Amy Carter is the first presidential kid I remember. I read news stories that she ate Baskin Robbins Bubble Gum ice cream, saving the frozen-hard gumballs like me. I imagined her dad ate peanut butter swirl after they used tiny pink spoons to try as many flavors as the Secret Service would let them. While Baskin Robbins was special, the truly memorable ice cream was at only one place: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. In my 6-year-old mind, that was the place where presidents held inaugurations and medal ceremonies with drums and singing and barrels of Farrell’s ice cream.
Farrell’s is sadly no more. The last time I went was with my grandfather, a staunch Republican long haul trucker chain smoker. He would have called Biden the devil but secretly enjoyed the “malarkeys” and “chips of the old blocks.” Since Farrell’s is gone, the special ice cream place for my kids and our new president is Jeni’s Splendid ice cream. There are metal spoons instead of pink plastic and lavender and honey and biscuits and peach jam instead of rock hard rainbow bubble gum. The friendly ice cream servers and waffle cone makers may ot have drums but they do have endless patience and magic flavors.
While I never ran into President Carter in Baskin Robbins or Farrells, I like to think he went there with men in black suits hovering behind him and his daughter. President Biden has definitely been to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. There are press pictures of him and now an ice cream created for him too: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream White House Chocolate Chip. The ice cream legend goes that he wanted chocolate chip ice cream when he stopped at a Columbus Jeni’s but that wasn’t an available flavor. Jeni’s created a chocolate chip version on the spot and now White House Chocolate Chip for everyone.
My grandfather would approve. Of the ice cream. Not the president. We’d eat some together in mismatched bowls, perched on kitchen stools. He’d label it chocolate chip. I’d read the descriptions that kind of say that too: mimics a double scoop of chocolate chip on a waffle cone, featuring chocolate two ways, with crunchy chocolate flakes and chocolate-covered waffle cone pieces, all wrapped in a sweet and velvety vanilla bean cream. Somehow, I’m guessing President Biden calls it just chocolate chip too. That might be enough to raise his approval rating one grandpa point.
Made to celebrate the inauguration, this is a chip off the Biden block ice cream that won’t be around forever. Jeni’s Ice Cream in my grandpa’s freezer? Guessing never in the Harvest Gold, not-Pelosi fridge. Jeni’s Ice Cream White House Chocolate Chip in the White House freezers for staffers and President and VP and grandchildren? I imagine rows of Jeni’s labels lined up waiting for midnight ice cream runs. And that’s no malarkey, just great ice cream.
Amy Barnes has words at a variety of sites including McSweeney’s, Robot Butt, Weekly Humorist, College Humor and Botnik Studios. She reads submissions as a member of the Taco Bell Quarterly Day Crew. You can find her on Twitter at @amygcb and hiding from her teenagers in the laundry room.