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What’s the raddest flavor of ice cream?

The thought of tucking into a bowl of mere chocolate ice cream is pure anathema

Ackshually, akutaq...
Ackshually, akutaq...

Dear Hipster:

The recent warmth and sunlight have rekindled the smoldering passion in my heart for my one true love: ice cream. I adore all the flavors, even the weird ones that maybe ought not to be ice creams, like cookie dough. As I plan to spend this coming summer eating as much ice cream as possible, I wonder, what’s the raddest flavor of ice cream you can possibly think of?

— Sara

As a general matter, most ice cream hipsters represent one of two warring factions who meet in the confectionary field of battle while a few fringe groups prowl the perimeter and occasionally launch incursions into enemy territory. One group, which is currently winning the war for hipster ice cream supremacy, favors extremely unconventional ingredients. Combos such as Strawberry Balsamic & Guanciale or Chicken & Waffles are great representatives of this cadre’s approach to ice cream. In a move sure to infuriate non-hipsters, they have turned ice cream into the dessert equivalent of listening to jazz.

In contrast, the ideologically opposed orthodox ice cream hipsters hew closely to traditional ice cream Americana. They favor flavors such Rocky Road and Pistachio, but insist on hipstering it up through the use of ultra-premium ingredients and an obsessive drive to create the “ultimate” version of every classic ice cream flavor. To them, the unconventional ice cream hipsters have ruined a good thing that required no improvement.

Among the fringe groups you may encounter are the ultra-purist normcore hipsters who insist on nothing but vanilla. For them, all other ice creams are mere elegant variations built to tantalize the taste buds of the Philistines who lack the capacity to discern the subtleties of Earth’s most complicated spice, and who might (perish the thought) use “vanilla” as a pejorative term. You also have the novelty ice cream hipsters (among whom I would at least provisionally count myself) who aren’t interested unless it comes in a fish-shaped waffle or the preparation involves some sort of dangerously cold chemical process.

Finally, you’ve got the occasional hipster who has taken a trip to Alaska or Northern Canada and sampled akutaq — a Native Alaskan dish that requires whipping berries and snow into rendered animal tallow. It’s sometimes referred to as “Eskimo ice cream.” As you might imagine, he is dying to corner you at a party and tell you about how it was “actually pretty good.”

Against this fraught narrative of recent history, one hipster’s radness is another hipster’s wackness. To the unconventional ice cream hipsters, the thought of tucking into a bowl of mere chocolate ice cream is pure anathema, even if made with the rarest and most expensive chocolate available. For the traditionalists, basil and olive oil go on pasta, full stop. Putting them in ice cream is a declaration of war, and it doesn’t matter how good they are.

These two groups began life much closer to the center. Not long ago, hipster ice cream parlors often placed artisanal versions of ice cream classics alongside innovative novelties. At the urging of zealots on both sides — who have taken to their Instagram soapboxes in an escalating battle for the most likes — the two sides have grown increasingly polarized in recent years. The tragedy here is that this senseless conflict has pitted brother against brother. Someday soon, I hope these hipsters will unite over their shared love of ice cream. Perhaps that will be this summer.

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Ackshually, akutaq...
Ackshually, akutaq...

Dear Hipster:

The recent warmth and sunlight have rekindled the smoldering passion in my heart for my one true love: ice cream. I adore all the flavors, even the weird ones that maybe ought not to be ice creams, like cookie dough. As I plan to spend this coming summer eating as much ice cream as possible, I wonder, what’s the raddest flavor of ice cream you can possibly think of?

— Sara

As a general matter, most ice cream hipsters represent one of two warring factions who meet in the confectionary field of battle while a few fringe groups prowl the perimeter and occasionally launch incursions into enemy territory. One group, which is currently winning the war for hipster ice cream supremacy, favors extremely unconventional ingredients. Combos such as Strawberry Balsamic & Guanciale or Chicken & Waffles are great representatives of this cadre’s approach to ice cream. In a move sure to infuriate non-hipsters, they have turned ice cream into the dessert equivalent of listening to jazz.

In contrast, the ideologically opposed orthodox ice cream hipsters hew closely to traditional ice cream Americana. They favor flavors such Rocky Road and Pistachio, but insist on hipstering it up through the use of ultra-premium ingredients and an obsessive drive to create the “ultimate” version of every classic ice cream flavor. To them, the unconventional ice cream hipsters have ruined a good thing that required no improvement.

Among the fringe groups you may encounter are the ultra-purist normcore hipsters who insist on nothing but vanilla. For them, all other ice creams are mere elegant variations built to tantalize the taste buds of the Philistines who lack the capacity to discern the subtleties of Earth’s most complicated spice, and who might (perish the thought) use “vanilla” as a pejorative term. You also have the novelty ice cream hipsters (among whom I would at least provisionally count myself) who aren’t interested unless it comes in a fish-shaped waffle or the preparation involves some sort of dangerously cold chemical process.

Finally, you’ve got the occasional hipster who has taken a trip to Alaska or Northern Canada and sampled akutaq — a Native Alaskan dish that requires whipping berries and snow into rendered animal tallow. It’s sometimes referred to as “Eskimo ice cream.” As you might imagine, he is dying to corner you at a party and tell you about how it was “actually pretty good.”

Against this fraught narrative of recent history, one hipster’s radness is another hipster’s wackness. To the unconventional ice cream hipsters, the thought of tucking into a bowl of mere chocolate ice cream is pure anathema, even if made with the rarest and most expensive chocolate available. For the traditionalists, basil and olive oil go on pasta, full stop. Putting them in ice cream is a declaration of war, and it doesn’t matter how good they are.

These two groups began life much closer to the center. Not long ago, hipster ice cream parlors often placed artisanal versions of ice cream classics alongside innovative novelties. At the urging of zealots on both sides — who have taken to their Instagram soapboxes in an escalating battle for the most likes — the two sides have grown increasingly polarized in recent years. The tragedy here is that this senseless conflict has pitted brother against brother. Someday soon, I hope these hipsters will unite over their shared love of ice cream. Perhaps that will be this summer.

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