The legendary Daniel Boulud may have repulsed New Yorkers for the very first time this summer. His intriguing creation: The DBGB Cool Dog, a hot dog flavored ice cream sandwich shaped like tube meat and served in a toasted brioche bun topped with candied cabbage, berry ketchup and spicy honey mustard.
Processed-meat flavored ice cream may not sound odd in a city where flavors become increasingly more carnivorous: From OddFellow’s famous Chorizo Caramel Swirl and Maple Bacon Pecan scoops to CoolHaus’s Chicken and Waffle, Peking Duck and Pastrami (smash between two rye cookies for the ultimate savory ice cream sandwich) flavors.
But where will it end? The true joy of ice cream is that it’s dessert: It’s sweet, it’s special, it’s easy to eat and doesn’t require much thought. Ice cream, served between banana halves or loaded up atop a brownie in a sundae as a reward for finishing whatever meal preceded it was never designed to disguise already delicious savory items in a swirl of sugar and ice. That’s not its purpose. The pleasure of a gooey ice cream sandwich, cakey chocolate just slimy enough to stick to your finger pads, can never be replaced by a scoop of foie gras ice cream.
The trend doesn’t stop at avant-garde New York’s finest ice cream shops. Chicago’s two-Michelin starred restaurant Arcadia is just as guilty of scooping out savory flavors including miso uni ice cream, lobster ice cream and whole grain mustard ice cream served with veal sweetbreads and sauerkraut.
What’s next? A neighborhood ice cream truck advertising wasabi ice cream topped with soy reduction, a slice of tuna belly and pickled ginger sprinkles? Hamburger-flavored soft serve dipped in cheddar shell and served with a side of special sauce to dip. No, thank you.
In the Summer of The Hot Dog Ice Cream Sandwich, New Yorkers were also duped into licking their way through cones of Sharpie-black coconut ash (i.e. activated charcoal) scoops. That’s right, a frozen dessert made with the same substance bad children are threatened with come Christmastime. Or, if you will, the literally fuel it takes to grill meat at a summer barbecue. Ice cream is supposed to be made from delicious ingredients, like fresh peaches and juicy strawberries and only slightly artificially enhanced black raspberries. Throw in some chocolate chips, crushed Oreo cookies, homemade brownies bits for texture. But please, please stop with the garbage, literally garbage ingredients.
Listen up food fetishists: Just because something is unique doesn’t make it good. How many animal parts must we stuff into a pint of custard before we realize it was better just as mint chocolate chip and not mint prosciutto duck beak chicken foot turkey tail chip? How many salads must be served on lettuce or basil or radicchio flavored orbs of sorbet before we can just go back to real, fresh lettuce (yes, this is a real thing). Just because something is creative, because it has never been seen on a plate or ironically ice cold skillet or whatever shape of Mason jar the pastry chef found in bulk at TJ Maxx doesn’t mean it’s worth eating.
Here’s what’s worth eating: Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Moose tracks. Ben and Jerry’s half baked. French vanilla, dammit. When will it end? When will chefs and creameries start focusing on making classic, delicious flavors again and stop with this savory, gourmet nonsense?
We are ruining ice cream for the next generation. Our kids will look at us and say why, why did you let them turn ice cream black, savory, seafood-y and condiment flavored. Why couldn’t you just let a good thing last? We’ll shake our heads, ashamed that this new crop of potential rocky road lovers will never know the delights of a high fructose corn syrup infused gallon of Breyer’s, long replaced by fish-scale, raven talon mango sherbert. It was for the Instagram. It was all for the Insta. We’re so sorry.
Melissa Kravitz is a writer living in New York. Follow her at @melissabethk.
Photo by Sam Howzit CC BY