Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bleezer's Ice Cream

Bleezer's Ice Cream (from the album Leave Your Sleep; words by Jack Prelutsky)

I am Ebenezer Bleezer,
I run BLEEZER’S ICE-CREAM STORE,
there are flavors in my freezer
you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations
too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor,
try the flavors on my list:
COCOA MOCHA MACARONI
TAPIOCA SMOKED BOLONEY
CHECKERBERRY CHEDDAR CHEW
CHICKEN CHERRY HONEYDEW
TUTTI-FRUTTI STEWED TOMATO
TUNA TACO BAKED POTATO
LOBSTER LITCHI LIMA BEAN
MOZZARELLA MANGOSTEEN
ALMOND HAM MERINGUE SALAMI
YAM ANCHOVY PRUNE PASTRAMI
SASSAFRAS SOUVLAKI HASH
SUKIYAKI SUCCOTASH
BUTTER BRICKLE PEPPER PICKLE
POMEGRANATE PUMPERNICKEL
PEACH PIMENTO PIZZA PLUM
PEANUT PUMPKIN BUBBLEGUM
AVOCADO BRUSSELS SPROUT
PERIWINKLE SAUERKRAUT
BROCCOLI BANANA BLUSTER
CHOCOLATE CHOP SUEY CLUSTER
COTTON CANDY CARROT CUSTARD
CAULIFLOWER COLA MUSTARD
ONION DUMPLING DOUBLE DIP
TURNIP TRUFFLE TRIPLE FLIP
GARLIC GUMBO GRAVY GUAVA
LENTIL LEMON LIVER LAVA
ORANGE OLIVE BAGEL BEET
WATERMELON WAFFLE WHEAT
I am Ebenezer Bleezer,
I run BLEEZER’S ICE-CREAM STORE,
taste a flavor from my freezer,
you will surely ask for more.
twenty-eight divine creations
too delicious to resist,
come on, do yourself a favor,
try the flavors on my list.



Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air, is widely regarded as one of the greatest radio journalists of all-time. There are several reasons for this. First of all, she's extremely intelligent and it comes through in every carefully measured word she says. Her questions are well-thought out, but she's also flexible enough to go with the flow of the interview and ask meaningful questions on the fly. Her words and her tone of voice convey genuine interest in the people she is interviewing, be they actors, musicians, writers or politicians. She's tough but kind, calling people on the carpet and at the same time going out of her way to give her interviewees a chance to be as understood as they want to be.

In other words, she's the Natalie Merchant of Public Radio.

Needless to say, I quite admire her for all of the reasons stated above, but the thing I respect most about Terry Gross, and the thing that she is most renowned for, is the research she does in preparation for each interview. When you listen to her interviews, she leaves no doubt that she has listened to the album, seen the movie, or read the book of whomever she is interviewing. She has something to bring to the conversation. Even the most media-wary guests seem to warm up to her and even feel genuinely privileged to be on her show.

Well, friends, I am no Terry Gross. For one thing, I do not have a glass-smooth speaking voice. I usually fail to choose my words carefully. I have a difficult time balancing the tough and the gentle. And, of course, there is that little detail about how I have never interviewed anyone. Ever.

However...there is one thing that I can do like Terry Gross. I can research. I love research. And when one is presented with the task of reviewing the song Bleezer's Ice Cream, the only proper way to do research on the subject is to eat a lot of ice cream. Not just any ice cream, mind you. Bleezer's ice cream. I have to at least sample some of those 28 divine creations if I'm going to even attempt to get immersed in the song. Impossible, you say. Bleezer's Ice Cream is fictional; it doesn't really exist.

Or does it?

In the Mission district of San Francisco, California, you will find a rather nondescript building with a perpetual line of people waiting outside the entrance. The only clue as to what's inside is written on the awning outside: ice cream.



It's true. Bleezer's Ice Cream is not a real place. But I believe I found the next best thing: Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream. A quick perusal of the menu on the Humphry Slocombe website will reveal flavor combinations that will make your eyes bulge: Peanut Butter Curry, McEvoy Olive Oil, Golden Beet Saffron, Cucumber Ice Milk, Kumquat Poppy Seed, Cayenne Cantaloupe, Carrot Mango, Guinness Gingerbread, Foie Gras, Sweet Summer Corn, Strawberry Candied Jalapeno, Strawberry Black Olive, Sour Cream, Boccalone Prosciutto, Balsamic Caramel and of course, that childhood favorite - Government Cheese.

Are the flavors at Humphry Slocombe's as wild as those of Ebenezer Bleezer? Not quite, but I defy you to find anyone who comes closer. I love ice cream just as much as the next guy, but when I saw the Humphry Slocombe's menu, my intestines skipped a beat. I wanted to recoil, but then I thought of Terry Gross. Terry Gross would eat the ice cream and she would get the grossest possible flavors. So I sucked it up, figuratively and literally, and made a trip into the city.

The variety of flavors at Humphry Slocombe's is huge (what I listed above is just scratching the surface.) Every day a selection of 10-12 flavors are available. On the day I visited, some of the wilder flavors were unavailable, something I was both disappointed in and slightly grateful for. While some of the more tame flavors sounded quite delectable, I stuck to my plan. My companion and I ordered 6 small scoops between us and chose the strangest flavors available.



Here is what we ordered: Red Hot Banana (banana ice cream mixed with cinnamon candy), Secret Breakfast (bourbon ice cream mixed with Corn Flakes), Hibiscus Beet, Jesus Juice (red wine and cola flavors), Honey Thyme, and Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee.

The coffee flavor was the least exciting; although tasty it was pretty much like any other coffee ice cream I've ever had. The booze flavored ice creams nearly did me in. I don't drink and have never found the concept of alcohol-flavored anything to be particularly appealing. Secret Breakfast displeased me, but Jesus Juice, with its red wine and cola combo nearly made me spew. (For the record, my ice cream eating companion enjoyed both of these flavors thoroughly. But between you and me, I think he might have a drinking problem.)

The Honey Thyme ice cream was oddly appealing. While I never imagined that one day I'd be eating ice cream with fresh herbs in it, the flavor combination worked quite well. Even more enjoyable was the Red Hot Banana. I'm not a big fan of banana-flavored food, so it was a surprise that this turned out to be my favorite flavor of the day. Last but not least was Hibiscus Beet, the flavor that most sounded like it could've come off of Bleezer's menu. How can I describe Hibiscus Beet? Well, it wasn't bad. It was more...disturbing. There was a certain earthiness to it that made me feel as if I was eating ice cream scooped directly from the ground. (My companion really liked this one, too. An alcoholic and a dirt-eater.)

When it was all said and done I can tell you that eating ice cream at Humphry Slocombe's is quite a treat, a genuine experience unto itself. If you find yourself near San Francisco anytime soon, I recommend you make time for a visit. I definitely plan to go back again soon.

Anyone care for some Fetal Kitten soup?

Of course, this post wouldn't be complete (and Terry Gross certainly would not approve) if I didn't talk at least briefly about the song that inspired this little adventure. I love Bleezer's Ice Cream. It's impossible and unnecessary to say anything wordy about it. It's just fun, simple as that. To me, it's one of those songs that I just can't imagine anyone not loving. Basically, if you don't love Bleezer's Ice Cream, I am forced to question whether or not you really have the ability to love.

Regarding the transformation from poem to song, Natalie had this to say:

"(Bleezer's) got a happen' joint, so I took him down to New Orleans. It's just how I thought of him. (Jack Prelutsky) never envisioned Ebenezer this way, but he loved the song."*

(Jack Prelutsky has the ability to love.)

When it's all said and done, I have to say, eating ice cream is not a bad way to do research. I looked forward to it much more than the research I have planned for The Blind Men and the Elephant, for which I plan to both blindfold myself and then find an unsuspecting elephant to grope (what could possibly go wrong?) Don't even get me started on the moral and legal challenges of getting myself wrongly accused of murder when I start working on I'm Not the Man. A Blogger's work never ends.

Before I leave you this week, a question: If you had to eat one of Ebenezer Bleezer's ice cream flavors, which would you choose? I'm going with Watermelon Waffle Wheat or Peanut Pumpkin Bubblegum. Any takers for Lobster Litchi Lima Bean? Leave your comments below or e-mail me at nmcompendium@yahoo.com.

Thanks for reading and see you next week!

Download Bleezer's Ice Cream from Itunes - Bleezer's Ice-Cream - Leave Your Sleep

*Tampabay.com - August 2010

4 comments:

  1. Great post. I love Bleezer’s Ice Cream. I don’t see how anyone couldn’t love it. Hmmm, if I had to choose a flavor I think I would go with Garlic Gumbo Gravy Guava. I think it actually could be good.

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  2. David -

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post. It was so fun to write! As far as Garlic Gumbo Gravy Guava goes...after eating ice cream at Humphry Slocombe's, I think any combo has the potential to be tasty. You never know until you try!

    Thanks for reading!

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  3. I'd try the Cotton Candy Carrot Custard.

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  4. Anonymous -

    You are a far braver soul than I. Although that sounds better than Almond Ham Meringue Salami.

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