If you’re in the UK already, there’ll be no need for me to tell you just how hot it was last week. If you weren’t around, let me fill you in.
London was particularly bad: the air was thick, the streets were melting, and so was I. Staying inside was just about bearable (as long as the windows were open, the curtains were shut and you could find a cold bath to lie naked in). But going outside? Bleurgh! Might as well take a trek through Death Valley.
For some people, living in scorching conditions takes away their urge to eat. But not me.
All that sweating and grumbling makes me crave the sweet stuff more than ever. But when going out is exhausting and staying near a cooker makes you faint, there is only one sensible option:
Mobilise the Stay-at-Home Ice Cream Parlour.
Now, if I’d had more faith in the weather forecast, all the things you see in this picture would have been in my cupboards and freezer before the sun came out to torture us all. As it was, given all the chilly rains we’d had the week before, I could hardly believe that summer would ever arrive.
Thank goodness my bearded friend had the energy to crawl through those burning cosmic rays and bring supplies back to the Hog House. In one fell swoop, our Stay-at-Home Parlour was ready to swing into action.
To add to our existing stock of Salt Caramel Sauces, The Man obtained a box of cones, some chocolate sauce, the obligatory Cadbury’s Flake, and, not one, but two exciting flavours of Ben & Jerry’s.
Some might call that excessive.
I say it’s extremely sensible.
After all, Ogglers: what happens when you get hot? You lose lots of salt and minerals – not to mention your energy.
Fail to correctly replenish and you will probably drop dead. To put it bluntly, a well-stocked Ice Cream Parlour could SAVE YOUR LIFE.
If the medicinal benefits alone don’t sway you, surely the thought of constructing your own Ice Cream Cones should do it. Turns out it’s not that easy, mind: when the temperature’s really hot, it’s pretty darn hard to scoop out a couple of Ice Cream balls, pour on your sauce and stick in a flake before the whole thing dribbles messily down your fingers.
I have a new-found respect for Ice Cream van men, that’s for sure…
Even so, the payout of DIY cone-assembly is immense. For starters, it works out much cheaper overall. And then there’s all that customisation. Want two scoops rather than one? DO IT. Not sure which flavour to choose? Have them all! Want to bypass the cone and mainline salt caramel sauce? The world is your oyster (i.e. one of those big shell-shaped waffle cones they sell in the old-fashioned parlours).
It’s doubly good when the ice cream itself is delicious. We had B&J’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie flavour, as well as a newby called Oh My! Apple Pie.
Both were super soft and creamy, but the latter especially floated my boat. Apple Pie Ice Cream with apple chunks and bits of pastry? What a marvellous use of textures and resources (and just what I fancied when I whinged about the lack of English flavours)!
Indeed, after having one cone with everything in it, for the next I narrowed my focus, bringing all my favourites together: a dribblesome mix of Apple Pie Ice Cream, chocolate Flake, and lashings of Salt Caramel Sauce.
It was beautiful. And – if I do say so myself – probably quite the lifesaver. Salt and cream to rehydrate, frozen particles cooling the guts, sugar to top up the energy-levels…
By the time it was done I was raring to go.
To the freezer. For Cone Number Three.