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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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summer

It’s National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. According to the National Day of Calendar, vanilla ice cream is sold more than chocolate. I’ll have to think about that. It seems when we go for ice cream, there are more chocolate cones in view than vanilla, especially when it is soft ice cream, or custard. But if you think about the fact that pie à la mode usually uses vanilla and sundaes are often made with vanilla, then I guess the calendar information must be right. Really, what difference does it make in the long run. Continue reading

It’s the Craze

It’s National Flip Flop Day. When I was young, flip flops were only worn in the summer. I had a few pair, and each spring when the weather got warm, out they would come. Then the band-aids followed for the first week with that awful support piece between my toes. One year we had a puppy and my flip flops were his favorite chew toy. I had to put them up on a chair or on my dresser when I took them off to protect them. Good thing they weren’t expensive to replace.

Today’s kids, and adults alike, wear flip flops all year. I still have no understanding of a youngster, who will go to school when it is 50 degrees out and be wearing flip flops. It just doesn’t make logical sense at that temperature. But we all know, if it’s the craze, most will follow the path. I wouldn’t be one of them. I like to be comfortable.

I’m also not sure flip flops are good for a young, still growing, back. I was taught to wear good shoes with good support, except in the summer when we went bare foot or wore flip flops. Yeah, I know, my mother was too practical, and now I am her. My summer shoes are sandals with good arch support; part of aging I guess.

In 2007, Tropical Smoothie Cafe created this day to celebrate its 10th anniversary.  Customers who come into participating Cafes across the nation wearing flip-flops received a free Jetty Punch Smoothie then bought a $1 paper flip flop. The money raised was used to send ill children and their families to Camp Sunshine which is in Casco, Maine. Their mission is focused solely on addressing the effects of a life-threatening illness on every member of the immediate family — the child, the parents and the siblings.  This year-round program is free of charge to families. In 2015, $1 million was raised by Tropical Smoothie Cafe for Camp Sunshine.  The total amount raised since the beginning in 2007 is over $3.7 million.

If you have a Tropical Smoothie Café near you, may I urge you to put your flip flops on, go get a free smoothie today and buy a few of those paper flip flops to help another family dealing with illness.

 

National Creamsicle Day

I hope you have had a creamsicle as least once in your life.  If not, I urge you to give one a try.  I know, when it’s hot out and you want ice cream on a stick, a chocolate fudgesicle or fruit flavored popsicle probably come to mind first.  A creamsicle has an inner vanilla layer completely surrounded by an orange sherbet layer.  In my opinion they are more creamy than the other options.

When I was young, icies and slurpies were only treats to get at a carnival, not the local convenience store.  We did have squeezies which were small cups of sherbet that you ate by squeezing it out of the cupcake paper type cup.  They didn’t last long, and invariably the last  bit dripped onto your shirt when you tried to “drink” what had melted.

We have a local fast-food diner that sells creamsicle twist soft-serve ice cream in the summer. I visit my father’s grave on his birthday every August and on the way home I have a creamsicle cone.  My father loved ice cream and so do I.

A refreshing dessert when you want to serve a group is a refrigerator poke cake.  (You can Google that name for directions.)  I think I’ll make an orange one for our next family gathering.

National S’mores Day

The origin of this tasty snack is credited to the entrepreneur Alec Barnum. However, the first recorded version of the recipe can be found in the 1927 publication of Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.   Even though the Girl Scouts were not the first ones to make s’mores, Girl Scout groups describe them in their reports as early as 1925.  Earlier recipes used the name “Some Mores”.  It is unclear when the name was shortened to “S’mores”.

What ever the name, I hope everyone on earth has had a form of this treat at least once.  Maybe even once a summer.

I know the most common place to have s’mores is around a campfire.  That’s great if you like mosquitos and camp fires.  When my kids were in their early teens we got all the ingredients and cooked the marshmallows over candles in the living room.  I thought too late about what the black smoke would do to the ceiling.  Not a good idea in a hotel either.  It sets off the smoke alarm!  Not telling where I tried that one.

A couple years ago we were visiting my husband’s niece in Cleveland.  Her husband made her a s’more by cooking one of those new huge marshmallows over the flame on their gas stove; after their boys had been pronounced fully asleep.  She proved to us, no matter how old you are, dessert is a good thing, and there is no lady like way to eat s’mores.  She ended up with marshmallow on her nose and fingers.  If it hadn’t been bedtime we would have joined her.

I never went to Girl Scout camp, but we had s’mores at 4-H camp and at church camp.  In those days there were only three true ingredients: graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows.  Today substitutions are encouraged, most of which have to do with peanuts.  Use a peanut butter cup, or add peanut butter or Nutella.

Which ever way you choose to enjoy this delicious, messy treat, make sure summer doesn’t get by you without having one.

 

 

 

National Frozen Custard Day

Ice cream vendors, Archie and Elton Kohr, invented frozen custard on Coney Island, New York in 1919 when they found that adding egg yolks to ice cream created a smoother texture and helped the ice cream stay cold longer.

  • The Kohr brothers sold 18,640 cones on their first weekend on the boardwalk.

That is a heck-of-a-lot of cones! I had to look up how frozen custard is different than ice cream, so thought I would share the information.

In western New York state, where I live, we say we only have two seasons, winter and construction. It’s sort of that way with frozen custard and ice cream too. A lot of the specialty stores that sell just that are not open between Halloween and Memorial Day.  One place near Conesus Lake posts a sign that says “Closed for the season, Reason, Freezin’.”  Reading it always makes me smile.

As a military wife I lived in my home state of New York, Mississippi, Illinois, Washington, and England. I don’t remember “going for ice cream” like we do here. In Mississippi it melted too fast, and western Washington was rarely hot enough to create the craving. It would be interesting to look up which states sell the most custard and ice cream. I’ll leave that for you to do.

If you have read my previous posts, I think you have figured out that I like to eat. A special young couple in my life was discussing my birthday last year. They thought gift certificates to Bruster’s and Abbott’s would be an appropriate gift. Bruster’s sells home-made hard ice cream and Abbott’s sells frozen custard. I’m glad they didn’t get me the certificates. My car knows its way to both places without any coaxing.

With the summer we are having, hotter and dryer than usual, any day is a good day for frozen custard.  Maybe I need some right now.

National Hammock Day

I wonder if everyone has had the pleasure of laying in a hammock.  On TV they make it look so inviting in the advertisements, especially with a cold drink in hand, under a shady palm tree without an apparent care in the world.  Maybe it’s the cold drink that takes the cares away!

We had a hammock on our side porch when I was in grade school.  It didn’t look like the flat ones of today.  It looked like an accordian and was made of very heavy canvas.  You pulled apart the folds and sat in the middle.  Sometimes your butt hit the floor is you flopped into with too much force.  Then you held the far side out and lay down.  It wasn’t really comfortable for a little kid, because it tended to fold back around you.  It was more fun if there were at least two of us in it, and another to push it with all their might.  When it stopped moving we would thrust our arms into the air, pretending we were butterflies emerging from a cacoon.  We didn’t have a lot of cares or responsibilities at that age.

This summer I am keeping  my grandson company on Thursdays, I look out the window and see a hammock.  I never have been much of a sun person, and it doesn’t even tempt me considering the hot temperature.  Besides, I sure wold hate to try to sit on it and end up flipped over onto the ground.

 

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