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Living Out A Childhood Dream: Researching Ice Cream Across America

For all the time Lake Effect has spent researching and producing content about creamy, frozen dairy desserts (here&here), we were put to shame by the amount of time writer Amy Ettinger has spent.

She went in search of the state of ice cream in the 21st century, and the result is her new book, Sweet Spot: An Ice Cream Binge Across America.

Ettinger’s journey began where a lot of our childhoods left us: in love with ice cream. “This me always loved ice cream in this country, but it seems like we’re in a boom. So, I went out and started talking to the people who are making it," she explains.

While Milwaukeeans will quickly correct anyone who refers to custard as ice cream, Ettinger did make a stop here on her ice cream trail. Her reasoning probably resides in all of us: “You really have to go to the frozen custard stand to enjoy the frozen custard. You can’t just go to the grocery store and pick out a pint of frozen custard and have it be the same as frozen custard you would get at Leon’s or Kopps.”

READ: Why You Should Eat Your Ice Cream (or Frozen Custard) Right Away

Even though we know ice cream and custard are two different things, Ettinger actually knows why: “There’s a difference in the amount of egg that’s used. There’s a different standard for the custard versus the ice cream. It’s a denser, more delicious cousin to ice cream.”

Her journey across the country studying ice cream may be a real-life childhood fantasy playing out, but really, Ettinger says, her journey changed her: “I have become, as I write in my book, a bit of an ice cream snob in the sense that I am now seeking out these very original flavors or at least ice cream that’s created in a really original way. I went to Seattle and had this ice cream that was made from Jersey Cows and to Petaluma, CA where I had ice cream that was made from water buffalo."