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  • Paul Davidson

The Death of the Ice Cream Sundae

There were times when you could go out to a huge, white-tiled establishment and eat your body weight in ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream (and maybe some nuts).

Well, not anymore.

When I was a kid I used to get giddy with excitement (or possibly I was having one of those under-12 nervous breakdowns as a result of my Star Wars figures getting snatched in a particularly heart-palpitating parental garage sale from hell scenario) when I knew I was getting taken to the ice cream sundae shop. I knew that I would be faced with a menu filled with obscene choices of ice-cream concoctions that would cause me to, usually, collapse an hour later into a sugar-coma.

There was the “Matterhorn” — a gigantic glass sundae dish piled high with five scoops of ice cream, slathered in two kinds of sauces (double caramel for me), covered in huge mountains of whipped cream, handfuls of chopped nuts, a few cherries and an air-sickness bag. Oh, it was awesome. And the Matterhorn wasn’t even the biggest one they made.

When you walked into Leatherbys, the classic ice cream parlour establishment in my home town, you weren’t there to order a grilled-cheese sandwich. I mean, hell, other than that and a hot dog, the only thing Leatherbys served was mile-high ice cream sundaes. And today? Much like the three-toed, four-eyed jumping Iguana…Leatherbys is, too, extinct.

Now, I’m on the West Coast so things may be different in the back woods of middle America (and I’d love to know if that’s true) but it appears as if the Ice Cream Sundae has pretty much gone extinct. No longer can you go somewhere, drop nine-fifty and get a pound of cold sugar slid in front of you in less than 10 minutes. No longer can you eat ice-cream until your belly is distended. These days you have to go buy a pint of Ben & Jerry’s at the local supermarket and even then you’re not getting the amount of consumables you were at Letherbys.

Someone has taken away my ice cream sundae.

Sure, there are substitutions, I guess. There’s the puny little Baskin & Robbins sundae that fits in a (get this) tiny little cup. Sure, you can go to the mom & pop ice cream stores where they pretend to make huge sundaes called “Turtle Sundaes.” But every time I’ve driven 30 minutes out of my way to test out the ice cream sundae shops of today, I am greatly disappointed.

The ice cream sundae… The classic, artery-clogging ice cream sundae is dead, people. It is dead, it is gone, and it ain’t coming back. Especially not with all this “America is the fattest country in the world” talk, and the stock prices of Krispy Kreme dropping dramatically even after they announced their amazingly-strange frozen donut drinks for the Summer months… All of our extremely high-calorie, dessert-type treats are being eradicated by…well, someone.

And other than me, apparently, no one misses the 4 foot high, 59,000 calorie, ice cream sundae.

And I weep (yes, I really weep) because of it.

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