The ice-cream season is finally upon us—-well, not that cream and milk have a season, but you get the drift—-and I’ve already indulged in some scoops in the past week or so. One of my neighborhood outlets is Summer Delights, a kitschy, Elvis-centric parlor in Takoma Park that serves up standard scoops as well as funky handmade flavors such as vanilla tinted pink with Red Hots. It’s a scorcher of an ice cream, which is not a contradiction in terms. You’ll see when you try it.

But here’s what I want to talk about: My pet peeves about ice-cream parlors, from Summer Delights to Baskin-Robbins. In no particular order:

  • When ordering a “single scoop” gets you one lonely ball of ice cream unceremoniously dumped onto a sugar cone. It should be two scoops, one smaller one that conforms to the confines of your cone, and a larger one that is actually your “single scoop.” Baskin-Robbins is a particular offender in this category, the corporate cheapskates.
  • Servers who don’t wash their scoops thoroughly between customers. Sticking a scoop into a water bath is not enough. I really hate tasting someone else’s sticky-sweet bubble-gum ice cream when all I want is chocolate-chip cookie dough. (A related problem are servers who, when packing a cone, allow ice cream from one carton to fall into the ice cream from another carton; pick that stuff out of there, folks!)
  • Ice cream that has developed crystals. Whatever the reason is for the crystals, I don’t care. I just don’t want to taste mostly ice water when I’m expecting a creamy, fatty treat.
  • I know Americans feel this need to amuse themselves every waking moment, even during TV timeouts at basketball games. But I don’t need anyone, ever, to sing me a song while putting together my cone. Hear me, Cold Stone Creamery?

What are your beefs about ice cream parlors?

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