Those pesky thirteen-year cicadas are about to drive everyone crazy with their incessant mating call. Is it any wonder that someone came up with the bright idea of sugar coating cicadas and mixing them up into ice cream? Cicada ice cream, really?
Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream sent employees to scavenge in their backyards to find the perfect texture for a popular new flavor. What’s not to love about getting the final revenge for the critters making that irritating noise?
The national news picked up the story—because, let’s face it—Columbia isn’t the only place putting up with the bumper crop of cicadas. Cicadas are setting up shop everywhere. The national news reported that the health department ordered Sparky’s to stop selling cicada ice cream. That, according to the original reporter was an exaggeration. Actually, the health department admitted that consumption of cicadas were not addressed in the health code, but they thought the “eww” factor was not to be ignored. Of course, they put it in more official language than admitting it was totally gross and tossed around words like “could not recommend” instead.
That news was probably well received by whoever had the job of de-winging the cicadas before they were boiled and coated with brown sugar and milk chocolate. Hmmm. Rumor has it that they taste a lot like peanuts. I’m supplying these details for the homemade ice cream experts.
So, even though Sparky’s pulled their most popular flavor of the season, this is definitely ice cream weather. Today in Columbia, I heard this strange music. “What the heck is that?” I asked.
“It’s an ice cream truck,” my friend said.
“Think we can catch it?” My mouth watered as I thought of how good ice cream is on a June day.
I’ve always loved ice cream. When Jim and I lived in Manhattan, Kansas, while he finished out his obligation to the U.S. Army, we stopped by the 50 flavors place on a nightly basis. It was a hot summer in Kansas, and I was a hugely pregnant woman with a craving for blueberry ice cream.
We lived in a one-room apartment—two rooms, if you count the bathroom. Of course, we had no air-conditioning. We cooled the room with a box fan in the window. It didn’t exactly cool the room since the outside air was more than 100 degrees throughout the entire month of July.
One day, Jim and I had a spat and rather than argue with a cranky woman on the verge of heatstroke, so he jumped in the car and left me. Now, wasn’t I in a fix? No telephone, barefoot (who could stand shoes?) and pregnant, and my husband just drove away in our only car.
He wasn’t gone long, and soon he came back with a peace offering—a banana split. I never cared much for banana splits because the toppings made it sickening sweet. But, Jim brought it to me, so I sat down at the table with my back to him and tackled the enormous banana split, while he rested on our only other piece of furniture, the twin bed.
I will not gag, I told myself, pumping myself up with a psychological pep talk. I will eat every bite, even if I have to throw up afterward. This is the tastiest ice cream ever—it’s just the syrupy topping I don’t like, and all that whipped cream, and nuts, and that plastic tasting cherry on top. And even the good ice cream is melting faster than the Wicked Witch of the West.
I finally scraped up the last spoonful of the soupy ice cream, and Jim said, “I really thought you would offer me some of the banana split.”
Oh, now, that was just too much! My back was still turned to him, but he saw my shoulders shaking and rushed to throw his arms around me. “Oh, honey,” he said, “I didn’t mean to make you cry.” Yes, the tears were running down my face, but it was from laughter.
“It almost made me sick to eat the whole thing, but I didn’t want to hurt your feelings,” I finally managed to say when my laughter calmed down to uncontrollable giggles.
Later this month, on June 25, I can eat ice cream for a great cause at our second annual “Let’s Cream Alzheimer’s” Ice Cream Social. The Ice Cream Social and silent auction are team fundraisers for the September Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
We will be serving vanilla and chocolate with yummy chocolate chip cookies. We will not be serving cicada ice cream—Really!
Copyright © L. S. Fisher