Ice Cream and the Freshman 15

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" This was the Greenwood family chant every time we needed a cold hit of creamy goodness. Even mom, the health nut, would play along and down we'd go to grab a half gallon of our favorite low-fat flavor, Cappuccino Chocolate Chunk. That flavor was like crack to my family, I swear. We didn't even pull out bowls; we'd just hover around the carton taking turns digging out huge spoonfuls. Ice cream was always a staple in my life, basically one of the main food groups actually if you take into account how many chocolate and butterscotch chip ice cream balls I ate on my 8th birthday (I had banned birthday cakes years earlier).

However insane our ice cream ritual may sound, it only happened a few times a month. It wasn't until I went to college that I decided to take my ice cream devotion to the next level. I arrived at Lewis and Clark college, a wide-eyed freshman looking for a good education and great-looking boys (I believe honesty is the best policy). The education certainly was fantastic with the statistic of 12 students to every professor; however, the "boy" situation left much to be desired. Firstly, out of 3,500 students over 2,000 were female. I knew this stat before I enrolled but it didn't quite hit home until I saw it with my own eyes. Every one of my classes brimmed over with girls and then, if you looked hard enough, you could see a few boys peppered among the ladies. And these boys were prized possessions, let me tell you. Whether cute or not (and most of them were NOT), to get a man at Lewis and Clark was quite a feat. Boys I would have never even acknowledged in high school soon became attractive...very attractive.

So after getting over my initial shock of NO MEN, I decided to channel my collegiate sexual angst into more productive avenues. I took an African drumming class, joined the school dance troupe and began eating an inhuman amount of ice cream. I ate it in the morning, I ate it in the evening, I ate it twice a day without batting an eye. I easily justified my copious consumption with the fact that I also ate salad twice a day. "They totally cancel each other out," I surmised.

The Lewis and Clark cafeteria, ironically named "The Bone", always had a well-stocked ice cream bar. Now, I'm not talking about lame Souplantation all-you-can eat soft serve. It was more like being behind the case at a Baskin Robbins. Legend has it the long-time wish of a wealthy alumni was to always have ice cream available to the sugar-bereft student body and that his ample donations could go to nothing else. TAKE THAT, Women's Studies department! I honestly praised that man every time I wrapped my lips around a scoop of Maple Walnut sunk deep in a sugar cone.

Then came Thanksgiving.

I hadn't been home in almost 3 months and was excited to see my family. My grandmother soon arrived and made her usual grand entrance. "Jamie, darling, come here," she cooed. I kissed her lovingly on the cheek and then stepped back for her to greet my other siblings. As she brushed passed me to enter the kitchen, I felt a little tap-tap on my tush. "Someone's put on a little weight, haven't they?" I could have died at that very moment. Yes, I had been eating ice cream like a child at a church social, yes I had poured myself into my "skinny" jeans, and YES I had substituted food for the lovin' I was supposed to get as a new collegiate. But these facts didn't make her remark hurt any less. I walked into the kitchen, the emotional wind having been knocked out of me, and looked at my grandmother. She was completely oblivious of what she had said. Completely unaware of the impact of her words. I ate very little dinner that night and excused myself early to go to bed. I went back to school the next week and, upon arrival, said goodbye to the ice cream bar. I said goodbye to my beloved Maple Walnut, the only lover I had ever known. I never again indulged in the ice cream of Lewis and Clark and instead, begrudging, turned my sites to another lover...the gym.

Sweet Potato Fries

I know you were hoping for an ice cream recipe, but alas, I don't have one. Rather, this is a recipe that will help knock out those pesky sugar cravings. These fries are a great snack or accompaniment to any summer BBQ. And of course, you can have organic ice cream for dessert. (I found you a few good recipes here and here!)

2 large Japanese sweet potatoes, washed 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil sea salt to taste 1/2 teaspoon turmeric or curry powder (optional)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes into 1/4-1/2 inch thick strips, similar to steak fries. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and mix with olive oil, salt, and the optional spices. Lay the potatoes in a cookie sheet, making sure they do not touch each other. Bake for 25 minutes, stir once, and then bake for another 15-20 minutes. Fries should be golden brown and crispy. Enjoy!

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