It’s easy to forget — or simply not think — about where our food comes from. The hands it goes through and the process it takes to go from scratch to finished product in our mouths.
In a health conscious society, we put our focuses a lot on the ingredients and backstory of our main meals, but what about our desserts?
In Sweet Spot by Amy Ettinger, prepare to learn more than you need to about ice cream, custard, froyo, gelato, and every other frozen treat in between.
History lessons may not be everyone’s favorite thing, but did you know about physical altercations between ice cream truck drivers over who gets what route? Or about the inner workings of the feud between Breyers and Dreyer’s? What about the rise of “artisanal ice cream” like Ben and Jerry’s and how that all came around?
That’s the highlight of Sweet Spot. Ice cream aficionados will be right at home learning all about pasteurization and how ice cream tastings work. General fans who don’t share the same obsession with ice cream can whet their tastebuds with the descriptions of the various ice cream processes. Readers who love food-related content won’t find a single thing wrong within this text.
Outside of some of the information, there’s also a hefty list of recipes for you to consider trying out for yourself. Not everything is just about straight ice cream, either. Amy went all-in, trying foie gras and buffalo milk and probably even tasting some things she didn’t want to share with us.
Each chapter takes us to a different part of the country and focuses on the frozen treat of choice in that particular region. Amy examines the societal impact of the desserts and how they shape and effect the consumers. From the off, Amy shares personal stories of her home life and the importance of ice cream to her. She takes that connection and implements it to all of the business owners she interviews throughout, and really fine tunes the ice cream making process to bring it all to life.
The only downside here?
You seriously need some ice cream to get you through it.
Honestly, I wanted to test my willpower going into this. I read just 100 pages a day for the 300 pages it lasted.
On day two, around page 150, I went out and bought a carton of Thrifty. It’s kind of good they didn’t have my favorite ice cream on deck — Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie — or else I’d have had to buy chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and sprinkles to make my own sundae. Alas, I simply settled with eating the Cookies ’n’ Cream right out of the tub.
The chapter where Amy discusses ice cream tasting is really the one that’s going to drive your salivary glands wild. It’s early on in the book, and I didn’t have my Thrifty ready, but I tasted ice cream for the rest of the day all the same.
Overall, this is a pretty solid book. Truth be told, there are some areas that seem a little extraneous and potentially unnecessary, but nothing that leaves a sour taste in the mouth or makes you feel like, “Okay, just move it along.” The book is well-paced, well-researched, and well-written. Her passion for the treat pops off of every page and satisfies every craving.
Just, really — make sure you have some ice cream for yourself when you sit down to give it a read.
You can get your own copy of Sweet Spot in the summer ice cream box.