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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Creams

In the foggy mists of 1621, Henry Hudson sailed the seas and steered his trusty ship into the salty harbors of New York, past Manhattan, and up the mighty river which today bears his name. Some say he searched for a passage to the Orient; others say he searched for new lands with new spices and fruits; yet others say he searched because he could, because he was an adventurer. An adventurer he was, but what historians have failed to see until this moment is that what Hudson truly sought was a land of supple creams, a land of magnificent desserts topped, soaked and immersed with that most revered of luscious whipped dairy decadences.

Ah yes, the year was 1621, and old Henry Hudson saw Manhattan and knew what promise was held within its narrow straights. "The creams will be ever so luscious," he screamed to his men. "God damn it, I say they will be luscious!" Just then, as the ship passed near the overhanging trees of the coast, an avenging squirrel jumped onto Hudson's face and began furiously nipping at his eyeballs. "Jesus!" he screamed in agony as the evil squirrel clawed at his pupils. By the time his men were able to pry the furry-tailed rodent from Hudson's face, it was too late. What a harbinger of things to come, for although Manhattan is in many ways a land of magical creams, a terrible cream curse has grasped the land for all these years...until now.

But first - let us consider Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream, a new parlour on the Lower East Side. The place itself is a perfect example of a ridiculous, modern, New York-take on the classic ice cream parlour. Everything has been finely calibrated to re-create a vintage parlour out of a Normal Rockwell painting. The madcap parlour clerk, Morgenstern, has an ironic mustache and looks like he came out of a lunatic confectionary asylum. His ice creams are respectable - a chocolate lemon was particularly intriguing. But the real reason I was interested in Morgenstern's was because sources claimed the parlour would be hand-whipping its whipped cream to order. Finally! A place that takes its cream seriously! But sadly the whipped cream I tasted was more like a foam, more like melted ice cream soup than an actual cream. "You call this whipped cream!" I shouted as I hurled the bowl into Morgenstern's face. Granted, the establishment is new and perhaps they are working out the kinks, but this was a disappointing whipped cream experience.

Now, the main attraction, the fulfillment of Hudson's dream. For years, Manhattan has had it all, except for one thing: Dairy Queen. This was the curse. But last week Manhattan got its very first Dairy Queen. On 14th Street near 6th Avenue it lies. I always thought my first trip to a DQ in Manhattan would consist in a Peanut Buster Parfait. I guess I was feeling saucy because instead I chose a Big Apple Blizzard, the monthly Blizzard concoction, which was composed of baked apples and pieces of crust topped with a whipped cream. The "whipped cream" was undoubtedly of the canned variety, but I'll be damned if it wasn't worlds better than the hand-crafted “cream” from Morgenstern's. The "pie pieces" tasted more like crispy cereal chunks, but squeeze a ferret and call me charlie if it wasn't enjoyable all the same!

Hudson's vision has now truly emerged. All of the hipsters can go to Morgenstern's and eat basil sesame caramel ice cream with toasted coconut and "whipped cream." I'll go to DQ and enjoy a Blizzard or Peanut Buster Parfait with the masses, the common folk. As I walked in the warm summer air, enjoying my Blizzard, I heard screams. A squirrel attacked a baby and ripped off its ears. The same squirrel that ended poor Hudson? Perhaps, perhaps.