National Ice Cream Month


Me and a giant gelato in Sorrento

Ice cream makes me happy. From my birth through high school, it seemed as if my family marked our special occasions with a trip to Giffords. This family-run shop, serving secret-recipe, homemade ice cream has been a Bethesda landmark since 1938. Growing up, lemon was my favorite, Heath Bar was my brother Andrew’s and my parents usually shared a banana split. At Middlebury, I had access to Ben & Jerry’s samples at every meal (they stopped doing that after I graduated—not that I had anything to do with it). Last year, on a two-week vacation in Italy and Croatia, I averaged a gelato every other day (talk about restraint). And now, just a few blocks uphill, I have Swensen’s. It’s no Bi-Rite Creamery (love the salted caramel), but I’ve adopted Swensen’s as my go-to ice cream shop.

Who knew that in 1984, President Reagan made July National Ice Cream Month—with National Ice Cream Day being the third Sunday of the month? (Mark your calendars for July 20, 2008.) Now that it’s my civic duty to consume these frozen delights, I’ve made my fair share of trips to Swensen’s. On one occasion, I even got a free cone because my receipt had the coveted red star on the back! (If you get the red star, then your order’s on the house, or up to $5 off.) It’s all a number’s game—visit often enough and you’ll get that red star, too.

Cookies and Cream

About the same distance in the other direction from my apartment is the Yogurt Bar near Union Street. The lines have been out the door since it opened about a month ago—in all honesty though, only about five people fit inside anyway. Vanilla and green tea are standard, and there are two seasonal flavors along with a wide assortment of fresh toppings. I tried the green tea with kiwi, but I think that it might’ve been too healthy, even for me.
Thankfully the weather’s been amazing, which means that I’ve been running, biking and swimming a ton. Maybe next year I’ll be ready to share my theory on why ice cream is the perfect food ….
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