Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Ice Cream Theory by Steff Deschenes

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This was a very unique book to read.  Who would have ever thunk of comparing people with ice cream.  Only a genuine ice cream lover, which is what the author claims to be.  This is the author's own thoughts and creativity.  Creative the author is in bringing people and ice cream together.  It is an original and one-of-a kind book.  Only a  psychologist and an author with a great imagination could dream up this Ice Cream Theory. Each chapter covers a person in the author's life, then an ice cream flavor the author has associated with this person and finally the ice cream is personified.  Only a devoted ice cream eater could personify ice cream.  Between each chapter the author has shared with the reader a quote that someone, sometime has made concerning ice cream.  This book is written in plain easy words.  No big long words that need to be defined.  The author tells you about the relationship with each person in plain terms and sometimes gives more information than I cared to know.  (example:  if she slept with the guy or not).  only thing I really didn't care to know about the relationship.  But I must say this book was a nice COOL, ReFreshing read; I could taste each flavor if Ice Cream as it was described. 
About the Book:

The Ice Cream Theory is ice-cream guru Steff Deschenes’s charming exploration of the parallels between human personalities and ice-cream flavors, a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the variety inherent in a well-lived life. The Theory was hatched when Deschenes was trying to make sense of her first heartbreak. In the midst of that grief, she realized that, in the same way humans have ice-cream preferences, humans have people preferences. Like ice cream flavors, social preferences shift based on age, experience, even mood. There are exotic flavors that one craves when feeling daring, comforting flavors to fall back on, flavors long-enjoyed that eventually wear out their welcome, and those unique flavors that require an acquired taste. Like people, no ice cream flavor is perfect every single time . . . and it is in this realization that the crux of Deschenes’s theory lies. Deschenes neatly brings together anecdotes from her own adventures with broader-reaching social commentary to help others recognize the wisdom and joy inherent in a beloved dessert. With its cheeky self-help slant, The Ice Cream Theory is an endearing and light-hearted addition to any bookshelf. It’s a must read for anyone bruised by life’s tough lessons and in need of a cheerful pick me up!
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Read the Excerpt!

“There are loads of different flavors of ice cream: Almond, Amaretto, Banana Nut, Black Raspberry, Blueberry, Bubblegum, Butter Crunch, Butter Pecan, Cake, Caramel, Cashew Turtle, Cheesecake, Cherry Chip, Cherry Vanilla, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Raspberry Truffle, Cinnamon, Coconut, Coffee, Cookie Dough, Cookies ‘n Cream, Cotton Candy, Dulce de Leche, Egg Nog, German Chocolate Cake, Ginger, Grapenut, Green Tea, Honeycomb, Irish Cream, Key Lime Pie, Lemon, Maple Nut, Orange Pineapple, Peach, Peanut Butter Cup, Peppermint, Piña Colada, Pistachio, Pumpkin, Rocky Road, Rum Raisin, S’more, Straccaitella, Strawberry, Sweet Cream, Teaberry, Toffee, Vanilla, White Chocolate. Just to name a few.
Nobody likes them all. Everyone I’ve ever met has eaten flavors that they couldn’t stand; flavors that they liked when they were younger and hated as adults, or hated when they were younger and loved when they were adults; flavors that they could eat all the time; flavors that they ate all the time and got sick of; flavors that they’ve never tried and haven’t had the opportunity to; flavors they’ve recommended to friends; flavors that are exotic and daring and out of the norm; flavors that are comfortable and common; flavors that they had only once because they could never find it again; flavors that they eat just because it’s there; flavors that remind them of a person, place, or time.
Because of this, to me, people are like ice cream flavors.
We get along with certain people because we have common ground with them, or they bring something new to our lives, or perhaps they balance us out. We don’t get along with certain people because we have no similarities. Or perhaps that one thing you can’t stand about yourself, you see in them.
People like or dislike certain ice cream flavors for one reason or another.
People like or dislike other people for one reason or another, too.
Once when I was at one of those ice cream parlors that make your ice cream treat on marble slats right in front of you, I had tiramisu ice cream with marshmallows and gummy bears.
Yes, it sounds disgusting. And, yes, it was disgusting.
But here’s the thing: someone, somewhere, adores tiramisu ice cream with marshmallows and gummy bears.
Just not me.
But, see, I had to try it. It seemed interesting; something new that I had never sampled before. I tried it, didn’t like it, and moved on. But I had to know what it was like because, if I didn’t, than I would have never known if I was missing out on something extraordinary.
You need to try different flavors to find out what it is you like and don’t like; what it is you don’t care if you never have again, or want to have more of immediately. If you never try any new flavors you don’t know what you could potentially be missing out on. If you stick to the same flavor over and over and over then how do you know there isn’t something better out there? Something unique to you and you alone?
I’ve tried lots of flavors of ice cream in my life, and I mean both literally and metaphorically.
I digress: many moons ago, my parents put me to the task of trying every flavor a certain ice cream company made. The prize? They would take me to this ice cream company’s factory. Understand that at the time, this company was putting out roughly thirty-six different flavors of ice cream.
That meant thirty-six different pints of ice cream.
Or one thousand one hundred-twenty tablespoonfuls.
I gained ten pounds.
I was so proud of those ten pounds, though. Who else in my world could say that they had tried every current flavor of that company’s ice cream? I strutted down the halls of the ice cream factory knowing that I had achieved a level of professional ice cream eating that no one else around me could touch.
I was invincible.
At the end of the tour, my parents bought me shirt to mark this momentous and historical moment in my life. Standing in front of the cashier, I confidently told the young college student ringing us up, “I tried every flavor your company makes.”
She looked down at me, grimaced, and said, “Wow. That’s absolutely disgusting.”
Crestfallen? Just a tad.
Regardless that my little bubble had burst and I had not gained the respect that I thought I deserved for my feat, I still got a t-shirt, ten extra pounds, and a very knowledgeable lesson in life and romance from my ice cream project.
It appeared that my ice cream experiment, at the time, paralleled my love life: I went through a lot of different flavors/boys, some that didn’t get more than a fraction of my attention, some that I thought I liked but made me nauseous in the end, some that I wish I could have had more of, and some that I learned to simply appreciate.
And thus the Ice Cream Theory was born.
I’ve stumbled over myself for years trying to explain exactly how the Ice Cream Theory works. Usually conversations about the Theory go something like this:
Me: “I’m writing a book.”
Them: “What’re you writing a book on?”
Me: “Ice cream.”
Them: *enormous awkward pause* “Oh.”
Me: “Yeah.”
Them: “Like how it’s made?”
Me: “No. Not really.”
Them: “Oh, then the history of it?”
Me: “Nope. Not so much.”
Them: “Oh.”
Me: “It’s hard to explain, but, basically, I feel like everyone in my life is comparable to a flavor of ice cream that I love or have loved. And so, I don’t know, it’s sorta one part social commentary, one part satirical commentary on personality traits in comparison to ice cream. Which, I hope, explains why there are some people we get on with so well, and why there are some people we could just do without.”
And then, every single time, the next thing out of that person’s mouth is: “Oh! What flavor am I?!”
And, every single time, I have to tell that person, “Well, I wouldn’t know, would I? I just met you—I don’t know you well enough yet. We’d have to hang out some.”
“Oh,” they dejectedly say. “Well, then, what flavor are you?”
“Well,” I begin to patiently explain, “that would be different from person to person, wouldn’t it be? What I am or would be to an ex-flame wouldn’t be the same to, say, my mom. So while to one person I could be a hearty, faithful friend like a good, solid chocolate ice cream, to others I could be fickle and flighty like, I don’t know, cherry vanilla.”
And that, friend, is the best way I can explain it.
There are three basic types of ice cream: vanilla, chocolate, and all the other flavors that aren’t one of those two.
What happens if you leave a carton of Neapolitan ice cream (that vanilla-chocolate-strawberry trio) sitting out? After it melts the only color left in the cardboard container is brown from the chocolate. There is no hidden metaphor here or secret meaning, it’s just simple science. After a while, chocolate and vanilla (or strawberry) cannot cohabitate successfully, without chocolate taking over.
Now metaphorically: because of that, people who represent chocolate ice cream can never be with people who represent vanilla ice cream long term. And vice versa.
At least not successfully.
So, in this Theory, just as it is traditionally in Neapolitan ice cream, there are three flavors that everyone falls under; you’re either: a chocolate person, a vanilla person, or anything that’s not one of those two.
Everybody plays a different role in everyone else’s life. People who I love have been people my friends couldn’t stand. As previously mentioned, the boys I’ve been on dates with are probably going to see me a little differently than my parents see me. As it is with the Theory. I like chocolate more than I like vanilla. I find chocolate to be comforting and sincere, while I find vanilla to be mainstream and too straightforward. The people I love or get along with the best generally tend to be comforting and sincere, like how I feel about chocolate. Whereas the people I’ve butted heads with over the years have been very conservative and no-nonsense folks, like, in my opinion, vanilla.
Anyway, what I consider characteristics of a “chocolate” type of person may be different than what you consider. Maybe you hate chocolate, maybe you think it’s too overbearing. Maybe you like the honesty of a simple vanilla.
It’s all speculation according to your own life, your own trials and tribulations, your own personal experiences.
Again, this Ice Cream Theory is just a platform. Take it and run with it, by all means.
Each Ice Cream Theory chapter represents a person from my life that has a very distinct flavor. Perhaps you’ll see, or draw, some parallels for people in your own life.
The Theory is broken down in three different storytelling parts: by the ice cream, by the person, and then, according to me, how the two are alike. You should be able to draw parallels on your own just fine; I trust you’re smartish, but I have laid it out as uncomplicated as I could just in case. Less for you, I think, and more for my own hard head and heart to be reminded of anyway.
As much as it may seem like it, this book is not about me. It’s about the people in my world. It’s about them as individuals, their important roles in my life, and how I’ve been affected and shaped as a person as a result of it.
Not everyone in my life got a chapter. Sometimes the best stories of life and of growing up and of self-discovery don’t make good stories to recount for whatever reason, and thus have their place safely tucked away in one’s heart. Some of the absolute closest people to me don’t have chapters. I have flavors for them, sure, but nothing I could say would or could ever justify their importance in my life.
I’ll make it up to them by taking them out for ice cream.”

About the Author: 
Despite a failed attempt at majoring in ice cream in college, Steff Deschenes is a self-taught ice-cream guru. After publishing the now twelve-time award-winning The Ice Cream Theory, she began exploring food on a more universal level. As a result, she now photo blogs daily herself at dinner and the challenges of being a vegetarian in a predominantly seafood-oriented state. Steff also writes two articles a week entitled “Maybe It’s Me” (personal essays and reflection on life and the living of it) and “Fact Is Better” (real life conversations she couldn’t make up if she tried); all of which can be found at You can also visit her at

Read an author interview with Pump up Your Books here.

A copy of this book was provided for review by Virtual Book tours


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