A Long Conversation About Custard

, , , | Working | November 11, 2017

(The following is a conversation that I may or may not have had a role in at a locally-owned “frozen custard” place which has a reputation for being a little snooty.)

Customer: “I’ll try some of the [unique flavor] ice cream.”

Employee: *getting the sample* “It’s actually frozen custard, not ice cream.”

Customer: *taking the sample* “Thanks. But it’s ice cream.”

Employee: “It’s not ice cream, though. Both use sugar, milk, and cream, but frozen custard also has egg yolks—”

Customer: “So, we eat it differently?”

Employee: “What?”

Customer: “So, this frozen custard is eaten differently than ice cream?”

Employee: *clearly not sure where this is going* “Well, I imagine most people eat both the same way.”

Customer: “Is it served differently? Does it necessitate different toppings?”

Employee: “Well, aside from having the additional ingredient of egg yolk, we also have more unique flavors than you’ll usually see with traditional ice cream.”

Customer: “So, these flavors aren’t possible with ice cream?”

Employee: “Well, no, I’m sure you could still do these flavors with ice cream.”

Customer: “See, because when I, and I bet most people, say, ‘ice cream,’ I’m referring to a sweet, frozen, creamy dessert that is served in bowls and cones, or on other desserts like pies, brownies, or cookies, and can be topped with other sweet things. This fits that definition, so I would argue it’s appropriate to call it, ‘ice cream.’ Whether what I’m eating has eggs in it, or yogurt, or whatever, it is ultimately irrelevant to my purposes in using that term.”

Employee: “Well, the egg yolks give it a creamier texture than—”

Customer: “But it’s the same idea in the end, right?”

Employee: “I would argue that it’s not, though. They’re different.”

Customer: “But we just discussed that they’re not different! The only difference we can find is there’s eggs in this. If I put egg in my ground beef when making a burger it’s still a burger.”

Employee: “Let’s look at it this way. ‘Ice cream’ could also be ‘frozen cream.’ This is not ‘frozen cream,’ because the egg changes the substance that is frozen into a custard, which therefore makes it a ‘frozen custard.'”

Customer: “But that’s relevant to my point. To you, it’s different. To us as customers, it ends up being the same thing because the differences are all on the back end.”

Employee: “We have many customers who come here because they prefer frozen custard to ice cream. It’s not the same to everyone.”

Customer: “I may prefer one pizza place over another because one place uses an additional ingredient in their crust, but that doesn’t mean either one isn’t pizza.”

Employee: “Agree to disagree, I guess. Will this be all?”

Customer: “Yeah, this is it. I’m not trying to insult your product. I obviously like it, but I just think sticking your nose in the air over someone calling it what it really is is a bit uncalled for.”

Employee: “Well, I bet you say this to all the frozen dessert places.”

Customer: “Given the opportunity, yes.”

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