The ice cream sandwich: simple perfection. Invented in the 1960’s by noted Atlantic City treatsmith Tiberius “Scoops” Barnett, who pondered: “Tis wafer less noble a vessel? Tisn’t rectangle as worthy a shape?” Dissatisfied with the current progress in ice cream technologies, Scoops sought to take a bold step forward. Ever the opportunist, and somewhat the envious, he decided that his competitors had been “eating too well off that cone paper” and it was time he syphoned some of that fast confectionary bread for himself – no pun intended. His rationale was simple: sandwiches are the best and ice cream is the best. Using that mantra to fuel his creativity, Scoops worked tirelessly creating his now signature chocolate wafer and, after an arduous three hours or so, his masterpiece was born. Being the master-tactician that he was, he distributed his treats throughout his community for free and the locals were astounded. In droves they came to his door, fiending for another. “Sure,” he’d reply. “Where da cash at?”
The infamous Cone Kings of AC quickly took notice. Sales were down and all they’d hear around town is “Goddamn! This is the muthafucka right here, boy!” or “I fucks wit these ice cream sandwich joints.” Etc. Some even had the impudence to approach the Kings in their own establishments, requesting these ‘atrocities’, as they saw them. Long story short: the Cone Kings had no choice but to arrange a hit. Not long after Scoops invented his legendary treat, Peabody “Peanut Brittle” Colangelo put Scoops on ice – this time for good. Well-placed bribes ensured the crime was never pinned to the Kings, who, subsequently were allowed to add ice cream sandwiches to their own product line and make a fortune.
Dark history aside, ice cream sandwiches are clearly fantastic. The appeal is easy to see: two smooth, chocolaty, pillowy wafers with just the right amount of bite, easily give way to that cool vanilla velvet in between – ¾” of ice cream, no more. No less. Hold one up to the sunlight; let its warm caress sheen the brown wafer as the depths of its chasms somehow absorb all light at any angle, creating a beautiful other-worldly landscape. Then bite. Let it cool the core of your unworthiness – chocolate and vanilla delight – the perfect marriage.
Let me be clear: I’m not talking about some chocolate chip cookie sandwich shit or some type of vanilla wafer/strawberry ice cream variant, which are fine – they’re fine. I’m talking about straight up, no frills, chocolate-vanilla-chocolate in the unmarked white paper. Sure, some determined chef could whip up something with truffle bits or the finest/purest ingredients that tastes amazing but that’s not what the fuck I want. I want a mass-produced 10’ x 10’ wafer, machine-cut into individual portions and sandwiched around a corresponding vanilla ice cream slab. One quarter… Twenty-five cents in my days of innocence. Don’t try to sex it up with your damned sprinkles and magic, just give me the straight dope.
Quick story: I’m not proud of this but I can remember an instance in my childhood when my mother, the most wonderful and kind woman I’ve ever met, asked me for a bite of my ice cream sandwich. I recoiled in horror. “No!” I yelled, shocked and appalled at the audacity. She’d later admit to me that this incident made her cry – that her child could be so selfish. To this day I feel bad about that (kinda). I owe my mother my life… But not my ice cream sandwich.
One additional aspect I should note is the ethereal nature of this treat, as it existed in my childhood. I’m not sure that I ever experienced an ice cream sandwich in labeled packaging until adulthood – and now, as an adult, I covet the nostalgia brought by this simple perfection – blocking the knowledge of the capitalist machine which profits from the manufacture and sale of this utter ambrosia. As a kid, they just somehow existed in the nebulous space of my being, unpredictable as a shooting start but much more plentiful. In my time of need, there it’d be – wrapped in the plain white paper. Some gentle angel, surrounded in glowing radiance would say “would you like an ice cream sandwich, young man?”
Yes please. I would like that very much.
Verdict: 10 out of 10