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Glass Half Full
with Jessica Loftus, Ph.D.

Ice cream: Find a little happy this summer

Ice cream is the perennial warm-weather choice for this self-proclaimed “snackoisseur” and most children at heart. People especially crave it when the thermometer hits 90 degrees and the hot that beads of sweat run down your neck until your clothes stick to you.

Ice Cream Nostalgia

Who can forget the days when the ice cream truck roamed the neighborhood, playing children’s music and ringing its happy bell? It was hard to choose among the snow cones, ice cream sandwiches and other ice cream bars that the friendly vendor sold out of the back of his truck.

My earliest memory of tasting ice cream was when I was 3 years old after I had my tonsils removed. My parents served me the chilled treat because it was soothing for my healing throat. Vanilla flavor, it came in a small cup with a little wooden spoon. Smooth and creamy, it gave my aching throat a tasty bit of relief as I slowly swallowed it.

I also remember my dad heaping scoops of vanilla ice cream into tall glasses of root beer to make root beer floats for us kids. It was my all-time favorite ice cream confection, even better than ice cream sundaes with a cherry on top. I loved to see the chemical reaction of the ice cream foam up when it mixed with the ice-cold root beer. The foam always left a mustache on my upper lip. It was a rich and hearty liquid snack, and I always wanted seconds. Dad served it with a long spoon to scoop out the ice cream left in the bottom of the glass.

When I was 5, I begged my dad relentlessly to take me to see Walt Disney’s classic musical “Mary Poppins,” after which we went to a cozy ice cream parlor. Seated at a small, white cast-iron table in the pink and white confectionery, we savored hot fudge sundaes topped with whipped cream and a cherry. It proved a perfect ending to a wonderful evening.  I was charmed to be on a “date” with my dad.

Ice Cream Varieties

Cartons of ice cream never lasted long in our house when I was a kid. My mom most often brought home Neapolitan – chocolate, vanilla and strawberry – from the grocery store. Chocolate was my favorite of the three flavors, so my Dad and siblings always had to settle for the strawberry and vanilla sections.

A rare treat was a trip to the drive-in for a soft-serve ice cream cone. I liked it better than regular ice cream. The smooth frozen treat swirled out into the cone in curly-cue fashion. I always had to hold it with a paper napkin to prevent dripping ice cream from giving me sticky fingers.

Ice Cream is Still a Favorite

When I got my own place, I kept my freezer stocked with quarts of chocolate marble and rocky road ice cream. I also made sure to have plenty of ice cream sandwiches in stock.  The juxtaposition of the vanilla ice cream between two layers of chocolate cookie makes it a truly mouth-watering snack.

Today, my wife and I both enjoy ice cream bars as a tasty summer treat. We love the vanilla ice cream squares coated with a thin layer of chocolate, wrapped in icy-silver foil. Preferring the sugar-free variety, she says they are the perfect serving size.

Served in all sorts of ways, over many time frames and in plenty of places – from the back of the ice cream truck to the ice cream parlor and grocery store – ice cream is the quintessential snack in summer, winter, spring and fall.


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Ice cream: Find a little happy this summer

Jessica Loftus

Jessica Loftus has worked as a licensed clinical psychologist and national certified career counselor for more than 20 years. She currently offers counseling sessions via telehealth in Illinois. Her website,, outlines steps for making a career decision. details. See her retired blog, "Pet Ways to Ease Stress,"

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APA Reference
Loftus, J. (2020). Ice cream: Find a little happy this summer. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Jul 2020
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