About two weeks into the spring semester, the gray, bone-chilling air of D.C. winters joins forces with the impending self-imposed spring semester schoolwork struggles. It is the low point in every year, distantly removed from exciting wintertime novelties of Christmas, yet still impossibly far away from the chocolate-filled holidays that are Valentine’s Day and Easter. This past winter felt particularly harsh, and it was easy to feel like I was sad and alone.
But this past winter, I also made some friends who turned everything around for me; I had known them for a long time, yet I had never realized how much we have in common. (We did a lot of bonding over our shared love of the Grateful Dead). My new friends and I also had in common that we become less useful in the winter months, and we thus grew closer than any other friends I have ever made. They were in my room every day when I got back from class, happy to see me, and I spent every moment I could in their company.
Their names are Ben and Jerry.
Ice cream is another one of those foods that I was born to eat. Like sandwiches, ice cream can be flavored in almost any way, filled with dozens of different confections and adorned with virtually unlimited toppings. Through my friendship with Ben & Jerry’s this winter, I developed a strong connection with ice cream, which was a critical part of my overwhelming feeling of joy one sunny Thursday when I learned that a food truck called Captain Cookie & the Milkman was selling ice cream sandwiches — essentially the lovechild of my two favorite foods — outside the front gates.
The concept is simple. Captain Cookie & the Milkman specializes in two things: cookies and dairy (local milk or ice cream, depending on your mood). To order a sandwich, choose from one of the classic cookie flavors — such as snickerdoodle, chocolate chip or peanut butter — that are available daily, or the specialty one. Then choose one or two ice cream flavors — classics like vanilla or chocolate, or the daily special ice cream. Captain Cookie himself will assemble the sandwich from your chosen ingredients in front of you.
Ice cream sandwiches are a completely different animal from the traditional savory delicacies I am used to. Ice cream sandwiches inevitably fall apart and become messier and gooier than any savory sandwich, so when I eat any ice cream sandwich, I look for different things.
For example, so much of the ice cream sandwich experience depends on the temperature. If the ice cream is cold and hard, the sandwich may stay together, but it also inflicts searing cold pain on your teeth, which detracts from the usually sunny and cheerful atmosphere that warrants an ice cream sandwich. If it is too warm, the sandwich falls apart almost immediately, and, although your teeth are spared, the sugary ice cream coats the back of your throat with a sticky and syrupy sensation — which defeats the refreshing effects of cold ice cream on a hot summer day.
But ice cream sandwiches, unlike the traditional Ben & Jerry’s pint, are never associated with sadness or any bad experience at all. Our childhood ice cream sandwich experiences are almost exclusively from the most classic moments of being a kid: sitting on the side of the pool after the lifeguards blew the kids-out whistle, running to the shade at the end of a long soccer game, even sneaking into the freezer to indulge in a secret treat and feel on top of the world.
After I paid for my Captain Cookie & the Milkman ice cream sandwich, I walked through the front gates and found a few friends with whom I could share this incredible treat. I explained my choices (vanilla ice cream with one Nutella cookie and one peanut butter cookie) and divvied up several spoons so that we could chow down on the nearly-perfect concoction.
The cold ice cream had melted just the right amount, so the sandwich was just refreshing enough to spare my teeth from the ice and my throat from the sugar. The cookies became saturated with creamy vanilla and easily succumbed to the chopping motions of our spoons. The food was great, but the sunny Copley lawn aura and the surrounding company made the whole experience sublime.
I look forward to sharing more ice cream sandwiches this summer.
David Chardack is a freshman in the College. This is the final appearance of DC ON RYE.