Having grown up in a household where meal times often began with the parental admonition, “how do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it?” I became a fairly adventurous eater. I’ve tried pig’s feet in Little Havana. Duck brains in China. Haggis in Scotland.
My wife even has managed to convince me that gefilte fish is edible if you cover it with enough horseradish. She, on the other hand, refuses to believe my assurance that Spam is edible if you cover it with enough catsup.
And I’ve done by best to pass my sense of dining adventure along to my children. On an evening when our cupboard was basically bare, I found a frozen pizza crust in the back of the refrigerator, drizzled it with chili sauce, topped it with pickle chips and managed to convince them it was all the rage in Naples.
But I’m not sure I have the stomach for the latest creation in the culinary world: beer-flavored ice cream.
According to a recent newspaper article, chefs all over the country are combining the two tasty treats into one confusing concoction.
In San Francisco, a trendy ice cream parlor sells beer ice cream for the city’s annual Beer Week. In New York City you can get beer floats. In Portland, Oregon, an ice cream maker offers a six pack of beer ice creams. Even here in the heartland, where a lot of people consider surf and turf to be on the outer limits of haute cuisine, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus is mixing it up.
“Beer can help bring some bitterness and dryness to an ice cream, which is traditionally sweeter than other desserts,” explains the company’s founder. What she doesn’t explain is why anyone would want their ice cream to be bitter.
But then, the whole beer ice cream beer thing isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It’s not just a matter of pouring your Bud Light over a bowl of Haagen-Dazs.
Some beers have to be reduced before the ice cream is added. Others require extra ingredients. YazooSue With Rosemary Bar Nuts, for instance, includes nuts roasted in cayenne, rosemary, brown sugar and salt in its beer ice cream.
And there’s also the alcohol content to be considered. Vanilla Bock, made by a company in Atlanta called Frozen Pints, can’t be purchased without a valid ID, because it contains 3.1 percent alcohol.
So there’s always that risk of being pulled to the side of the road by the state highway patrol and hoping to talk your way out of a ticket by claiming, “Honest, officer, I only had two scoops.”