Last week, a war broke out in the Misc office. The conflict started with an unprovoked attack on rum raisin ice cream by Senior Editor Monika Sweeney. In her article, “The Scoop”, she rallied an army of rum raisin haters with the slanderous line, “Start scooping before the Deece runs out of mint chocolate chip ice cream again and tries to pass off rum raisin as an acceptable ice cream option.” This declaration of war appeared in last week’s issue despite the protest of many rum raisin defense groups. In the office, my initial defense of the flavor was met with general derision. I, however, will not stand for the debasement of such a historical, culturally-rich ice cream flavor. Thus, even if I am alone in this fight, I write as rum raisin’s noble defender.
Okay, first things first, my humanitarian-defense-aid to rum raisin ice cream is only done out of pity for the flavor. Basically, it is by no means my favorite flavor. Listen, I’m not crazy, I’d take coffee, mint, cookie dough and even plain chocolate over rum raisin. Nonetheless, don’t let those lifeless raisins hear me, I still think they are at least worthy of the title “acceptable ice cream flavor.”
Rum raisin is a bit antiquated––I’ll admit that. It sounds like something a hilariously old person would be eating or the kind of ice cream you’d find at a terribly understaffed and underfunded retirement center. It sounds like the flavor that only lives on in artisan ice cream shops that deck themselves out to look vintage while simply remaining expensive and mediocre. Basically, you don’t expect young, hip college students to be eating it at dinner. (Evening by saying the word “hip” I fear the rum raisin ice cream I had tonight for research purposes is kicking in and turning me into an old man).
But look around: college students can’t help mixing sweetness and booze! Look at you with your many fruit flavored seltzers, you with your Pink Whitney, you who uses Deece lemonade as a chaser! How can you, on one hand, incessantly mix sweet things into your alcohol while hating on rum raisin? “The Deece rum raisin doesn’t have alcohol in it,” you say. Well it should.
After conducting some espionage in the circles of those rum raisin haters, I have found out that the main issue people have with rum raisin is the raisins themselves. I get it, it’s weird to have a shriveled up grape suddenly appear in your mouth after you’ve mistaken it for a sweet chocolate chip. In many savory dishes, raisins appear—completely uninvited. Even in trail mix, in which they are a key balancing texture, raisins are the least popular ingredient. Raisins, it seems, just aren’t sexy. They’re meager, wrinkly and dry. Now I get why I associate them with old people…
But this is not fair! How come dried cranberries, dried mango, dried strawberries and all other dried fruit are considered tasty? No one hates dried mango for being the less vibrant version of the fruit, which, to be quite honest, I find mediocre. Before that starts another fight, let me distract you with the ingenious raisins ad done by California Raisins in 1986. In the commercial, four raisins with very suave hair sing and dance like rock stars to Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Raisins used to be sexy.
We, however, cannot dwell on the past. Raisins simply aren’t sexy anymore, I can’t change that. A raisin rebrand, then, means emphasizing that they are sophisticated. Rum raisin ice cream is for adults, sophisticated people who enjoy the flavor of a sophisticated booze, not simply cheap tequila or whatever is in a White Claw. Rum raisin is also for the intelligent, those of us who aren’t stupid enough to mistake a raisin for a chocolate chip. I’m not afraid of dried fruits, in fact we’ll all look like this raisin at some point. Also, fruit is good for you, so this ice cream is for my health, thank you very much.
So hail to rum raisin ice cream, the sophisticated choice for those who enjoy a respectful mixing of sweetness and alcohol. Most importantly, who’s with me for petitioning the Deece to serve alcoholic rum raisin?