My son has this Little Golden book he got in a collection when he was first born. The collection, is full of “classic” stories. One of them is called The Good Humor Man. Now, I had a lot of Little Golden books as a child, but I don’t remember ever seeing this one. The copywrite date is 1964, so I guess it is classic, since it predates me.
The story itself is sort of a big ad for Good Humor ice cream. I say sort of because I find it hard to believe that even in the trippy 60’s, there was a flavor of ice cream called raspberry-strawberry-marshmallow mash. Or for that matter, I can’t believe butterscotch-apricot-coconut chip ever actually existed. The book does show how the Good Humor man and his ice cream products (no matter how gross they sound), bring everyone together. It’s cute and harmless, but I have to admit that it did make me a tad bit hungry.
Minutes after I read it to him the other day, I heard the familiar tinkle of our local ice cream man’s bell. I found myself scanning the room for my purse and contemplating running out to the curb to buy myself a treat. But I knew there was a good chance the ice cream man wouldn’t have what I really wanted, so I let it pass right by.
Today, while doing my weekly grocery shopping though, I happened to glass across the aisle at just the right moment to see the treat I’d been craving: Good Humor Chocolate Eclair bars. Without a second of hesitation, I pulled the door open, grabbed a box and dropped it in my cart. I was on my way to chocolatey goodness.
As a kid I had two favorite ice cream truck treats, Bomb pops and Chocolate Eclairs. I know some kids really dug that freaky foot with the bubblegum toe. Others swore by the ice cream sandwich, but not me, I either wanted overally sugary sweet (my favorite part of the Bomb pop was the white lemonady center) or I wanted chocolatey goodness and unlike the rather boring sandwich, the eclair bar had a center of chocolate and tiny little chocolate cookie crunchies all over it. It was heaven.
Was is the operative word here. Today after lunch, I found myself still a might peckish, so I reached in and pulled out one of my shopping spoils. The first thing I noticed when I tore the package off is that the crispies looked a little sparser and not nearly as chocolatey as I remember. There were far more of the white crumbles than the brown ones. The ice cream itself looked a bit sickly pale, but I didn’t let that stop me.
I took a bite and was relieved to still find the chocolate center I’d loved as a kid. The only problem was that every part of it just tasted a little, well, flat. The crunchies weren’t very crunchy. The chocolate wasn’t as rich as I remembered. It was perfectly acceptable, but not the holy grail of ice cream bars I remembered from my childhood.
As I found myself biting nearer and nearer the stick, I started to wonder if my disappointment was due to a change in the recipe or from faulty memories. After all, getting something from the ice cream truck was always a treat, which was in turn, always shared with friends. It was summer and freedom. It was staying up late. It was cartwheels in the front lawn and swimming in the pool. It was also heaven.
I’m not sure the actual taste of the ice cream has lots its luster, nearly so much as the memory of it has. No doubt it was always mast produced cheap ice cream on a stick, just made better by all that came with it. It makes me a little sad. Especially since I have 5 more bars in the fridge. Now, I’m not saying I won’t eat the rest of them. It’s just that each one will taste slightly bitter in comparison with my 10 year-old tongue.
Value: 6/10 (they aren’t very pricey and you do get several to a box, but the taste just makes them less worth it). Sigh…