Recently, I have developed a ratio between the number of times I walk to school and the amount of ice cream cones I allow myself to buy that week.
The more I walk, the more ice cream cones I eat. It's probably fixed somewhere about 1:2 (1 being the walking of course), but I have alternate formulas for situations where I might walk twice in one day (it somehow gets me more ice cream). I think this revelation is going to replace the one all the textbooks use, about the little fish that cleans the big fish's teeth. Which is more appealing to you? Eating ice cream or whale plaque?
I don't know why it has taken me this long to develop the perfect symbiotic relationship. The dudes with their ice cream carts have been strolling around since I first moved here and I started walking between home and work not long after that. It may partly be due to my slowness to realize what a gem was being pushed along in front of me.
The first month or so that I lived here I tried to adhere to the "Things You Aren't Supposed to Eat in Mexico" rules. Then I remembered how boring and stupid rules are, unless it is a rule that is allowing me more of something instead of limiting something. I mean, I don't drink the tap water (neither do Mexicans for that matter), but who could really expect me to live here and not eat the cheese, the most delicious meats, and numerous fruits and vegetables? No way. I think I'd rather gets parasites. (Knock on wood that a future post isn't "So I Though I'd Rather Have Parasites. . . .")
I feel that ice cream was an odd carry over from my early, prudent days. I just kind of forgot I wasn't eating it much any more. (Don't ask how that happened--it boggles the mind). Don't worry, those days are far behind me.
My weekends spent in Oaxaca city always included a stop at these lovely neverias wedged between two churches. The ice cream is delicious, like the homemade ice cream we make at my parents in the summer, but with a larger and more exotic variety of flavors--queso, mezcal, pistache, melon, fresa, tuna (don't be disugsted, it is cactus fruit) it goes on and on. I sort of assumed, I don't know if it was because of the fanciful wrought iron chairs and umbrellas in creamy pastels, but somehow I became (only temporarily) one of those people that reserves a really good thing for a special occasion. Which is not an idea I support in the slightest. I must have been having some sort of identity crisis.
But then one fateful sunny day, all my foolhardiness came crashing down. I was hot and walking to work when I passed by an elderly man and a cart of frozen gold. I got a cone piled high with nuez (pecan) and limon (I'm not translating that for you) and this sweetest of all symbiotic relationships was born. It was every bit as delicious as the ice cream in Oaxaca and my dirt road to work was no less lovely than the curly metal tables.
Now you may be thinking, eating ice cream all the time in Mexico is all well and good, but I live somewhere where March is cold.
This is another foolish mindset that means one thing--less ice cream. Folks, I don't care if you are in a blizzard and your heater is broken, ice cream will still make everything better. Maybe you can create a symbiotic relationship of eating ice cream and scooping the driveway.
My family has used many delicious ice cream recipes over the years, but recently my sister discovered a fantastic one that uses cream cheese. It gives the ice cream a velvety texture and doesn't seem to melt as fast as other homemade varieties we've made, that turn soupy very quickly. I'm not sure if this is the exact one, but I have a lot of faith in Gourmet and their take on cream cheese ice cream. So if you don't see a wrinkled old man pushing a cart down your street, don't fret, just mix, freeze, and enjoy.