Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Mint Flavored Ice Cream with Chocolate Flavored Chips
I'm not really here to talk about the pervasiveness of the word facebook, or the social networking site, except to mention that I use facebook, and on Wednesday, not one, but two people I know, used the term Mint 'N Chip to refer to ice cream I have always called Mint Chip. I have to admit, this threw my already wobbly world just a bit off kilter. Have I been saying it wrong all these years. Is it really Mint 'N Chip?
I had to know for sure. Research was needed. I did not want to rely on the internet. Any crazy wacko with a laptop and an ice cream spade to grind can post stuff on the internet. I had to go to the labels themselves. This meant field work.
I entered the grocery store, as if I belonged there, and casually walked the frozen food isle, as if this were something I do every other day or so. I have a lot of practice, as this is something I do every other day or so. I found the ice cream section, predictably, where it had been last week. Ice cream, it turns out, is grouped first by type (premium, low fat, low sugar, etc.), then by brand, and then by flavor. The Mint Chip, or Mint N' Chip, was to be found in several locations along the isle. I had my work cut out for me.
I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I was worried an under-appreciated employee or an over eager assistant manager would come by and scold me for staring so long at their ice cream. I had a back up plan, in case I was caught, and had to escape quickly. I would simply have to buy one of every type and brand, so that I could read the labels at my leisure, preferably over a bowl of ice cream. Sadly, it did not come to this. I was able to gather all of the information I needed in the field. My findings will shock you. (Mostly because I went to the trouble to find them.)
I started with the biggest national brand, Dreyer's, also known as Edy's east of the Rockies, or the Mississippi, or some such. The same places they put Hellman's instead of Best Food's on their sandwiches and drink MelloYellow instead of Mountain Dew. I could find no Dreyer's mint flavored ice cream with chocolate flavored chips among the premium ice creams. I did find Mint Brownie. I noted that it was not Mint 'N Brownie. Further down, Dreyer's light and no sugar varieties were called Mint Chocolate Chip.
Breyer's was the second national brand I surveyed. This was tougher than I thought. For one thing, Breyer's has a mint leaf on every box of their ice cream, regardless of the flavor. And their Mint Chocolate Chip, once I found it, was white, not green. Better for you, but harder to find.
Next was Sunnyside. This is a generic brand, I think. It may be a local generic, specific to the grocery chain whose store I was patronizing, but I think it is available in several states. Since I am too lazy to look this up, and so are you, I am just going to assure you, they have enough market share to influence the ice cream naming culture in this country. Sunnyside carries Mint Chocolate Chip, Mint Moose Tracks, and Mint Chocolate Flake. Not Mint 'N Chip, Mint 'N Moose Tracks, or Mint 'N Flake.
At this point I was feeling just a wee bit smug. Mint 'N Chip? What crazy talk! There is no such thing.
Then, there, at the end of the isle, before ice cream ends, and other frozen desserts begin, I found it. A five quart plastic tub of Bayview Ice Cream, calling itself Mint 'N Chip. The kind of giant ice cream trough you buy for a child's birthday party, or a particularly heinous bout of PMS. I've had the stuff. (Only because we needed the tub to make homemade babywipes, I swear.) It's horrible. And, the only one, of all the varieties and brands, to not actually mention the word chocolate.
In conclusion, I can only suggest to you my dear readers, that if you want mint flavored ice cream with chocolate flavored chips, you buy Mint Chip. If you want large quantities of cheap, sweet, green goo, by all mean, stick with the Mint 'N Chip.
Now, if you will excuse me. I have a petite helping of Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie to eat. A small price to pay for my science.
UPDATE: Based on the first few comments, I would like to amend my post. What do you call mint flavored ice cream with chocolate flavored chips where you live? Or, if you are more ambitious, can you help me flesh out my research by letting me know what some other brands call it? Be careful in the field dear readers. Don't get frost bite.