Sometimes, I feel like I come from another planet.
In 1969, when my family moved to South Jersey from Central Jersey, some things were so different that we felt like we were speaking another language. It was crazy because we had just moved an hour south! But the truth was that all our new neighbors had come from Philadelphia, and all our old neighbors, like us, had come from Brooklyn, New York.
BIG difference. Huge.
For instance, we ate Hero Sandwiches–Heroes for short– and they eat Hoagies. We call a towel a TOW-ell; they say “tal” like “gal.” They say “greeze” while we say “grease.” And when they color, they use “crowns” rather than CRAY-ons.
They go “down the shore” but we always just went to the beach. They root for the Phillies and Eagles, while we are Mets and Giants fans.
Of course, there were other, more important differences in the ways we spoke and thought, but tonight–43 years later–it happened again: I was the only one of five people out for a late night snack, who knew what the hell I was talking about. The others thought I was crazy, but I’m here to set them straight, once and for all. Like a Boss.
So here you go– THIS is an ICE CREAM SODA:
It is made with chocolate syrup (not “surrup” like the Philly-South Jerseyans say, but “sear-up”) and seltzer: that makes the chocolate soda. Add a dollop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry and you have the standard Black and White Ice Cream Soda. You can also make a vanilla or coffee soda the same way, and although the ice cream is usually vanilla, you can add any kind you want, really. That part’s flexible.
A FLOAT is made with actual soda, like root beer or coke. It’s best to put some ice cream in the glass first, then slowly pour the soda over it, as it tends to bubble up alot. It does not normally get topped with whipped cream or a cherry.
Now, going a little further, no one in South Jersey had ever heard of an Egg Cream before The Silver Diner opened across from the Cherry Hill Mall. I used to go get Egg Creams with my Nana in Brooklyn and it remains my favorite drink (except for Cafe Mochas, I guess, which I’ve been drinking for about 20 years and I blame for at least 30 pounds of excess weight, but I digress).
An Egg Cream, as has been explained often, contains neither eggs nor cream but is actually just a chocolate soda made with U-Bets chocolate syrup, a little milk, and seltzer–out of the fountain is better. In fact, I guess that’s where the term fountain soda came from, though they probably never heard of fountain sodas down here either. Who knows?
So, for the waitress who was all of 16 years old and looked at me like I was crazy; for my friend Krista who posted about it on facebook; for the other two ladies at the table who had not known the difference–here ya go. You may never have known the difference between an ice cream soda and an ice cream float, but now you do! And of course, perhaps the more important point is that you cannot go wrong: whether soda or float, chocolate or vanilla, sundae or frappe, it’s alllll good. Enjoy 🙂