Welcome, dear readers, to The Takeout Draft, our recurring feature that combines our love of food, fantasy sports, and arguing on Slack.
Every week, we will select a topic of conversation from the food and drink world. Takeout writers will then field a team via the snake draft format. After five rounds, The Takeout commenteriat will vote on who they believe was victorious in that week’s draft. At the end of 2020, the staffer with the most weekly victories will select a charity of his/her choice that The Takeout will make a donation toward. (The 2019 victor, Kate Bernot, selected the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild National Charity Foundation.)
The previous Takeout Draft: Best kitchen tools was a landslide win for Aimee Levitt, who quickly left Marnie and Allison in the dust. The one-two punch of a cast iron skillet and a chef’s knife were key to Aimee’s victory, and her selection of a Dutch oven made her even more of a shoo-in. Well done, Aimee!
This week’s draft might call to mind the chiming of an ice cream truck: Best frozen novelties. There’s a lot at play here: think about all the fun things besides ice cream cones that we eat to beat the heat. Which assemblage of sugary treats on sticks will win readers’ hearts?
Competing in the Thunderdome this week are members of the Takeout staff: Aimee Levitt, Allison Robicelli, and Marnie Shure. The randomizer has selected a draft order:
Let’s do this.
Marnie: I’m pretty excited about my first pick: The Big Bopper. This is the ice cream sandwich made with chocolate chip cookies
Alternatively known as a Chipwich
Aimee: Oh, those are delicious
Marnie: This thing was the gold standard of pool concession stand fare in my youth
You saved ALL your quarters for that one
Allison: Where is this called a Big Bopper? I’ve never heard this before!
It’s Chipwich on the East Coast
Marnie: Big Bopper is the Blue Bunny term for it! Blue Bunny is some of the best ice cream.
It’s also the only time vanilla ice cream is downright exciting
(But I don’t wanna open THAT can of worms again)
Aimee: Nope, we’ve been there too many times
Marnie: I cede the floor to Aimee’s first pick
Aimee: I choose the traditional chocolate wafer ice cream sandwich. I love the chocolate chip cookie, but the ice cream makes it soggy. You expect the ice cream sandwich wafer to be soggy, and it’s perfect.
Marnie: You know what I can’t stand about those? that the part you hold comes off on your fingertips in sheets. I will grant that it is the perfect sized ice cream novelty, though
Allison: Yeah, but then you get to lick that off your fingers. I’m a total sucker for these ice cream sandwiches.
You can make “ice cream cakes” out of them! Layer them in a 9x13" pan with whipped cream, toppings, and other stuff.
Aimee: They don’t have a stick, either. Sticks freaked me out when I was a kid.
Marnie: Were you afraid you’d choke on the stick?
Aimee: I thought it was a foreign object. I could not be convinced that I could eat around it. Haven’t eaten one of those red, white, and blue pops since.
Allison: Sticks were a bit more intimidating when you were a kid, since we were all smaller back then and it was easy to poke yourself in the back of the throat with an ice pop.
Marnie: The taste of accidentally biting down on wood is still fresh in my mind
Allison: Wood really is one of the quintessential tastes of summer. Someone should make a wood-flavored ice cream!
Aimee: A best-seller for sure.
Allison: Okay, for my first pick, I’m taking Creamsicles.
Marnie: Wow, as a first pick???
Aimee: That’s an old man ice cream bar. Or maybe I just associate it with my dad.
Marnie: Yeah why do dads love Creamsicles??
Allison: One of the first laws of cooking that everyone knows—even toddlers—is that milk and orange juice don’t mix. You don’t know why, exactly, that happens when you’re young. You just see the milk going “rotten”—the idea of orange and cream together is somewhat of a forbidden fruit.
Aimee: Way to rebel, dad.
Allison: No one commonly gets to experience the two together except in a Creamsicle.
Another fun thing about Creamsicles is licking off the outside to expose the vanilla center. It’s a frozen novelty AND a personal challenge.
Marnie: So you’re saying it’s a sherbet that’s more honest about itself
Allison: Ice cream novelties need to be both delicious and fun to be truly successful.
Marnie: What else satisfies that criterion, for your second pick?
Allison: For my second pick, I’m taking my favorite order from the Good Humor truck: Chocolate Eclair Bars
Marnie: This is covered in nuts, right? Might lose you points with the nut haters
Allison: Something every little girl wants to be is a classy, sophisticated grown-up. And eclairs are VERY sophisticated desserts.
Marnie: The name takes some serious liberties, though. This thing isn’t an eclair in the slightest!
Allison: It is a fudgy chocolate center surrounded by vanilla “ice cream” and covered in cake crumbs. I put “ice cream” in quotation marks because it’s not really ice cream. Good Humor sells “vanilla-flavored frozen dessert”
Even though it’s not a real eclair and not real ice cream, when you’re eight years old hanging out near the playground sprinklers, that thing makes you feel fancy AF
Aimee: It’s the texture. You’ve moved beyond single-colored smoothness. You have arrived.
Marnie: Wow. Layered.
Allison: It’s a complicated treat for a complicated person.
Aimee: My next pick is... the Dove bar. After my family discovered those, we never went back to the Good Humor truck ever again.
They have real ice cream! And real chocolate! I mean, that’s some serious decadence. Also, they’re huge.
Marnie: Now THOSE are fancy AF
Allison: Oh hell yes. I haven’t had one of those in forever!
Aimee: I loved the coffee ones.
Marnie: Does the coffee stuff have real caffeine? I always wondered
Aimee: That needs to be investigated! When I make coffee ice cream at home, you use real coffee to flavor, but I don’t know about commercial ice cream bars.
Allison: Why isn’t coffee ice cream more popular?
Marnie: Dove is a master of fancification. Everything they do is classy.
Okay, I’ve got two picks coming up, and for the first of the pair, I go with Drumstick
Aimee: Another classic. I think that may have been the first thing I ever got off the truck.
Marnie: Every time I have eaten them in adulthood, I’ve expected them to taste artificial, or insufficient somehow, because I’m convinced they can’t be as good as I remember. But every single time, I am proven wrong. They don’t skimp on the indulgence!
Allison: King Cones on the east coast! I always loved the chocolate nubs on the bottom
Aimee: Are the cones still lined with chocolate?
Marnie: Yes, the chocolate is still in the bottom! It’s the PERFECT finish, even in the mini ones
Aimee: That was always the best part. You were sad that you were almost finished, but it left you with something great.
Marnie: It makes me wonder why the hell I’ve never filled a cone with melted chocolate at home before
That’s a worthy experiment for some sort of ice cream sundae bar setup (which is always a hit at parties)
Allison: And it’s functional! It prevents leakage.
Marnie: Yes, it’s a surprisingly tidy treat
Okay, my third pick is the flipside to Allison’s Chocolate Eclair: the Strawberry Shortcake bar
This flavor profile just seems very midcentury to me. Do you all feel the same? No one’s out there championing strawberry shortcake anymore.
Allison: I wonder if it’s not championed because people feel it doesn’t need to be. Like, no one is out there championing apple pie. It’s apple fucking pie. What more do you want?
Marnie: I’d eat an apple pie equivalent of this ice cream bar, too. Someone get Good Humor on the phone
Allison: I just had their new Pop-Tarts bar, which is kinda apple pie-ish, but with out the apples.
Aimee: I loved the strawberry bar because it was pink and pink was my favorite color when I was four.
Marnie: Yes, precisely! Pink treats that are not bubble gum flavored are to be cherished
Aimee: Strawberries and strawberry ice cream are seriously underrated.
Allison: It’s like a coffee cake ice cream bar.
Marnie: Usually I can’t stand strawberry ice cream, funny enough. It’s a transformative bar
Allison: I’ve eaten a number of strawberry shortcake bars and love them. The cake crumbs!
That’s what makes the Good Humor bars the best. It’s the texture on the outside. They do more than just dip it in chocolate and call it a day.
Aimee: My next pick is also because of the texture: the Klondike Krunch.
Allison: What wouldn’t I do for a Klondike bar?
Marnie: How could I forget about Klondike!!!! AUGHHHH
Aimee: I really love puffed rice bars like Krackel and Nestle Crunch, and this combines that and ice cream. Also, the little bear is so cute.
Marnie: There’s something very satisfying about its dense little square of packaging, too—again, no sticks!
Allison: So here’s what I love about Klondike bars: they’re absolutely impossible to eat. The chocolate coating is too thin, and it’s also not real ice cream and melts rather quickly. So after a few bites, the whole thing is falling apart, so you end up spreading the foil out on your palm and just burying your face in it. You lick it off the foil like a dog. It’s very fun.
Marnie: That’s still somehow less stressful than trying to navigate a melty cone. At least you have the wrapper to lean on
Allison: Okay, it’s my turn now! For my third pick, I’m going with Snickers Ice Cream Bars
Aimee: Ah, I love those!
Allison: I used to love Snickers when I was a kid, but my palate is very sensitive to sugar and I don’t like very sweet things, so now the candy is just too much. But with the ice cream bar you don’t have the nougat, so it’s everything good about the Snickers with vanilla ice cream instead!
Marnie: To this day, I have never had these. They always struck me as a treat for much cooler kids
Allison: You’re cool enough for them, Marnie
Marnie: Maybe someday
Aimee: Be bold. Take your place as the cool kid we all know you are.
Allison: You do get to hang out with me after all.
Marnie: Wow, who knew that ice cream treats could bring us all together this way
Allison: Being cool is like being the Pope: you can’t actively desire to be the Pope to be the Pope. If you’re completely disinterested, then you get to be Pope. The less you care, the cooler you become. I think?
Marnie: I question that logic, but I don’t question the deliciousness of Snickers
Allison: My fourth pick, which you might not all remember off bat, but once you do you’re going to get super excited: Bubble O’ Bill
Aimee: You’re right, I don’t remember that at all.
Marnie: Same here
Allison: So Bubble O’Bill was the first of many character ice cream bars, that all followed his lead
It’s ice cream that’s in the shape of a cowboy’s head. His brown hat is chocolate ice cream. His face is strawberry. His moustache is caramel.
And HE HAS GUM FOR A NOSE!
Aimee: It’s an ice cream sundae on a stick! I remember Mickey Mouse, but not Bill.
Marnie: Was the gumball any good once you actually ate it??
Allison: Gum nose is second treat! Once all your friends are done with their ice cream, the party in your mouth is still going strong!
Marnie: Wasn’t the gumball tooth-breakingly frozen??
Allison: Nope! You’d hold it for last, since you can’t eat gum and ice cream at the same time, and it was always thawed by then. And it was good gum!
Aimee: Wow. The ice cream truck in my neighborhood never had Bubble O’Bill and now I feel deprived.
Marnie: In no way do I believe the gum was good
Allison: BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
So Bubble O’Bill was a Good Humor exclusive, and it was one of the signature novelties that got top billing on the menu. And the top billed stars gave you a chance of finding “The Lucky Stick”
If, after you ate your ice cream, your stick had “lucky stick” printed on it, you could bring it back to the ice cream man and your next order was on the house
So in the best-case scenario, Bubble O’Bill gave you ice cream, gum, AND second ice cream.
Aimee: But what if the ice cream man had already driven away?
Allison: The lucky sticks never expired! You could use them whenever you wanted.
Theoretically you could pay for only one Bubble O’Bill in your life and just keep riding good fortune into the sunset.
My next pick is Dixie Cups. They were always very festive at birthday parties, but now Ben and Jerry’s and Jeni’s have them, and this is very exciting.
I used to work in an office near a gourmet store that had the little Jeni’s cups, and you could go down at lunchtime and have one, and it was glorious.
Marnie: The little tub is irresistible! All hail the little tub! I can only imagine how much these saved parents at birthday parties over the generations.
Aimee: And the little flat, wide stick to eat off of!
Allison: I remember the Dixie cups that were chocolate and vanilla, and they had a piece of paper stuck straight to the ice cream. That was the lid.
Aimee: Yeah. And you lick the ice cream off of that, like an amuse bouche.
Marnie: I just had one of these in an airport recently. It was amazing.
Allison: How much do they cost at the airport?
Marnie: Oh, the airport ones were at least $3.49 each. But I needed it.
Okay, fourth pick...I gotta go fruity again. Remember Push-Up Pops?
Marnie: Typically Flintstones-themed?
Allison: YES YES YES!
Aimee: YEEEEP! Those were fun!
Marnie: They were like an intense, ultra-creamy sherbet, and the flavors were more like candy than ice cream. I remember one that was basically neon orange
Allison: Here’s a question I have: are people still into the Flintstones? They still make Fruity Pebbles.
Marnie: And the vitamins!
Aimee: Oh, yes, always the vitamins.
Allison: Okay I just asked my kids and neither of them have ever actually seen the Flintstones. They’ve heard about them, though, from the Fruity Pebbles box.
Marnie: You should show it to them!
Aimee: I wonder how it holds up?
Marnie: The push mechanism always got stuck, but I think that’s just because I was way too excited
Allison: Now they’re yelling at me about how I’ve never let them have Fruity Pebbles, so this has backfired spectacularly.
Marnie: Fruity Pebbles are absolutely disgusting. Try to find them some Push-Up Pops instead.
Final pick—there are still SO many good options left!
Aimee: The pressure is on! Choose wisely!
Marnie: I’ll have to go with a humble classic: Freeze Pops
Aimee: Are those the ones in the plastic sleeve?
Marnie: Yep, the ones sold in big perforated sheets
Simple, to the point. No excess packaging, no branding
Allison: Purple ones or GTFO
I wish they’d sell bags of all purple ones. It’s bullshit how they force you to eat the green ones, too.
Aimee: Those bring back so many memories of summer camp. I liked the green ones!
Marnie: I can’t think of a single color I don’t like! And the way they kiiiind of cut your mouth? From the jagged plastic? That’s just as much a sign of summer as the taste of a wooden stick.
Aimee: The suffering for cold treats!
It was a great achievement for me when I could finally get them open on my own.
Allison: I loved when they’d melt a little bit and get all slushy
Aimee: And then you’d tip back the final melted bit directly into your mouth, and it tasted like pure chemicals.
Marnie: Amen! I could see this pick helping or hurting me in the rankings. I realize they’re just sugar, but their draw is undeniable.
Allison: Marnie, we expect you to pick pure sugar in all the drafts. Even the ones about inanimate objects
Marnie: My mom did not approve my plan to never freeze them, and just drink them straight
My last pick is on behalf of my current dog Joe and my past dogs Abby and Trixie: Frosty Paws. Particularly the peanut butter flavor. Because dogs deserve ice cream, too!
Marnie: Wait WHAT—What is this
THERE ARE ICE CREAMS FOR DOGS?
Aimee: It’s a Dixie Cup with dog ice cream. They also make one for cats called Cool Claws, but it’s harder to find.
Allison: Of course there’s ice cream for dogs. They make Gucci sweaters for dogs. If you want something for a dog, someone out there is making it.
Marnie: Wow wow wow. And the dogs love it??
Aimee: Oh, my god, yes.
They eat the cups when they finish the ice cream.
Marnie: And that’s fine?
Aimee: Well, no, you have to take it away at that point. Abby’s perfect day was a trip to the Montrose Dog Beach and then an ice cream from the Fido to Go truck that always parked out there on Saturdays.
Allison: Okay I’m looking into this dog ice cream thing and the only thing I can find for my cats is a toothpaste tube of beef paste that I can “keep refrigerated for a cool treat”
Marnie: I am sure that cats find such tubes more dignified
Aimee: I made ice cream for my cat once. But she hated it.
Allison: Oh wait, I found some. It’s a mixture of goat milk and fish. The question is, do I pick goat milk and fish cat ice cream as my final pick?
Marnie: I’d advise against it. You don’t want to win the votes of whomever that pick would sway
Allison: Alright then. I guess for my last pick I’ll have to pick Marinos Italian Ice
Or any Italian ices that came in a little cup with a wooden stick.
Aimee: The lemon ones are so nice on a hot day!
Allison: I can’t pick my favorite Italian ice. I love them all.
Marnie: Only downside to Italian Ice is maybe also its upside: Doesn’t feel like a dessert
Aimee: But it’s a little bit of sweetness after a heavy meal
Marnie: Yeah, more of a palate cleanser
Allison: Lemon, of course! And cherry. I ate more Italian ices as a kid than ice cream, because you could get them at any pizzeria (and in Brooklyn there was one every two blocks) and they were cheap.
And they lasted a little longer than ice cream, because they froze harder, and you’d use the stick to shave off a bit at a time.
Marnie: I’m too impatient for that! That’s why I love not-actual-ice-cream. It’s perfectly soft for chomping right into
Aimee: There was one place here that had little pieces of fruit embedded in the ice. It was like an extra hit of flavor.
Allison: Could have been cremolata. This place by my grandmother’s house called Rispoli’s made amazing ones
Aimee: What is that?
Allison: Cremolata was a creamy vanilla water ice with lots of finely chopped almonds.
Aimee: Nope, this was actual ice with no almonds.
Marnie: I’ll take one of each
Allison: We should have planned ahead before this draft and stuffed our freezers with frozen novelties.
Marnie: To the corner store!
Who won this week’s Takeout Draft? Vote in the comments.