It's a Butter Crunch round robin! I first discovered Butter Crunch ice cream at Friendly's as a teenager, in search of the perfect recipe for a Peanut Butter Cup Sundae (see previous blog entry from May, "How to Build the Perfect Peanut Butter Cup Sundae, and Other Stories"). I have recently sampled Butter Crunch ice cream cones at a number of ice cream parlors in the Boston area and have discovered that all Butter Crunch ice cream is not equal.
What is the crunchy sweet stuff in Butter Crunch ice cream? Butter brickle? Butterscotch candy? Toffee? Unclear. All of the Butter Crunch flavors I tried seemed to have similar crunchy goodness, but with varying sizes and consistencies. My first stop was Lizzy's Ice Cream in Needham, Massachusetts. Their Butter Crunch ice cream is standard, good quality Butter Crunch; a vanilla based ice cream with small candy pieces. It reminded me of the Butter Crunch at Friendly's. The candy pieces are tiny, probably the size of a mini chocolate chip, but there are plenty of them, and there is a subtle butterscotch flavor throughout. Next was Crescent Ridge Dairy in Sharon. The Butter Crunch flavor at Crescent Ridge is a super sized Butter Crunch. The scoop was enormous. There is something to be said for eating an ice cream cone where the ice cream scoop is twice the size of your fist. The ice cream itself was vanilla-based and was very creamy. But what set this Butter Crunch apart from the rest was the buttercrunch candy; the candy pieces were enormous, probably the size of a large gumball. Because of this, the flavor seemed less Butter Crunch and more something in its own category.
The final stop on my Butter Crunch circuit was at Bubbling Brook in Westwood. This was my favorite Butter Crunch ice cream. Bubbling Brook's take on this flavor presents sweet ice cream, sweet and crunchy candy pieces, and an unexpected, flavorful butterscotch ribbon running through the ice cream. The butterscotch ribbon adds a tremendous amount of flavor, and plays off nicely against the sweet candy pieces. It turns an ordinary ice cream scoop into a mini sundae in a cone.
For me, it was the butterscotch ribbon that made Bubbling Brook's Butter Crunch a stand out. And now, I would like to share a story about another kind of ribbon. The story begins on a college campus.
A boy and a girl met in September of their senior year. They seemed to be polar opposites; he was all about engineering and computers, she was about social sciences and music. He was quiet, she was not, he enjoyed staying in, she preferred to be out, he was calm, she was always busy. But they started dating in November, and by graduation in June they were still dating. The boy graduated Phi Beta Kappa, in the top percentile of his class, and received a special red ribbon to wear on his graduation robe. The girl did not graduate Phi Beta Kappa. This was a particular issue for the girl, as she was naturally competitive, worked hard, and came close, but did not have a high enough GPA for Phi Beta Kappa. She complained to the boy that she was disappointed that she had not had a red ribbon at graduation. For some reason this really bothered her.
So what did the boy do? After graduation, the boy gave the girl a present. He gave her his Phi Beta Kappa ribbon. The girl was amazed that someone would give away something that meant so much. But the boy just smiled and said he thought it meant more to her than it did to him, and he wanted her to have it. So she accepted his gift.
Of course, the ribbon did not make the girl magically eligible for Phi Beta Kappa. But it showed her something about the boy, about how very selfless he was. She knew the boy worked really hard, and she knew that he valued what he had accomplished. But the ribbon showed that he valued her more. And that making her happy was more important than any award or accolade.
She had never met anyone like that. She suspected that there were few like him in the world. Over twenty years later, they are still together, and she still suspects that there are few like him in the world. He never asked for the ribbon back, never so much as asked to see it. But she still has it. And it means more to her than if she had received her own red ribbon. Perhaps that is what the boy had intended all along.
Have a good week!