Why pistachio ice cream, you ask? The answer is in the stores that used to be at the intersection of Paramount Boulevard and Florence Avenue in Downey, California. Our house at 7914 Baysinger Drive , where we lived before we moved to Peralta Hills, Anaheim, was one block away from this major intersection.
At the southwest corner was a liquor store, where my grandmother took us to buy candy. At the southeast corner was Sal’s Italian restaurant and delicatessen, where my parents bought an occasional pizza and every week, or so it seemed, bought Italian bread, cold cuts, and provolone. At the northeast corner was the Winchell’s donuts, a favorite Saturday morning destination. And at the northwest corner was a Sav-On drugstore, with an ice cream counter. On summer nights, my dad would say, “Let’s go for a walk,” and we’d end up at Sav-Ons for 5-cent ice cream cones.
I think I was in a rainbow sherbet phase when I read a book that described “white, brown, pink, and green” ice cream. I could figure out what the white, brown, and pink flavors were, but the idea of green ice cream baffled and intrigued me. I asked my dad what flavor green ice cream would be, and he said pistachio. This was in the day before mint-chocolate chip and green tea ice creams came into being or vogue, I guess, as there were no other green ice cream possibilities. Not knowing what a pistachio tasted like, I remained baffled and intrigued. My dad said the next time we would go to Sav-Ons, he would order me a pistachio ice cream cone so I could try it.
He did, and my green ice cream cone was nothing like I had ever tasted before. This was subtle, certainly a far cry from rainbow sherbet, and different. Perhaps at first I liked the idea of a different flavor more than the flavor itself, but I ordered it again, to test it out, give it another try, and again, and again, and pretty soon my dad considered it “my usual” and “my flavor.”
There’s an Italian gelato place in Old Pasadena, and their pistachio is white with green nuts. It’s probably a good thing we were dealing with ice cream dyed green instead of purist pale gelato, or else my quest for green ice cream might not have lead me to ultimately becoming a fan of the pistachio flavor. Most definitely I eat other flavors, too, but whether it’s gelato, Baskin-Robbins, or Haagen-Dazs from the grocery store, I inevitably return to pistachio.
Tonight I’m polishing off the rest of the pistachio ice cream container in recognition of today’s satisfying performance of our ward choir singing “For the Beauty of the Earth.” Satisfying because I love seeing the joy in the faces of our choir members as they sing. Satisfying because I am the recipient on the choir’s behalf of comments from ward members about how much they enjoy hearing our choir sing. And satisfying because I am grateful I am even with our choir, having feared last month that this chemo would have wiped me out of action and preparation for the ward Christmas Sacrament program.
We still have some work to do, but surely our December 19th program will merit more pistachio ice cream. Right, choir?