they didn't mention it at all. I did, however, find the flavor graveyard, which made me unaccountably sad (I'll always remember you, Concession Obsession!). I emailed them, telling them how much I loved the flavor, and hoped for an answer, or maybe a coupon or a free t-shirt. No response.

I have a long history with discontinued flavors. I still sometimes wake up in the night weeping for Haagen Dazs' Chocolate Chocolate Mint. So I started hoarding. Every time I saw Oatmeal Cookie Chunk I'd buy at least four pints, if they had that many. I could eat one and hide the rest in the back of the freezer. It's meant to be frozen, right? It keeps!

Sure, it keeps. Unless, of course, the entire Northeast loses power for 24 hours. I don't want to think about how many pints Boy and I ate on that long August night. I actually have a couple left; their texture is a little off from the melting and refreezing, but they're okay in the middle, and I refuse to let them go.

Which brings me back to my current quest. It's rumored that Oatmeal Cookie Chunk is back for this summer, minus the "Limited Batch" mark, but I have yet to see any with my own eyes. Then, a couple of weeks ago, Boy brought over a pint of this year's Limited Batch: Dublin Mudslide. It's Bailey's ice cream with a coffee-fudge swirl and some kind of chocolate cookie thing. Are they trying to torture me?? Patently odd flavors with gummy candy or banana ice cream are mainstays of the company, but something so perfect and simple is a limited batch?? I've been searching for more Dublin Mudslide ever since, so the stockpiling can begin, but it was nowhere to be found amid all the "diet" ice cream. It's really a problem.

Of course, there's another problem, and it seems I'm in a lose-lose situation. Because I finally found some last night, and I was so blissed out that I ate an entire pint in one sitting without quite being aware I was doing it. Maybe a freezer full of Carb Karma isn't so bad after all.

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