By Bethany Clark
One memory from my secondary school days stands out very clearly in my mind. It’s the middle of December, only a few days shy of the Christmas holidays and everyone is in a festive mood.
There are several inches of snow on the ground and even more forecast. In fact, it’s just starting up again as I leave my house with two friends after a lunch break spent playing with my dog in the snow outside.
The school is only a five-minute walk away from my house so lunchtime excursions to empty my cupboards and fridge are common. This time, however, the three of us discovered something particularly tantalising in the bottom drawer of the freezer.
Forgotten since the first snow began to fall in November, a large tub of vanilla ice cream sits in the drawer, barely touched and looking delicious. One of my friends points out that it’s snowing outside but we decide we don’t care.
Temperatures are hovering around the zero mark but the lure of ice cream is suddenly too much. Bundled up in winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves, we step outside with the tub of vanilla passed between us and three spoons.
Snow falls heavier as we make the main road and join the steady throng of school children heading back to an afternoon of lessons crowded with kids who would much rather be outside. Usually, my friends and I blend into this cacophony of excited voices and kids making the most of the last of their free time.
Today, we stand out.
Conversations drop off in the middle of a sentence as kids stare at us in confusion. “They do realise it’s snowing, don’t they?” We hear variations of this as we continue our walk, heads bowed against the freezing flurry from the skies but still determinedly munching our way through the tub of vanilla ice cream that is burning cold through our gloves.
This wasn’t an isolated incident. Through the worst of this year’s weather I found myself picking up a tub of mint-choc-chip from the store and eating three bowls in one night as several inches of snow lay on the ground outside.
I watched from a bus window as a young couple wandered down the street outside, happily eating ice cream cones even as rain drenched through their hats.
It’s mid-February, the weather forecast threatens more snow and the jingle of the ice cream van from the street is suddenly very attractive. I grab some change and dash out to catch it, fully expecting to be the only one mad enough to do so, only to find a queue of five others shivering in the biting wind at the hatch.
What is it that makes ice cream so tempting even when the weather outside makes you want to curl up in a ball of blankets and never come out?
Perhaps it’s that good ice cream is just so wonderfully tempting that the craving is impossible to shake off once it takes hold.
Perhaps it’s the hundreds of fantastical flavours you can now find, something to tickle even the pickiest of taste buds and the sprinkles, sauces and chocolate additions you can buy from any supermarket.
Perhaps it’s the memory of childhood elation when a doting aunt or uncle or grandparent sneaked you a small bowl behind your parents’ backs as a reward for good behaviour despite the cold weather.
Ice cream and rebellion aren’t words that often go together but, for me at least, that’s kind of what it is. A lot of people you ask will admit to eating ice cream even when the weather is terrible but doing so still attracts strange looks and confusion.
You’re not supposed to eat ice cream when there’s snow on the ground and that’s exactly why I like to. Ice cream is delicious no matter the time of year and I’ll eat it when I want to, thank you very much.
“They do realise it’s snowing, don’t they?”
Yes. But we don’t care.