As noted in the Flickr photo description: Okay so this picture makes me look at least slightly insane, but you should be used to that from me by now.
Anyway, here’s the thing. I love Superman ice cream. It’s been my favorite pretty much all my life. It’s a strange thing to talk about to people because so many don’t have any idea what it is. I didn’t know until sometime this decade that it was only available in this part of the world. I’ve heard that it’s a purely midwestern phenomenon, this Superman ice cream, but then, I’ve talked to several midwesterners who have never seen it or heard of it before in their lives, so maybe it’s just a Michigan thing. This is one of the reasons I am so happy to be living in Michigan today.
When I was a kid, Superman was always my choice when I was doing anything that involved buying ice cream. It’s colorful, for one thing. For another thing, it doesn’t have stuff in it. It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where ice cream with stuff in it doesn’t completely freak me out, but still I prefer my ice cream to be stuff-free. I remember being at a birthday party once when I was a kid and there was black cherry ice cream with big cherries in it and I think I might have cried. Just so you know. Cherries make me bawl.
I’ve been asked more than once by people who have never seen or eaten Superman ice cream whether or not it’s just vanilla ice cream dyed to Superman colors, and it’s not, my friends. It’s three flavors of ice cream working together in wonderful harmony, sort of like Neapolitan, but much better (I kind of hate Neapolitan ice cream). There’s actually some debate over what the flavors are. Well, it’s clear what the blue flavor is (Blue Moon — apparently another Michigan thing — and people debate over what exactly it tastes like, though I think it’s perfectly obvious that it is the flavor of awesomeness and joy), but the red and yellow flavors are a mystery. Some people say that the yellow is banana (it’s not, or I would hate it) and that the red is raspberry or strawberry. Well, I happen to have some Superman ice cream in my freezer right now, and so I can confirm that the red is cherry, the yellow is vanilla with some kind of really bright, possibly radioactive food coloring (yum!) and the blue is Blue Moon. So there.
Now that I am aggressively pushing 30, I get made fun of for always ordering Superman ice cream, like I should want to eat some kind of grown-up ice cream, like butter pecan (see above about my opinion about stuff in ice cream, which doesn’t count if the stuff comes in cookie form, sometimes), but whatever, I like what I like. It’s not that other types of ice cream don’t have their merits, because they do, and there are several types I wouldn’t turn down if someone offered them to me. But to me there’s more to Superman ice cream than just the ice cream. Logically, I know this isn’t true, but like many things that end up being important and/or much-loved, Superman is, for me, in some way a stand-in for so many of the things that are great about this time of year when it’s warm enough to sit around outside eating ice cream. The main association is with long summer days that involved a lot of running and running and stopping for ice cream and eating as fast as I could, trying to prevent the melted river of blue-yellow-red from running down my arm and then running and running some more and catching fireflies and then collapsing into bed, exhausted after a good day. I feel a little bit of that old just-so-exhilarated-about-everything whenever I have Superman ice cream. And there’s also the fact that it’s just so damn good.
Also it turns my tongue blue, and there’s no beating that.