I’ve always loved root beer, ever since I can remember. There is something about that root-y, anise-y, licorice-y taste that is so heavenly, that causes me to think back to those warm and balmy Savannah summer twilights, the sun dipping below the horizon, bathing the world in an orange-purple glow, the fireflies winking into the evening. I think of lying flat on my back on the top of my parents’ lime-green Dodge station wagon with my father and my brothers next to me, staring up at the sky. My Dad is quizzing us in Chinese, asking us to make sentences up with certain Chinese idioms or phrases; my brothers and I are sucking on popsicles and sucking down root beers.
When I got my Aromatherapy certification, they taught us that certain flavors and smells can hold emotional memories, harkening back to times in our lives that contained emotional significance. I felt happy, loved, and carefree during those summer evenings, and so I associate root beer and its unique taste with those emotions.
So, a couple nights ago this week, I looked at my husband and said, “I feel like a root beer float.” He immediately agreed, and we went to Cost Plus World Market to get Dad’s Root Beer and then I sent him to the grocery store for French Vanilla ice cream. Like most disobedient men, he returned with Neapolitan ice cream instead. I groaned when I saw this: “Why can’t you just follow instructions and get FRENCH VANILLA?!” This ruined our initial foray into homemade floats – note to the world: chocolate ice cream and root beer just do NOT mix. (Funny aside: my mother-in-law tells me last night, “I’m not like you, I’m not so picky. I can eat a root beer float with Neapolitan ice cream.” After she tried it, however, she ate her words. “That was not good,” she pronounced, “I have to agree.”)
Today, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I went to Whole Foods and came back with Virgil’s Root Beer and Breyer’s French Vanilla ice cream. Mmm mmm good – the French vanilla ice cream with its richer, eggier texture, coupled with the awesome flavors in Virgil’s Root Beer (nutmeg, anise, and wintergreen, just to name a few), was a taste of paradise. 2 scoops of the ice cream, topped up with root beer … wow, I was transported right back to those Georgia summer nights again…even my mother-in-law agrees.