The other night, as I prepared to spend an evening curled up on my couch watching the Olympics, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a pint of my favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor, "Stephen Colbert's AmeriCone Dream." The flavor is named in honor of The Colbert Report host and consists of vanilla ice cream with fudge covered waffle cone pieces and caramel swirl. It is stupendously delicious. On that particular evening, however, inspired perhaps by Lindsey Vonn's recent Olympic victory, I pushed aside Colbert's "AmeriCone Dream" and reached for a flavor new to the Ben & Jerry's flavor line-up: "Hanna Teter's Maple Blondie", named in honor of female champion snowboarder and recent 2010 Olympic silver medalist, Hannah Teter, who is also a Vermont native and a blond. What, I thought, could be better than watching the Olympics and cheering on female athletes while eating female athlete ice cream? Inspired by a sudden wave of female ice cream empowerment, I raced home as fast as an Olympian (or, at least an Olympian who eats a lot of Ben & Jerry's ice cream).
What makes "Maple Blondie" so significant is not just that it is named after an Olympian, but that it is the first Ben & Jerry's flavor EVER to be named after a female. After all those years spent consuming white male ice creams like "Cherry Garcia", Willie Nelson's "Country Peach Cobbler", "Phish Food", Elton John's "Yellow Brickle Road", the John Lennon-tribute flavor "Imagine Whirled Peace", my beloved Colbert flavor, and two (TWO!) Dave Matthew's flavors, I could finally eat an ice cream that honored an inspiring female. I had finally found a way to make gorging on ice cream into a Feminist act. I was in Heaven, until I took a bite of "Maple Blondie" and realized...it sucked.
The "blondie chunks" tasted like stale bread and were similar in consistency to Dr. Scholl's shoe insoles. I saw no evidence of any alleged "caramel swirl", and if there was ever any, it had probably gotten completely absorbed by the sickeningly sweet and overpowering maple flavor. Now, any good Ben & Jerry's connoisseur knows that even the worst Ben & Jerry's flavors are delicious because of two things: nuts and/or chocolate. Smothering anything disgusting in nuts or chocolate will at least make it edible and sometimes even delicious (I'm looking at you, "Chunky Monkey"). "Maple Blondie" is smothered in neither. It is just maple smothered in maple, smothered in maple. I have nothing against maple. Some people absolutely love maple. But NOBODY loves this much maple.
Now, I refuse blame young Hannah Teter for choosing such a bad flavor. As a young Olympic athlete with a busy schedule, I cannot imagine she spent years in the maple ice cream lab testing and developing maple combinations in the hopes of one day creating her own maple ice cream. I think she was probably too busy snowboarding and eating performance-enhancing protein bars. She may never have even tried "Maple Blondie".
I blame Ben & Jerry's and whatever group of stoned, rich white male jam-banders comes up with these flavor ideas. For such a seemingly progressive company, supporting everything from environmentalism and world peace to fair trade and gay rights (they even temporarily renamed Chubby Hubby "Hubby Hubby" in 2009 in support of same-sex marriage), it's unfortunate that, aside from this new addition of "Maple Blondie", the Ben & Jerry's ice cream line-up looks more white male supremacist than John Mayer's wiener.
No, I don't believe Ben & Jerry's is part of any diabolical plan against women, but I do think it's a shame that the very first and only female Ben & Jerry's flavor is a sh*t flavor and that "Maple Blondie" is yet another example of women getting the short end of the stick.
But don't worry, Ben, and calm down, Jerry. It is not too late to redeem yourselves with us womenfolk, who are, I might add, the biggest consumers of ice cream in the United States, so you should be listening to us, and not Dave Matthews or members of Phish, who, let's be honest, are probably so stoned they'd eat just about anything. If you want to get in good with the ladies, why don't you start honoring women the way you've been honoring men and name some flavors after famous women who have done more for environmentalism, world peace, fair trade and gay rights than any of the pasty-faced stoner guitarists who currently graze your ice cream cartons. How about "Helen Keller Krunch"? Or "Elean-Oreo Roosevelt"? "Sandra Day Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough' Conner"? "Gloria Steinem-berry Swirl"? "Toni S'More-isson"? "Hillary Rocky Road-ham Clinton"? "Joan of DArc Chocolate Chunk"? "Betty Friedan-Pecan"? Or maybe even "Arianna Huffing-nut Fudge"? Yummy!
The possibilities seem pretty endless, Ben & Jerry. So do all us ladies a favor, fellas, and get back in the kitchen.