Summer has always been the season for ice cream. And we’ve made a lot of progress on that front in recent years. When you go to an ice cream store nowadays you can choose from a thousand flavors combining tastes you’ve never heard of. I just want to know what happened to chocolate and vanilla? When I saw my children’s favorite ice cream had become some strange form of sherbert, that was enough. Plato says in the Republic we should expose young people to good literature if we want them to be virtuous. That’s why I decided to write them a poem about vanilla.
ODE TO VANILLA
One hot and summer day I walked along
The sidewalks of the city’s crowded streets,
A place I found where I could leave the throng,
an air-conditioned shop where they sold sweets.
Though cakes and candies were as in a dream,
Naught else did I desire but ice cream.
An effervescent lady named Priscilla
inquired of the flavors she might scoop.
Ebulliently I asked her for vanilla
and threw her carefree spirit for a loop.
With ashen face she gasped and dropped the cone:
“But no one eats vanilla all alone.”
“Some newer flavors offer we threescore,
Like cola berry and sweet cherry plum,
banana split or fudge marshmallow smore,
designéd each through process cumbersome
and tested to ensure true quality
with cutting edge ice cream technology.”
O vanilla! does not Priscilla know
this spice produced with labor most intense
by hand or bee found but in Mexico,
to yield a flavor pure at great expense.
I think with ice cream as with life, he’s right
who says the simple things give most delight.