Column: Triple-dip cones at no extra charge? You're not dreamingThe first ice cream I ever knew was homemade. I remember one evening. We were living across Lake Street from Lake Okabena.
By: Ray Crippen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”
I don’t know that there is a lot of screaming for ice cream any longer. I think ice cream is taken for granted. Still, I think ice cream may be more popular than it ever has been. Ice cream is a diet staple for many and many people.
The first ice cream I ever knew was homemade. I remember one evening. We were living across Lake Street from Lake Okabena. The plan was for my mother to mix the ice cream. It was for my Aunt Erna, with a bucket and an ice pick and (of all people) me, to cross the street, cross the tracks and chip some ice.
Aunt Erna and I climbed down the rocks at the shore. She saw a man walking alone along the railroad track and she recognized there could be danger — it was dark. She was alone, away from houses and neighbors. I was there but I surely would not be help.
“Get down on the ice,” Erna told me. “Lay flat!” I couldn’t believe what she was doing and I surely was not going to do the same — lay flat on the ice. I didn’t understand. Of course the man on the railroad track walked by and continued on his way. It was alarm for nothing.
Soon enough there was ice cream. Oh, I loved that ice cream. Always vanilla. No one really thought of flavors in that time. Mother and Erna ate a dish of ice cream with two or three soda crackers. Saltines. It’s a great combination.
Caserato’s ice cream parlor on 10th Street in the Hotel Thompson was operating in that time, although I think I never went there. I knew of people who went to Casereto’s for hand-packed ice cream. People said, “Nothing tastes better than hand-packed ice cream.” I think this was an imagined better taste. Waiters and waitresses hated hand packing, of course. Somewhere along the way, everyone forgot about hand-packed.
There ought to be a memorial plaque along the east side of Worthington’s new fire hall. The plaque could say, “Here Was the Greatest Ice Cream Store of Them All.” Well, it also would have to say, “Worthmore Ice Cream Store.” On that site, at the front of the complex that was Worthmore, which became C.A. Swanson’s and then Campbell’s, E.O. Olson opened an ice cream store. I never knew anything that was so enjoyed by so many local residents so frequently.
It is my understanding the ice cream store did not turn a great profit. I think Mr. Olson operated it as a gift to his community.
Consider: Worthmore Ice Cream offered triple-dip cones. Standard. No extra charge.
There were big windows at the front of the store with screened openings where waitresses would take orders. You can imagine — a car drives up, a boy gets out and goes to a window with his order:
“I want three cones, one with maple nut and cherry nut and almond fudge; one with chocolate, chocolate chip and vanilla; one with almond toffee and butter pecan and cherry vanilla.”
Those waitresses amazed everyone. They nearly always got orders correct.
There were no booths inside the Worthmore store, but as you went through the front door there were counters with stools on both the left and right. People went inside for banana splits and chocolate malts. Mostly, I think, customers ate their ice cream in their cars. Get a three-dipper — five cents — and then drive around the lake.
Worthmore ice cream was Worthington’s pride and delight.
Our language has not kept up with changes in ice cream. Everyone knew what an ice cream cone was. Then came soft ice cream. I might tell you, “I had a soft ice cream cone.”
What do we say now for the cones we knew first? Hard ice cream cones? Not a great solution.
Another thing — hard ice cream cones (if such they are to be) are scarcely found any longer. Blue Line has Bridgeman’s in 12 flavors. I believe that is the only source for hard ice cream cones in Worthington.
Well, if I have one source I am fine.
I’ll just have vanilla.
Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.