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Common enjoyment à la mode at Somi Somi

There’s a reason the French say, “Le sauce, c’est tout” — the sauce is everything

Exhibit A: the tell-tale waffle print. The tale it tells is that ice cream is a sauce — for waffles and other things.
Exhibit A: the tell-tale waffle print. The tale it tells is that ice cream is a sauce — for waffles and other things.

Ice cream is a sauce. I’m not going to refer you to Webster’s or any such thing, just so I can hear you protest that sauces are, by definition, fluid. First, because I stopped trusting the dictionary after finding that “funner” had somehow become a word. Second, because ice cream is properly enjoyed when it has in fact become a fluid — when it melts against the heat of your tongue as you lick your scoop or hold a bite of it in your mouth. Third, because search your feelings, you know it to be true.

Instead, I’ll refer you to Misters Baskin and Robbins of Glendale, California, or at least to one of their many ice cream parlors. We ought to take our definitions from what is common. Consider their relatively luxurious waffle cone. What does it resemble? That’s right: a waffle. As if someone had taken a lovely round waffle and twisted it so that it could hold its own topping — its own sauce. But wait: what of the sugar and wafer cones? Why do you suppose they bear those waffle-style grid markings? Could it be because all cones, however industrialized, derive from that original rolled-up waffle? I say yes, especially after watching a fresh crepe transformed into a delicious cone for my ice cream at Somi Somi on Convoy.

I’m not suggesting that you’re some kind of troglodytic philistine for doing like comedian Jim Gaffigan does and sitting down with an entire pint of iced cream sauce and spooning it into your gullet. (It’s worth noting that Gaffigan has a bit about seeing a guy at an Indiana K-Mart drinking a cup of KFC gravy. “I love it when I encounter people who are eating more unhealthy than me,” he says, desperately scrambling to deny the truth.) There’s a reason the French say, “Le sauce, c’est tout” — the sauce is everything. Eggs Benedict is just eggs on toast until you drizzle on the Hollandaise.

Except the sauce isn’t everything, not quite. You can do all manner of things to your sauce to gussy it up and make it a thing unto itself — add all the mix-ins you like at Cold Stone, seek out a fancy foreign variation like Nutella gelato at Pappalecco, or order up an exotic flavor like Bone Marrow with Bourbon Soaked Cherries and Arbequina Olive Oil at Salt & Straw (that last one sounds an awful lot like a regular old sauce, doesn’t it?) — but you’ll still never top ice cream as topping. On apple pie, sure — it’s why every American knows at least one French term, a la mode — but elsewhere as well. Permit me a moment of swooning reverie as I recall a recent bread pudding, whipped together on a whim by my daughter as a stay against COVID-related despair: still warm from the oven, redolent with cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggy custard. A comforting treat on its own. Under a dollop of vanilla ice cream, rapidly softening and beginning to send pale rivulets amid the oven-crisped tips of the French bread…

Ice cream is a sauce.

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Exhibit A: the tell-tale waffle print. The tale it tells is that ice cream is a sauce — for waffles and other things.
Exhibit A: the tell-tale waffle print. The tale it tells is that ice cream is a sauce — for waffles and other things.

Ice cream is a sauce. I’m not going to refer you to Webster’s or any such thing, just so I can hear you protest that sauces are, by definition, fluid. First, because I stopped trusting the dictionary after finding that “funner” had somehow become a word. Second, because ice cream is properly enjoyed when it has in fact become a fluid — when it melts against the heat of your tongue as you lick your scoop or hold a bite of it in your mouth. Third, because search your feelings, you know it to be true.

Instead, I’ll refer you to Misters Baskin and Robbins of Glendale, California, or at least to one of their many ice cream parlors. We ought to take our definitions from what is common. Consider their relatively luxurious waffle cone. What does it resemble? That’s right: a waffle. As if someone had taken a lovely round waffle and twisted it so that it could hold its own topping — its own sauce. But wait: what of the sugar and wafer cones? Why do you suppose they bear those waffle-style grid markings? Could it be because all cones, however industrialized, derive from that original rolled-up waffle? I say yes, especially after watching a fresh crepe transformed into a delicious cone for my ice cream at Somi Somi on Convoy.

I’m not suggesting that you’re some kind of troglodytic philistine for doing like comedian Jim Gaffigan does and sitting down with an entire pint of iced cream sauce and spooning it into your gullet. (It’s worth noting that Gaffigan has a bit about seeing a guy at an Indiana K-Mart drinking a cup of KFC gravy. “I love it when I encounter people who are eating more unhealthy than me,” he says, desperately scrambling to deny the truth.) There’s a reason the French say, “Le sauce, c’est tout” — the sauce is everything. Eggs Benedict is just eggs on toast until you drizzle on the Hollandaise.

Except the sauce isn’t everything, not quite. You can do all manner of things to your sauce to gussy it up and make it a thing unto itself — add all the mix-ins you like at Cold Stone, seek out a fancy foreign variation like Nutella gelato at Pappalecco, or order up an exotic flavor like Bone Marrow with Bourbon Soaked Cherries and Arbequina Olive Oil at Salt & Straw (that last one sounds an awful lot like a regular old sauce, doesn’t it?) — but you’ll still never top ice cream as topping. On apple pie, sure — it’s why every American knows at least one French term, a la mode — but elsewhere as well. Permit me a moment of swooning reverie as I recall a recent bread pudding, whipped together on a whim by my daughter as a stay against COVID-related despair: still warm from the oven, redolent with cinnamon, nutmeg, and eggy custard. A comforting treat on its own. Under a dollop of vanilla ice cream, rapidly softening and beginning to send pale rivulets amid the oven-crisped tips of the French bread…

Ice cream is a sauce.

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