Summer food fact: Ice cream sandwiches should melt

In Food by Lenore NewmanLeave a Comment

I love summer, and I love enjoying some of the special foods that are best when the weather outside is at its hottest. Ice cream has been fueling fun summer food memories for generations now, and is such a lovely trick of chemistry, cream and air combining to make something smooth and ethereal. I was particularly fond of ice cream sandwiches as a child, despite the incredible mess they made as the ice cream melted and dripped. I thus shared the internet’s concern when ice cream sandwiches from a certain giant corporation were found to not melt at all.

The more science-oriented food blogs ran with this disturbing news, and showed that the stability of these ice-cream sandwiches is due to the addition of calcium sulfate, guar gum, and cellulose gum, which make up for the lack of cream and thickeners such as eggs in the industrial ice cream sandwich. Now I should make it clear these substances aren’t totally terrible for a person. Cellulose gum is the safest, as it isn’t really even digestable, though it can act as a laxative. Guar gum and calcium sulfate both can disrupt digestion, and some studies link guar gum to cancer. But I’ve seen worse things in food, so I decided to see how these sandwiches stuffed with filler actually taste.

Bad. They taste bad. The punch my childhood memories in the gut and leave them curled in a ball on the sidewalk. They taste like what they are: inedible filler! Granted they are very cheap, but at what cost? Who is going to remember them fondly?

Feeling somewhat like I needed someone to restore summer for me, I sought out Vancouver Island’s Cold Comfort Ice Cream where I found amazing ice cream sandwiches. I indulged in a lovely honey graham flavoured ice cream sandwich. This little gem was likely the best ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had; the ice cream was rich and creamy and the cookie was delicious and crisp. As I savoured my sandwich, the ice cream melted, soaking into the cookie. Bliss!

Quality comes with a price, of course. My lovely sandwich was about 15 times more expensive than the cheap ones from the discount store that must not be named, and six times more than the cheap ice cream bars sold in corner stores. But that’s the rub, isnt it? There is no way to produce a quality product for the price of industrial food. And so I would rather have a couple of good ice cream sandwiches over the summer than gorge on a box of cellulose-laden cheap sandwiches. Thanks to Cold Comfort for giving me the choice!


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