Black and Gold
Ice cream, like many things comes in many quantities, prices and qualities and I think it would be fair to say that the father of the household has never been too discriminating when it comes to that particular product. If it's cold and sweet, it will be consumed. Whether my lack of discrimination comes from growing up at a time when it was a very rare and very special treat, or whether I just don't have any discrimination, I don't know.
While I really appreciate the better quality, and would crawl over cut glass for a cone with a scoop of the really good stuff on it, when there are budgets to be met, as a foodstuff it is well into the optional zone, the cheap icy variety with solids of mysterious origin will do thanks very much. The fact that it can be had by the litre at a quarter of the price of one scoop from the specialty shops cannot be overlooked.
One special night a long while ago, we decided that ice-cream would make an ideal finale to a rather pleasant dinner, and feeling particularly flush with disposable funds at the time, the father was duly dispatched to the corner store for supplies.
Now my father was a child during the great depression, and it must be said that some of his lifetime frugality had been genetically transferred to his son. Unable to pass a bargain, I reached instinctively for the bucket labelled "Black and Gold", a generic and very ahem... economical label indeed.
Unlike their father, my children aspired to rather sophisticated heights and protested long and loud about the rather obvious lack of quality in the generic brand, which to be fair did seem to comprise little more than frozen water with a white tone to it. So perturbed where they, that they chose not to partake of any more of the miscreant material, leaving the best part of four litres to be devoured by their father over the next six months or perhaps eight.
The casual reader may think that six months is a long time to take to consume four litres of ice-cream, no matter how unpalatable that may be, and no matter that it was the task of one solitary person, and to a great extent they’d be correct.
In this case it was time we felt, for the kids to learn a lesson about the importance of being discriminating, or at least determining what is and what is not important enough to discriminate against. When a treat is offered, we felt they should learn to accept it with grace, and that perhaps there is a social price to be paid for creating a fuss where it’s not able to be politely justified.
Each evening for many months we'd offer them a dessert based on ice-cream.
They'd refuse, happily watching me eat a serve with fruit, with topping, with apple pie, or just by itself, content in the knowledge that it would run out soon, and their boycott would be over, but in the meantime they’d continue their protest.
Not once in that whole time did they question how long that one rotten el-cheapo bucket was lasting. If they had, they may have discovered the awful truth.
Each week or so, I’d buy a small tub of the good stuff which was easily affordable as only one of us was consuming it. With the arrival of each new tub we’d discretely empty the contents into the miscreant Black and Gold container, perhaps forgetting to spread the news of an improvement in the quality that may have resulted.
Eventually we owned up, to a family which I may add after twenty years still has its collective noses out of joint, and which still has randomly discriminating taste.
I thought they’d at least try things now before turning up their noses, but no, just this past weekend, after coaxing one of it’s members to try a new foodstuff, I was reminded in no uncertain terms how untrustworthy I am, and all because of “that ice-cream that tasted like dirt”.