Sweet Spot – Getting Serious about Ice Cream/ posted in: Book Review, Reading Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America by Amy Ettinger
on July 11th 2017
Narrator: Kathleen Mcinerney
Published by Dutton Books
A journalist channels her ice-cream obsession, scouring the United States for the best artisanal brands and delving into the surprising history of ice cream and frozen treats in America.
Amy Ettinger is obsessed with ice cream. She says that she routinely eats ice cream 1 – 2 times a day. She’s the perfect person to go on an exploration of the state of ice cream in the United States.
In her journey she rides along on an ice cream truck route in New York. I had no idea that being an ice cream truck driver was such a dangerous job. The woman she was riding with freely admits to getting into fist fights with other drivers that she sees driving in the same neighborhoods as she does.
She visits frozen custard makers in Wisconsin to find out why true frozen custard is regional speciality. She investigates the rise of new soda shops and discusses the sometimes poisonous history of soda shops. She finds out what is behind the newest experiments with ice cream flavors – celery or foie gras or mealworms anyone? She also tries a revival of Dolley Madison’s recipe for oyster ice cream.
She wonders how frozen yogurt stores fit into the ice cream world and investigates the largest chains. She goes to Penn State’s ice cream course to find out how to make ice cream. (I will say that Penn State makes some amazing ice cream. It made all my trips there bearable back when I could eat it.)
She seems shocked to find out that because of federal regulations most ice cream shops don’t make their own base for the ice cream. They just add the flavors. She gets very judgy about it. Likewise she is horrified that ice cream sandwich makers outsource making the sandwiches. I found it hard to believe that anyone was actually this naive about how foods are made in the U.S.
If you like books that give you a culinary tour, this is a good book for you.
I just have a few complaints.
- She points out that people in the midwest are fat and wonders if we have different standards of beauty than in California. It is a totally passive-aggressive insult to an entire region.
- I cringed anytime she referred to sandwiches as “sammies”. Can that please not be a thing anymore?
- She is absolutely dismissive of the idea of non-dairy ice cream. As a non-dairy eater, I assure her that just like dairy ice cream, some are horrible and some are amazing. I offer Ben and Jerry’s PB & Cookies as proof of awesomeness.
Kathleen Mcinerney does a wonderfully upbeat and perky narration that fits the subject matter perfectly.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- Books Set in North America