Daily Archives: August 1, 2009

Ice Cream Experiment

Something magic happens when you mix root beer with vanilla ice cream.  A root beer float occurs, a rich and creamy transcendent flavor package that is more than the sum of its parts.

Well, it seems like that to me, but I really like root beer floats.

So when my daughter and I came in from playing this afternoon, I agreed when she said it was time for root beer floats.

But then disaster struck.  While we had plenty of ice cream (Dryers Vanilla Bean), there was no root beer to be had.

We had other sodas around the house, but the failed experiments of youth flooded back to me.

Sure, when you’re young, you think that if root beer tastes great with vanilla ice cream, then other beverages must as well.

So you try Coke, and it is okay, but the carbonation is too sharp and the flavors don’t meld quite right.  Then there is lemon-lime in the form of 7-Up or Sprite, but the faux citrus flavoring doesn’t mix as well as you would wish with the vanilla.  And the less said about diet sodas or ginger ale mixed with ice cream, the better.

So it was with some trepidation that I inventoried the soda reserves in our refrigerator.  The usual suspects were there, Coke, Diet Coke, ginger ale, Sprite… but then I spotted something a little different, a soda that did not exist in my youth.

Mountain Dew Code Red!

Could this cherry flavored soda succeed where others had failed?

It certainly had potential.  Like root beer, the carbonation in Code Red is more subdued than colas.  And the flavoring was something different.

And so we set out to create the Code Red Float.

Two tall glasses

Two scoops of ice cream in each

Half a can of Mountain Dew Code Red in each glass

The results looked promising.

Warning: Experimental Drink!

Warning: Experimental Drink!

The mixture foamed up like any good root beer float ought to, with a thick and creamy foam.  When stirred with a straw, the harsh red of the drink mellowed into a happy summer shade of pink.

That left only the taste test.

I shouted, “ARE YOU READY?” which got something of an eye roll from my daughter, but she said she was.  I let her choose her glass and we gave it a try.

Pretty good.

The cherry flavor of the Code Red mixed well with the vanilla bean ice cream, forming a different flavor, a light cherry cream akin to something in the middle of a chocolate candy.

We drank up.

My daughter was less enthusiastic about the remaining ice cream.  But she isn’t big on the left over ice cream in a root beer float either.  I, on the other hand, did what I have done since I was a child, which was slurp every last bit of ice cream loudly through the straw until the glass was empty.

Experiment Complete

Experiment Complete

The remaining foam in the glass even had the same tenacious nature that a root beer float leaves, a concoction that is just short of caulk if left to dry in the glass.

And so our experiment was declared a success.

But I’m still putting root beer on the shopping list.

Summer Re-Reading

I have been on a reading binge this summer, but an odd one, as I see to be re-reading a pile of books on my book shelf.

Certainly this saves some money.  And, after all, the reason these books remained on my bookshelf after I read them previously is that I felt I would read them again.  But still, I am on something of an unusual retro-tear when it comes to my book choices.

First I knocked off all of the Derek Robinson flight related books, sticking to the chronological order of the books based on the events in the books versus their publication date.  Those were, in the ordering I chose:

All of the books except Goshawk Squadron are related in some way, either following the thread of Hornet Squadron through two wars, with a diversion in Damned Good Show where Hornet Squadron’s intelligence officer gets moved over to Bomber Command for a tour.

I quite enjoy the whole series, bleak though it can be at times, with very young men showing up and dying, some times before they’ve even unpacked.  The series has gives me a feeling similar to that which I get when I re-read I, Claudius, in that they are so well set in their period that it I cannot really tell when the book was written.

Then, that complete, I started plucking Martin Cruz Smith novels off the shelf, specifically the Arkady Renko series.  And it has really turned into a series.  The gap between the release of books in this series indicates to me that it did not start out to be a series.  Certainly the author has no other recurring characters like Arkady.  It makes me wonder what made it become a series.  Is the main character enjoyable to write, is the popularity of the series a major factor, was his publisher on the phone begging until he wrote more?

Anyway, the one benefit of going through the first four novels, which I have read before is that there are two new ones out in paperback since I last read the series and another one is scheduled for release next year.  The series so far is:

And somewhere along the line I also managed to read Jennifer Government and Pygmy, both of which were interesting in their ways, but not enough that I think I will ever reread them.  Jennifer Government is sort of Snow Crash light, a similar fractured corporate run modern world, but without the whole metaverse aspect. And Pygmy was… erm… a critical look at Junior Swing Choir?  It is interesting and funny, but grew tiresome for me before I got to the end.

And at some point I have to re-read my copy of the Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle novel Inferno because I see they have a sequel out, only 33 years later, carrying on the tale of Alan Carpenter in Hell called Escape from Hell.

There is always more to read than I have time.  This is why I do audio books in the car during my commute.  I might have to go that route for Inferno and Escape from Hell.

What have you been reading this summer?