USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘ice cream’
Folk speech

Creamies

This was told to a group of friends during a debate of what soft-served Ice Cream is called across the US. The informant is from Vermont, on the East Coast. There was a divide between East and West coasters over what to call soft-serve ice cream, but the informant was able to give me some background on her reasoning.

“So creamies are what we call soft serve ice cream, and I truly did not know they were called something else until i was eight years old. And like it truly makes sense that that would be what they were called, and um, it makes sense because they’re like ubiquitous, um, there was a creamies, and like, I counted recently, and I worked at an ice cream store over the summer that didn’t sell creamies, and like people came in and asked everyday and asked “do you have creamies” and we’d be like no, but I could stop at four or five places between my house and where I worked over the summer and get a creamie. And I worked maybe two miles from where I lived. Um, and it’s kinda like this thing because, and I kinda realised this recently, because the main industry in Vermont besides tourism is dairy, that it’s, like, i know more than most people about dairy products and that I’ve had them in hoards all my life and it was very encouraged to eat fine dairy. We ate a lot of really good cheese, really good ice cream and really good butter. Um, and so, I guess creams is just slang for a soft serve.”

general
Musical

The Chocolate Ice Cream Cone Song

My (hold note) mommy said if I’d be good she’d send me to the store,

she said she’d bake a chocolate cake if I would sweep the floor,

she said if I would make the bed and help her mind the phone,

she would send me out to get a chocolate ice cream cone.

 

And so I did

the things she said,

I even helped her make the bed.

Then I went out,

just me alone,

to get a chocolate ice cream cone.

 

Now (hold note) on my way a-comin’ home I stumbled on a stone,

and need I tell you that I dropped

my chocolate ice cream cone.

A little doggie came along and took a great big lick (slurping sound),

and then I hit that mean ole doggie with a little stick.

And he bit me

where I sat down

and he chased me all over town.

And now I’m lost,

can’t find my home,

it’s all because of a chocolate, chocolate, chocolate ice cream cone.

 

The informant was my father, a 49-year-old engineer who currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, but who grew up in the area surrounding Austin, Texas. The song is one that his mother used to sing to him and his siblings when they were little. The song was primarily sung right before bed, as well as occasionally on long road trips. The informant says his mother would sing it to the children almost every night, sometimes “perfunctorily,” sometimes smiling and adding “extra ‘chocolate, chocolate, chocolate’s’ on the end.” The informant sees it as a mix of a “bizarre lost kid fairy tale” and a “moral lesson for young kids growing up,” the lesson being, “don’t go out on your own or, you know, you might get lost and never find your way home again.”

 

This song was collected while I was home for Spring Break and performed in my living room. It was interesting to me because my father also used to sing it to me and my sister when we were children because, “when you’re a parent, you’re looking for, you know, the things to pass down and it was one of my favorite songs as a child.” The tune of the song makes it seem fun and harmless, but there is a dark undertone about the lyrics that I recognized, even when I was growing up. Looking at it now, I think it is less of a moral lesson, and more of a lesson to children about the random, horrible things that can happen to you when you are not expecting them. None of the events that take place are really the narrator’s fault (other than being chased by a dog after he hits it with a stick), and yet the narrator still ends up lost and alone. It is a dark reflection on everyday life hiding within a song for children, as is often the case with old songs and stories created for children.

Legends
Narrative

Ice Cream Cone in the Purse

Informant: My friend told me this one. Do you know who Paul Newman was? He’s before your time, isn’t he? He was an actor. His face is on those—he has a pasta sauce brand, I think. He was very handsome and popular. He’s dead now. But anyway, my friend told me—this was years ago—that this woman was in Connecticut, and she went to one of the ice cream parlors in town. So she walks into the ice cream parlor, and there are only two people there—the clerk, and, sitting at the bar, Paul Newman. So the woman decides to play it cool, you know, act unimpressed and give Paul Newman his privacy. So she ignores him while she orders her ice cream and pays. Well, she gets back out to her car and she realizes she’s only got her change in her hand, so she figures she left her ice cream cone on the counter inside. She goes back in, and—and Paul Newman turns around and says, “You put it in your purse.”

The informant (my grandmother) was born and raised in Texas. She spent many years moving from place to place across the world with her husband, a banker, before settling in Connecticut long enough to work as an English teacher at the Greenwich Country Day School. She currently lives in San Francisco, CA.

I discovered a similar story in an online collection of modern urban legends. That version has Jack Nicholson (another popular actor) in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor in Massachusetts in 1986. Other versions of the story feature different actors, leading me to believe that this ice cream parlor legend is most definitely an example of an urban legend passed down as a FOF (friend of a friend) story; my grandmother maintains that her friend says it really did happen to a woman she knows.

The appeal of this urban legend may come from our ability to relate to the unspecified woman, who could be any one of us. She attempts to “play it cool” in front of a celebrity (Paul Newman is interchangeable; any popular and attractive actor would achieve the desired effect, and I assume the featured celebrity changes over time according to trends) only to be so distracted by her own attempts to ignore said celebrity that she embarrasses herself. We find amusement in this story because we can cringe for the woman, even though we ourselves are safe from embarrassment in front of a handsome and popular actor.

Citation: “The Ice Cream Cone in the Purse.” Tall Tales, Legends and Lies. NetPlaces, n.d. Web. 30 Apr. 2015.

Folk Beliefs
Humor
Initiations

Ice Cream and Hairdryer

“Basically, it’s not really a joke… but in high school, I remember people kept saying how, it was like a legend how, if you put ice cream on your balls and then you put, you bring a hairdryer to them, somehow that’s supposed to feel, like, great. I don’t know… that sounds horrible to me. That’s, like supposed to be like a great feeling, like first you put ice cream on your balls, and then you warm them up with a hairdryer. It’s one and then the other. “

 

The informant said he’d learned it from friends in high school, and added that he’d never tried it personally, and had no way of knowing if others had tried it (besides their testimonies). He said, “I just have never had ice cream and a hairdryer in the same place. And balls.”

My suspicion is that this was a sort of initiation ploy for high school boys, the goal may have been to shame those who tried it (because it doesn’t seem like it could possibly be pleasant) and cause them pain. It creates distance between the genders because this is folklore that doesn’t work across all sides, so it may also be a means of fostering identity and tightening groups.

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