Ben and Jerry’s has always been high on my list of socially aware companies making good products from good ingredients to fill the high-munchy needs of the consumer market for something sweet and cold and creamy world-wide. I’ve always been proud of the light counter-cultural echo I heard in their manufacturing, marketing and distribution. Besides, I’m from Wisconsin and what’s not to love about dairy products? Besides goat cheese, I mean….
But I’m writing to reassure Niek that this isn’t some kind of blog campaign touting a favorite brand.
To tell the absolute truth, Ben and Jerry’s reminds me a lot of Rob Reiner. Rob had a lot of advantages growing up absurd in America. Reiner’s dad was a truly funny guy and Rob was an earnest student of show business, and found a place putting out mildly funny, upbeat, somewhat socially aware (but always smelling of capital and oppression) bits of fluffy cotton candy yearning to be flambÃ©. If you get the butterfat right and the sugar content and the temperature for the mix, it’s hard to fuck-up ice cream.
Consider Rob Reiner. Hard work, the right connections, a commitment to show biz, liberal sensitivity… hard to screw that up too…. sort of the Cherry Garcia of show biz when you think about it, and contemporaneous with the Ben and Jerry Cinderella story.
I don’t dislike Ben and Jerry’s. How could I? I have NEVER purchased any of their products. Between Shattuck in Berkeley (Edy’s) and Grand Avenue in Oakland (Dreyer’s) I never felt a need to shop for an out of town brand during my peak ice cream eating years. I did watch that Rob Reiner movie, you know the one, earnest liberal kid with delusions of sixties seeks only to help humnity find world peace and has a rollicking time with a fun loving free love artiste not too many years his junior but quite blonde and zaftig.
Yet strange synchronicity is afoot reminding me of that quasi-affinity of mine for B&J’s. Consider the highly unlikely stroke of fate that put me on a Welsh bog snorkeling page (a contest sponsored by Ben and Jerry’s) at the same time that Niek was winning a pint or so of American blend.
According to the Wikipedia,
In 1987, ice cream manufacturers Ben and Jerry named one of their flavors Cherry Garcia after this musician. Since then, it has become the most popular of the Ben and Jerry’s flavors. For a month after Garcia’s death, the ice cream was made with black cherries as a way of mourning.
This little detail, the black cherries, makes me respect those boys from Vermont and their product, even if I have never bought it. A marketing model that sells anything more elaborate than tie-dyed t-shirts and sand cast candles to the deadhead crowd is hopelessly elaborate. I myself stand testimony to that fact.
Also, I like HÃ¤agen-Dazs, but like I said… it’s hard to make bad ice cream.