By Staff Writers Zen Thumparkkul & Cindy Yuan
The Smoke Signal Editors Zen Thumparkkul and Cindy Yuan arrived at Ice Cubed Creamery on the morning of November 22 with their sleeves rolled up, ready to uncover the secrets of Thai-style rolled ice cream. After a short interview with the owner, John C., the two embarked on a journey to prepare and taste their very own rolled ice cream.
As a self-proclaimed ice cream enthusiast, I’ve spent countless hours on Facebook hopping from food video to food video. Inevitably, I’ve watched quite a few rolled ice cream demonstrations. I have an idea of what’s coming, and to be frank, rolling ice cream looks extremely intimidating. I hope that my background as a badminton athlete will translate into competent fine motor skills, but ultimately, I am bracing myself for failure.
As a frequent spectator of both live and online ice cream rolling demonstrations, I should feel more than ready heading into this challenge. With Thai blood coursing through my veins, failure is most definitely not an option. Alas, it is finally time to put to use the shelved-away strength I have accumulated as a junior high shot put record setter, the craftsmanship I have polished as an artist, and the endurance I have gained as a MSJ student. I only hope the ice cream will not melt away at my fiery determination!
When I poured the liquid mixture onto the machine, John said, “Now there’s no going back!” His words of encouragement sent me into panic mode and I blanked out. Luckily, I somehow remembered that I was supposed to be flipping the quickly-hardening mixture after a moment or two. Being right handed, I struggled to transition from a right-hand grip to a left-hand grip and ended up floundering with an uncoordinated left hand. The final step of rolling the ice cream turned out to require a lot of strength, but my athletic self was disappointingly useless as I struggled yet again.
Seeing someone as athletic as Cindy struggle to roll the ice cream, I could feel my calm melt away as I waited my turn. The ice cream batter, although soft and cooperative at first, quickly froze against the chilled metal surface. Despite my continuous efforts to loosen my mess of milk crystals, the cream stubbornly clung to the metal surface, forcing me into an endless cycle of scraping and churning. Relief flooded over me the moment John told me it was time to switch gears … until I realized the next step was rolling the ice cream, a task that proved to be the most challenging of all.
Although I was a mess while attempting to make this ice cream, it was a lot simpler than I initially expected. There wasn’t really a need to work at the speed of light as many viral videos had shown, and it felt rewarding to turn a cup of liquid into ice cream rolls. I definitely had not anticipated the upper body strength or level of ambidextrousness needed. I didn’t impress anyone while making it, but my end product of cookies and cream ice cream rolls turned out surprisingly neat and tasted delicious!
I must say that I surprised myself in the end with slightly uneven but decent-looking rolls of strawberry and pineapple ice cream. Given that I recreated a popular flavor combination John recommended himself, the taste of the ice cream was no doubt pleasing — a forgivable reward for the toil I endured. After happily slurping away my ice cream on a warm and comfortable seat, I can now say that going through the arduous yet exciting challenge of crafting the rolls was well worth the effort.
Ice Cubed Creamery is now open Monday to Friday 12.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 12.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m. at 39957 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539.
Video and Photos by Staff Writer Richard Chenyu Zhou & Graphics Editor Victor Zhou