Ice cream vans.by Simon Wroe / June 20, 2012 / Leave a comment
Published in July 2012 issue of Prospect Magazine
This time of year brings many cheering sights: parents running after children on new bikes, one man’s dog eating another man’s picnic, and, of course, ice cream vans.
Yes, it’s true that a lot of what passes for soft-serve ice cream is actually made with concentrated butter, not cream. And alright, it’s irritating that a “99” costs considerably more than 99p these days.
But does any of that matter in the parching, sweltering heat of the moment? Ice cream is cold and sweet and compellingly unctuous—two words not often seen together. It is proof that summer is here. It is childhood on a stick, or in a cone, depending on your preference. Oh, and remember: if you want raspberry syrup on yours, it is proper and correct to ask for “Monkey’s Blood.”
When people began selling ice cream from the back of horse-drawn carts in mid-19th century London, the process was lengthy and troublesome, involving wax-sealed moulds, saltpetre, rocksalt and ice. Henry Mayhew, the great Victorian chronicler of the working class, was doubtful it would catch on, declaring it a “novel and aristocratic luxury.”