The proper way to eat an ice cream cone


One more time: There is a proper way to eat an ice cream cone. I fear America has forgotten this.

Even the manufacturer of cones is guilty. I know this because my wife and I stopped on our travels last weekend, suddenly hungry for that greatest of childhood delights – an ice cream cone.

The cone, I am sorry to say, was poorly designed with a flat bottom. I couldn’t believe it. Why a flat bottom? Did they think we would want to set our ice cream cones down on the table after a few licks?  Maybe to take stock of where to lick next?

Worse yet, the cone itself was wrapped in paper. Seriously? To keep germs from our fingers from contaminating the cone perhaps? What’s next, hermetically sealing hot dogs in plastic to keep the mustard in place? Where is the outrage?

A proper ice cream cone is tapered from the top to a point at the bottom. And when I was a kid, we knew what that meant.

Dad would return to the car holding cones for each of us. The first step was to grasp the cone firmly and quickly lick along the base of the ice cream to catch the part that was already beginning to melt. It was important to keep the ice cream from running down the side of the cone.

The next step was to establish a licking cadence. Each kid judged for himself how rapidly to lick and twist the cone.

The third step was to combine tongue pressure while licking so as to gently force the ice cream down into the cone. If you were any kind of good at this, the ice cream would become level with the top of cone at the same time it reached the tip at the bottom.

Then came the best part. Gently, you raised the cone to your mouth and bit off the tip. Then as the melting ice cream oozed through the hole in the bottom of the cone, you gently sucked it out.

This, of course, made the cone soggy and led to what we used to call “the bottom nibble.” Slowly we would eat the rest of the cone from the bottom up.

I estimate that by the time any kid was eight years old, he could eat upward through cone and ice cream until with one final bite, it was gone. With practice we could eat the whole thing without getting a single drop on our clothes.

I’m sure you see where this is going. None of this is remotely possible with a flat bottomed cone wrapped in paper.


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