summer memories edition!
all loaded up and ready to take off... road trip!
When I was a little girl, every summer my family would go camping. My mom, dad, brother and I would pack up our old Toyota station wagon and drive 4-5 hours to "The Lair of the Bear," a campground for alumni of UC Berkeley (where both my parents went to university). Naturally, the camping was nothing but fun - but the drive was long and hot - straight through the arid Central Valley of California.
the notorious shenanigans of the back seat
I'm sure my brother and I were restless kids, bickering with each other and constantly asking "Are we there yet?" over and over from the back seat. For a kid - a four or five hour long drive may as well be an eternity. I remember some fun car games like "Mad Libs" and little activity books that we could play with - but I also remember lots of squabbling and whining about my brother violating "my side" of the back seat. Ha ha. We were sort of terrible. This horrible torture was joyfully interrupted by our much-anticipated annual stop at the A&W in Oakdale for lunch and a root beer float.
(In case you don't know, A&W is basically a fast-food burger chain, but their specialty is that they also offer root beer floats. Otherwise, it's just kinda burgers and fries - as far as I remember)
peace falls across the land at A&W
Nothing breaks the hot, air-conditionless misery of picking on your brother (and being picked on by your brother in return) like a stop at the A&W. At home, we never went out to A&W, and we never had root beer floats. It was only many years later that I realized there was actually an A&W in my hometown, quite close to our house - but we never went there once. But there in the desperate heat of summer, in the middle of a long drive - that lunch stop was a godsend for all of us.
Suddenly all the whining stopped. Together in the cool of the air-conditioned A&W, we all enjoyed our lunch and savored our rich, cool, creamy root beer floats.
It is quite possible that I have not had a root beer float since those days. I truly cannot remember the last time I had one. I had it in mind to make a root beer float for MoFo, so I bought a couple cans of root beer, had some soy vanilla ice cream on hand in the freezer... and was waiting for the right moment. Yesterday I was out doing errands - fussing and driving all over, and stuck in traffic, and getting hungry, and it was SO hot, and I was getting more and more uncomfortably hot as the errands wore on. When I finally got home, I found Mr VE&T in the middle of a crabby spell - and suddenly I knew what we both needed: A root beer float!
ice cream floating in root beer, surrounded by foamy fun
It was so fun! First you put in the scoop of ice cream, and then you pour the root beer over the ice cream. It gets super foamy right away! You have to pour slowly! Somehow the combo of ice cream + root beer was both familiar and surprising - since it had been so long. Together, the flavors really sparkle on your tongue and it's rich and refreshing and cool and creamy. It was also a total 100% sugar blast, which I'm not totally used to these days - so be warned. What fun it was to have this special treat again. Perhaps I won't wait 25 years until my next root beer float!