There’s real-deal Italian ice (i.e., the kind I used to eat when I was a kid) and there’s the bogus corporate kind, which is what this place in Point Pleasant is selling. When I was young Italian ices were sold in round cardboard containers with a little wooden spoon. You’d peel off the top lid and the ices (my favorite was cherry) would be nearly rock-solid. It would always take a few minutes of chipping away on a hot summer’s day before the ice gradually softened and you could eat actual chunks of it. But this Point Pleasant joint is selling….I don’t know what to call it but it’s like a Slurpee sorbet that’s just firm enough to hold its shape.
“What’s this stuff?” I said to the teenaged salesgirl. “No offense but this isn’t Italian ice. This is some kind of bullshit corporate hybrid. It’s slop.” Reality messengers are never welcome, I realize, but the girl didn’t even know what I was talking about. She even seemed vaguely fearful. It would have been one thing if she’d smiled and said, “Yeah, you’re right — this is just soft sorbet slop pumped up with air. Welcome to 2013…hah!” But she didn’t have clue #1. She’s working at an Italian ice stand and she doesn’t even know what the real thing is (or was).
I shouldn’t even ordered it with my cockatoo diet and all, but I wanted to re-savor an old childhood delicacy and so I talked myself into cheating. Some cheat!