Haagen-Dazs has a new line of simple ice creams that consist of five main ingredients.
This got my interest to say the least... so I made my way to the grocery store for a bit of a treat. Now, I love brown sugar. It happens to be my favorite sweet flavor in all the world. Brown sugar is something that takes me back to my childhood and two important things.
My family is not a particularly successful story of love and marriage. My parents, god bless them, are great people. They just aren't great people together. Growing up, I have very few happy moments I can think of that we all shared.... there were not moments of us gathered round the fire making s'mores or taking beach holidays and building sand castles in the sun. A successful family outing for us usually consisted of a double-feature movie. Movies worked well for us as it was a key time that absolutely demanded that we not speak, which made the fact that my parents didn't really talk less noticeable, or at least that was the logic.
At this point you are probably wondering how brown sugar fits into this... I am getting there. Don't worry. ;)
As a kid growing up... my dad made the best oatmeal in the world and my mom made the best oatmeal cookies in the world. In both cases, the secret ingredient that made these simple treats so tasty was --- drum roll -- BROWN SUGAR!
Both of my parents used this simple little wonder to dress up oatmeal. My dad was often away on business and, by extended benefit, away from my mother... so oatmeal was a special weekend breakfast treat. I remember running down the hall very vividly in my feety pajamas through the living room, rounding the corner through to pony up to the kitchen table to get my oatmeal fresh off the stove. A funny side story to this... there was a large antique wooden hutch in the hallway that I would pass on my run to the kitchen. When I was 3 and a half or 4 years old, my dad had to sand down the edges that extended from the top of the hutch because they were right at the perfect height for my head and in my walk up and run straight to my bowl of oatmeal, I would end up catching my right temple on the corner and it would send me rocketing backwards... only to get back up, wipe the tears away and care on for my oatmeal. I guess it never occurred to them to simply move the hutch... or for that matter, it never occurred to me to just not run for my breakfast.
Now the oatmeal cookies... they never happened in the morning. My mom wash a working mother, so these only came out for special occasions. They used to be placed in a very special cookie jar that we had, it was called "The Pig" and it looked exactly like a pig. I used to have to ask nicely to have a cookie. "Mother, may I please get a cookie from The Pig?" I remember the smell more than anything because The Pig was airtight, at least in my mind, and when you would open it up to reach inside for a cookie... the smell of brown sugar would, well, seem like it was just swallowing you whole.
As I said, I don't have a lot of fond memories of my family and my childhood in that sense... but brown sugar is one thing that does tether me to some happy times.
And this is how we get to Haagen-Dazs you see... I picked up this little pint of Brown Sugar ice cream and I have to tell you it was, quite simply, perfect. All I could think of was the ridiculous little here and there growing up stories of bowls of oatmeal and oatmeal cookies and a family, not picture perfect by any means, but mine nonetheless.
Recently, I made oatmeal cookies -- I used my mom's recipe and I served it for dessert with just a single scoop of brown sugar ice cream. My friends all smiled that same smile I did when I was a kid.
Who would have thought... all this from a little bit of brown sugar and a stupid pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream.