I used to think that vacationing for a living was the coolest thing a guy could do.
And how. Even though cooking “lite” is all the rage—and Bruce has filled hundreds of magazine pages with recipes that wring the calories out of both common and fancy food—all that sacrifice gets negated by our penchant for desiring fancy ice cream dishes. Americans eat 25 pints of the stuff annually. California produced 130 million gallons of ice cream in 2007 to meet the demand. Yup, we’re number one.
Personally, I’m all for indulgence. It’s even better when an expert on ice cream makes you something to indulge in. In this case, it was a Cable “Car”-a-mel Sundae. Bruce scooped some vanilla and some dulce de leche ice cream into a dish, then let a generous stream of caramel sauce find its to a soft landing on the ice cream and finally topped the whole thing off with handful of salted peanuts and a maraschino cherry.
Yeah, not bad.
Ok, so you’re thinking, “what’s this got to do with Italy and Gelato?”
Well, here’s the thing: Bruce did write a book that focused on such topics as ice milk concoctions—which is what Italian gelato is, really. That book carries the unweildy title of “The Ultimate Frozen Dessert Book” and doesn’t sell as well as the ice cream book.
Bruce sees a couple of reasons for this. One is the title, which doesn’t really mention concoctions like gelato except in the longer title. The other is that he found he had to add just a little cream to the gelato to make it taste like gelato.
Turns out that Italian cows produce milk with more fat content naturally.
But when you think about it, the difference between Italian Gelato and American Ice Cream—both symbols of the democratic pursuit of happiness in their respective countries—is the same difference you see in the pizza. Italians love a few, distinct flavors, with every element contributing to the whole. Americans like that pile-it-on thing. The more stuff on the pizza (enough so that you have to bolster the dough) the better. Who cares if you need a fork lift to get the sucker outta the oven!
You know what? I’ll let you in on a little secret. I like it all.
I leave you with one of those only-in-America stories that will warm the cockles of your heart. QVC (one of America’s shopping channels) once offered The Ultimate Ice Cream Book on its network. The book started selling slowly, until a couple folks called in and asked, “Does the book have any low fat recipes?”
Bruce mimics flipping the pages. “Yeah, there are a couple.”
After that question was answered the book took off. They sold 7500 copies in four minutes.
Ok, so promise you won’t blame me for your indulgent hunger. Remember: there are low fat recipes in The Ultimate Ice Cream Book. Just like the copy of War and Peace you have on your shelf that you haven’t read yet, it’ll make you feel good that you own such an object with such valorous recipes in it, even as you make yourself a creamy, gooey, sundae…
The California Milk Advisory Board has free recipes from Bruce Weinstein and others. Search for Ice Cream over at: Real California Milk
Mr. Weinstein has written many books about food you might want to check out.