Bing!


bing cherries
Photo: USDA Agricultural
Research Service / Peggy Greb


My grandfather doesn't get excited about food much anymore, and if he does he's usually soon disappointed. And while my grandmother points out anytime a meal is underwhelming that she doesn't live to eat, but eats to live, I can't help but recall how we kids used to get awakened practically every morning during a visit to their condo in Florida with, "You'd better get up if you want some good sun! Where would you like to have dinner tonight?"

Dinner usually involved trying to make an early-bird special if the restaurant was anything even approximating fine dining. They might fit a stereotype, but as far as I'm concerned if you grew up struggling through the Great Depression, have made a comfortable living, and can mingle your enjoyments of a good meal, a good deal, and family, you're more than entitled to that satisfaction.

Grandmom does love her ice cream, and always has. At nearly 93 she still enjoys a big bowl of it almost every night, and she's had the same svelte figure since before I was born. Her favorite flavors are a scoop of chocolate — ideally Breyer's or, once upon a time, Philadelphia's native Bassetts — with coffee, strawberry, orange ice, or butter pecan. Grandpop isn't an ice-cream maven, but he's fond of bing cherry, named, I have just discovered, after the Chinese-American horticulturalist Ah Bing. (He also used to take a bowl of ice cream, slightly melted, crush graham crackers in it, and then empty a can of Snack Pack chocolate pudding on top, swirling it all around into a dessert smorgasbord. A desire to manage his diabetes has cut that practice down to not anymore.)

So last night we were deciding on dessert and to Grandpop's delight the ice-cream selections included bing cherry. Grandmom doesn't see very well, colors especially, and had thought our beige tablecloth was pink, so it wasn't much of a surprise that she thought Grandpop's pink ice cream was, well, beige. I hadn't heard him order for some reason, so I told Grandmom that, no, our ice cream, butter pecan with a particularly yummy maple flavor, was beige; his was pink and so probably strawberry or cherry. Grandpop scooped up a chunk of cherry in his spoon and said, "It's bing cherry. With lots of bing!"

I love you, Grandpop.


Kindred Posts: Leon Saner 1914-2011; Pop 100

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