Skip to main content

We're More of an Umlaut-Kinda Family #FoodieReads


As I happily continue with my Foodie Reads Challenge, I am sharing The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman as my third, and probably final, June read.* I might be able to squeeze in one more book this month. Maybe. 

In any case, I had a gift certificate to a local bookstore (yes, we still have one!) from Christmas and this one caught my eye. We love ice cream and I thought this might be a nice novel wrapped around one of our favorite summer treats. I took it with me this past weekend. So, while the boys splashed in the pool at the hotel, I raced through this book.


On the Page...
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street spans seven decades, following Malva Treynovsky from when she and her family immigrate to the United States in 1913 from Russia to her transformation to Lillian Maria Dinello and, finally, her ascension to Ice Cream Queen status as Lillian Dunkle. This really is a rags to riches tale about a young immigrant who is struck by an ice cream truck. She is adopted by the family who injured her after her mother abandons her at the hospital. 

I truly enjoyed the history, her (fictional?!) invention of soft-serve ice cream, and her fierce entrepreneurial spirit.

As she's explaining to kids about ice cream... "In fact, the last goddamn thing you ever want in ice cream is ice itself. We manufacturers constantly struggle to keep our products from crystallizing. The worst thing in the world is when ice cream develops that rash of frost that makes it gummy and stale."

"Here's what we do want in ice cream, though which nobody ever seems to grasp: Air."

"Air is what gives ice cream its butter-cloud consistency, its magical texture" (p.245).

But, as Lillian aged, she devolved into a truly unlikable woman, in my estimation - mine and a lot of others; she is convicted for tax evasion and explains it to her sister: "[I owe more] than a lot. So sue me: I was grieving. I got careless. I was missing Bert, and so I started shopping. And oh, hell. I suppose I misrepresented a few purchases. I suppose I helped myself to a few things. I got cute with the truth" ( p.491).

It's a shame that I grew to dislike her antics so much because I think there might have been a good book here.


In the Bowl...
She's disdainful of other companies. "'Umlaut' was the nickname I'd given to another ice cream company. I had made it our policy never to dignify our competition by uttering their real names.... Umlaut, as I called it, was a company that was making waves lately because it produced 'super-premium,' a high-fat ice cream with a nearly unpronounceable name - two a's, an umlaut over one of them, and a hyphen, for Chrissakes."

"Umlaut had a new Chocolate Chocolate Chip ice cream that a food writer in New York magazine had described as 'transcendent...' (pg. 400).

She scoffs, "This Umlaut is nothing but a fad. 'Luxury ice cream'? Boysenberry? Carob? Are those even flavors? Who the hell eats that?" (pg. 401).


Well, the Mann clan does. We're definitely more of an Umlaut-kinda family. Actually, one of our favorite ice cream purveyors is Chef Ron Mendoza of Revival Ice + Cream in downtown Monterey. Now his flavors are transcendent! Pure deliciousness. And absolutely luxurious.

Chef Ron uses kelp, pollen, rose geranium, and all sorts of crazy, creative combinations. Tonight I picked up a pint of his Mint Eucalyptus Fudge. Is that even a flavor? Lillian would bark. Yes. And it's outrageously delectable. 


What about you? Do you have a Dunkle palate or are you more of an umlaut ice cream eater?

*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.




Here's what everyone else read in June 2017: here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

Hot Chocolate Agasajo-Style {Spice It Up!}

photo by D For my Spice It Up! kiddos this week, I was looking for an exotic drink to serve while we learned about saffron. I found a recipe from food historian Maricel Presilla that mimicked traditional Spanish hot chocolate from the 17th century where it was served at lavish receptions called agasajos . When I teach, I don't always get to shoot photos. Thankfully, D grabbed my camera and snapped a few. Ingredients serves 14-16 1 gallon organic whole milk 3 T dried rosebuds - or 2 t rosewater 2 t saffron threads, lightly crushed 3 T ground cinnamon 3 whole tepin chiles, crushed 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise 1 C organic granulated sugar 1 lb. bittersweet chocolate Procedure In a large soup pot that can hold a gallon plus, combine milk, dried rosebuds (or rosewater, if you are using that), saffron threads, ground cinnamon, chiles, vanilla beans, and sugar and warm over medium heat till it steams. Whisk to dissolve sugar, then lower heat an

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas