All photos by Julian Master. This article originally appeared on VICE US
Hello VICE readers,
My name is Nicholas Gazin and I am VICE's art editor, but I've also become VICE's frozen food critic. Each week I focus on a different type of frozen food and review several examples of that edible product.
This week's column is a little different than the previous frozen food columns I've written because I fought tooth and nail to not have to do it.
"Go find a Mister Softee truck and review all the different flavors of ice cream," my pudgy, spoiled editor instructed me. "But Mister Softee only has two flavors of ice cream and they taste the same," I mumbled while cowering and deflecting the things he threw at me. "This is what I want! Do it!" the awful man said.
Later, he insisted that Mister Softee trucks were as plentiful in Williamsburg as yellow cabs despite Doc, the man who runs the Mister Softee depot in Brooklyn, telling me that they don't have any trucks in north Brooklyn.
My friend Logan told me that there was a Mister Softee truck he would patronize as a youth where asking for "double sprinkles" meant that the ice cream man would drop a dime bag into the bottom of the cone and then fill it up with ice cream. Occasionally, this same ice cream man would have Logan sell ice cream while he went to the back of the truck so he and his girlfriend could fuck. I know that might be a little bit of a digression, but I just thought it was neat.
A photographer from VICE came to my house and we set out to seek a thing I knew wasn't there to write reviews of two ice cream flavors that both taste like sugar and milk. After wandering for hours, we just set up camp at the Best Ice Cream truck, not a Mister Softee, on Kent Avenue and North 7th in Williamsburg. And then I ate everything.
A Cherry Merlin is a single cone with a red waxy cherry candy shell on top of the ice cream spire. The red shell tasted like a candle. The ice cream tasted like cold sugar and milk. The sprinkles tasted like sugar. The cone tasted like sugar. It's really good.
The Choco Merlin tasted exactly like the Cherry Merlin. The wax crust being brown didn't make it taste any different.
The misspelled ice cream cone has a half-and-half thing going on like Two Face. It made me think of those "get you a man who does both" memes, except that both sides tasted the same. The sweetness hurt my teeth and it melted onto my hands. We were recording this, and at this point I said aloud, "I'm not having fun anymore."
The Cookies Crash is a little more interesting because it's got cookies. I told the photographer that when I was little it was my fantasy to eat all of the ice cream and I would sneak out of my crib before I could walk and climb onto the kitchen counter near the refrigerator to steal ice cream. I would have to use all of my toddler strength to swing the freezer door open as hard as I could, and one time I swung out with it. My parents heard me screaming "Heeeeeelp!" and came out to find me hanging onto the freezer door handle for dear life.
The cone with the peanuts tasted like the previous ice creams. The peanuts flavor and texture was barely perceptible. All I could taste was the cold and the sweetness.
Double Choco Merlin
This was just more of the same. It all tastes the same.
Double Cherry Merlin
This was also no different than the previous four things I ate, but there was double of it.
Double Cherry Dip
What's to say? I hated eating this. It was humiliating. I didn't like it.
Double Choco Dip
I think that VICE asked me to do this as some sort of punishment because they don't like my sarcastic and sometimes-mean sense of humor. I can't imagine anyone thought this was a good idea or actually took a second to imagine what the final outcome would be. Either that or my editor has never eaten ice cream, which seems wholly possible. I think he sleeps in a broom closet standing up.
It tasted the same as the rest of the stuff.
By this time I was pretty sick of everything and didn't care what happened next. My editors had set out to humiliate me and make me physically ill. In an effort to get it over with, I smeared ice cream on my face since I assumed that was what was called for and would end this assignment.
I bought a Banana Boat as my final ice cream and ate a few bites before dunking my face in it and pouring it onto my clothes. I finished eating most of it while lying in a gutter because I couldn't think of how to make this story interesting. Then we set the Banana Boat adrift in the East River. As I walked home glazed in ice cream, with ice cream also filling my sinus cavities, I thought about how every moment of my life had led up to this one.