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Top 10 Worst Ice Cream Decisions a Customer Can Make

Adam Lewis, Co-Editor

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For the past four years, I have worked at Penguin Ice Cream as a professional scooper, a title I wear on my sleeve twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Although this article may seem like I am complaining about my job, I am not. I truly love my job. But with that being said, some ice cream orders make me cringe. I’ve made thousands of milkshakes and sundaes of all different variety, some taste great while others are an insult to humanity’s tastebuds. The lack of ice cream knowledge in customers has become a recurring problem and it needs to be rectified. So here are the 10 worst ice cream decisions a customer can make according to a professional scooper:


  1. Butterscotch Topping

Let’s keep in mind that we are living in the 21st century. We are not riding into town on our horse and buggies going to the ice cream parlor before playing stickball with our pals in the alley. The brown sugar component of this topping overtakes the flavor of the ice cream and for the most part, ruins the average customer’s (5-12-year-olds) experience. It is rarely ordered as chocolate syrup and caramel take priority and that is why it is so far down on this list. Also, it is practically impossible to clean off clothing, but that is more of a personal vendetta.

  1. Waffle Cones/Bowls

Anything made with waffle batter in an ice cream store is always in high demand and I will be the first one to tell you how great a fresh waffle cone or bowl is when complemented with some cookie dough ice cream. Yet, notice the word fresh in that last sentence. I cannot tell you how many times I have scooped ice cream into a waffle bowl/cone and hear the crunch that signals impending children’s tears and parental agony. If the cone or bowl is more than 3 days old, then it is as stale as soured milk. Although it is out of the customer’s control to get a cone within that 3 day period, ordering anything in a waffle bowl or cone is a high-risk choice.

  1. Wet Walnuts

Despite being a better topping than butterscotch, it is still a poor choice for completely one’s sundae. Yes, it is entertaining to watch someone struggle to pry their spoon away from the sticky maple syrup coating, but it comes at a cost. The maple syrup acts as a parasite as it commandeers the bowl and life as you know it (sort of, not really). The wet walnut will never whet an appetite and does not deserve its place in any topping bar.

  1. Italian Ice on a Cone

It can be done, but the question remains, why bother? First of all, I have never understood the desire to eat colored ice, but that is beside the point. A cone, a fragile and edible item that is used to serve ice cream, simply cannot support the awkwardly shaped Italian ice scoops. Ice shavings will never be supported by a sugar cone, it’s just fact. If you order this, it is a just a poor life choice and you do not deserve the privilege to order your own food ever again.

  1. Brownies

Brownies are amazing. They’re spectacular. Brownies are the pinnacle of human technology and that is just the reality. However, combining something great with a tasty treat like ice cream does not always work out. A brownie sundae is a favorite among the world’s ice cream consumers, but factors like its bulkiness and its penchant for being an annoying leftover in the bowl affect its validity as an effective order. Although it may seem like a great addition to the ice cream composition, it disappoints in terms of hype when you get to the dregs of the dish.  

  1. Any Fruit Flavor Ever

Know your environment. Ice cream stores and “trendy” paleo, low-fat, or whatever made up diet are incapable of coexisting. Fruit ice cream flavors do not equate to being healthy. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Just a general rule, if you walk into an ice cream store, then you are probably looking for a junk food option, not a gourmet health food. You are not fooling yourself by ordering a fruit flavor and it is time to recognize that mistake.

  1. Neapolitan Ice Cream

I have never served the Neapolitan flavor, but I will never understand its existence in this world and that is why it ranks so high on this list. I am a huge advocate of combining flavors for the end goal of a specific taste (i.e. Toasted Coconut and Double Chocolate creates an irresistible Mounds Bar flavor). Yet, a flavor that revolves around the equal distribution of Vanilla, Chocolate, and Strawberry (otherwise known as the power three) lacks the direction of a customer’s desire as it just reveals a sense of unpreparedness. In summary, being indecisive is not a good attribute.

  1. Sugar/Wafer Cones

Although it is more of an economic issue rather than overall taste and satisfaction of an order, any customer who asks for a cone to complement their ice cream is in the wrong. Being a professional scooper, I am able to differentiate the distribution between ordering ice cream in a cone or a bowl. The cone thrives on its ability to maintain its balance on top which results in slightly less ice cream being put in the cone. On the other hand, you are receiving more ice cream in a bowl for the same price. Essentially, by sticking with the cone, you are making your dollar worth less.

  1. Whipped Cream

Aesthetically pleasing? Yes. Completely tasteless and worthless? Absolutely. Acting as the finishing touch for the most sundaes, whipped cream is as boring and plain as generic cola from your local supermarket. Its placement in someone’s order just mucks up an entire ice cream experience by wrecking the bowl’s ice cream composition. The fact of the matter is whipped cream is just unnecessary calories while you could strive for other topping alternatives.

  1. Sprinkles (“Flavored” Plastic)

The fatal mistake in ordering a scoop or two of ice cream, sprinkles. Similar to whipped cream, it is synonymous with the ice cream realm, but it jeopardizes the overall satisfaction of your ice cream. Why dump “flavored” plastic on a bowl of cookie dough when you can switch it out with a richer topping in chocolate chips? The sprinkle remaining contaminates each bite when it hides every spoonful. The overall payoff from sprinkles is nonexistent but remains to be one of the biggest pitfalls in ordering ice cream.


Photo Credit: https://www.dogonews.com/2015/7/2/go-ahead-and-indulge-its-national-ice-cream-month

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