“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” Remember singing that as a child? Back then, in the mid 1970s, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butter pecan, and Neapolitan were pretty much the standard choices when screaming for ice cream. I was treated weekly to a scoop of Neapolitan when staying with my grandmother (whom we affectionately called Shug). Most Saturday nights, Shug would babysit me and my two big brothers as our parents embarked on a much-needed date night. I felt so grown-up and glamorous eating the ice cream with the fancy name and the pretty colors.
Nowadays, the ice cream flavors of my childhood seem so ordinary and well, vanilla. Ice cream is no longer limited to a few standard flavors. Walk into an ice cream shop or even your local grocery store, and you’ll see some downright unusual flavors that will surprise you with how good they taste. When President Ronald Regan declared July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984, who would have guessed that 29 years later we’d be scooping ice creams made with everything from butternut squash to bacon to bourbon into our cones?
So go on and live a little this summer! Be adventurous with your ice cream. Order the jalapeno caramelized bacon, the lemongrass, lavender and honey, the chocolate-covered potato chip, vanilla with olive oil and fig or the Jack Daniels brown sugar cream. There’s nothing like a cold scoop (or two) in the midst of our hot, humid Southern summer. And you just may discover a new favorite ice cream, though a good Neapolitan is hard to beat.
Try a few of these 21 ice cream recipes from the Southern Living Test Kitchen or if you are in any of these Southern towns this summer, be sure to order a dip of these fun and adventurous flavors (subject to availability):
Mexican Hot Chocolate
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Sweet Potato Sassafras Praline
Creole Cream Cheese with Wild Blueberry-Pecan Cornbread
Brown Sugar Maple and Bacon
Old Fashioned Butternut Squash with Candied Nuts
Whitney Long is a Southern Living contributing editor and co-founder of The Southern Coterie – The Social Network of the South. The Southern Coterie is hosting The Southern C Summit Series August 1st in Athens, GA.