Bad optics and lacking leadership during this time of crisis aside, someone needs to tell the House speaker there are better, cheaper options to stock her freezer with.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slammed by lawmakers and media alike this week after she simultaneously blocked funds for America’s suffering small businesses, and showed off her gourmet ice cream stockpile.
House Republicans have attempted for over a week to pass a clean funding bill to replenish funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, of which all $349 billion available was officially depleted on Thursday. Democrats blocked the assistance, offering a counter-proposal with a wish-list of progressive propositions. As Republicans and even some Democrats begged for Congress to bail out more small businesses, Pelosi called it a “stunt” and claimed there’s “no data as to why we need it.”
Meanwhile, in an undeniably tone-deaf move, the millionaire congresswoman from California appeared on CBS’ “Late Late Show” Monday, standing in front of a refrigerator that costs more than many Americans earn in a year, and opened her freezer to reveal it was full to the brim with ice cream and gelato.
Clearly, the staffer that thought this was a cute idea has yet to lose their own paycheck like 22 million other Americans, or at least they hadn’t until this video aired. Not to mention, any experienced communications staffer would also know the last time a politician indulged in ice cream gluttony, it made blaring headlines. “PRESIDENT GETS 2 SCOOPS OF ICE CREAM, EVERYONE ELSE 1,” as CNN’s chyron once read.
Of course, Pelosi should be shamed for her bad politics and lacking leadership during this time of crisis, but I’m here to talk about ice cream. Any ice cream connoisseur took one look at Pelosi’s freezer and saw stacks of cash. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, the colorful pints you see on the right, cost $13 per pint in the grocery store, or $68 for 6 pints if you mail order like the Speaker suggests in the interview. Talenti gelato, which she points out as her two chocolate favorites on the left, are $5 a pint, but still on the higher end of grocery store options.
I will concede, Jeni’s is a very good ice cream. It’s a premium, Philadelphia-style ice cream, which means it doesn’t contain any eggs or yolks. It has a creamy and smooth texture — some even complain too creamy. Jeni herself describes it as a “buttercream body.” Their flavors are top-notch and are often perfect balances of salty and sweet, like the popular Brown Butter Almond Brittle. So I do not blame Pelosi for her obsession one bit, but there are other amazing, less expensive options.
As a resident Texan, my first recommendation has to be Blue Bell. The little creamery in small-town Brenham, Texas, only delivers to 13 southern states to which it can drive within a day, and California is not included, but Pelosi has already established she’s happy to mail order. A pint of Blue Bell will cost you $2.57, a half-gallon $6, and you will not be sacrificing an ounce of flavor or texture.
When Blue Bell had to halt production in 2015 after a deadly listeria outbreak, some Texans hoarded their dwindling supplies, while others auctioned off their half-eaten cartons on eBay to the deprived. It was devastating, and Texans collectively fought for the company to make a comeback. When freezer aisles were finally restocked, one Kroger public relations rep said customers had vocal reactions, exclaiming “God is Good!” or “Amen!” So yes, it’s that good for costing $2.57 a pint.
Despite churning out cheese and other dairy products for over 100 years, Tillamook recently relaunched and rebranded itself into the ice cream competition, and quite successfully. It has a soft, fluffy texture, almost as if it’s been whipped, but doesn’t lose its creaminess. And a whole quart costs $4.99.
Häagen-Dazs will do in a pinch, and let’s be honest, it just sounds like something Nancy Pelosi would like. It’s also Ina Garten-approved. Being so creamy and thick, it just tastes expensive, and it’s usually $4 to $5 a pint. Pricey, but not Jeni’s pricey.
Snicker Ice Cream Bar
This winner may be surprising, but the Snickers ice cream bar, specifically the Snickers Dark ice cream bar, takes first place in the novelty frozen treat category. They’re only $4.19 for six at Walmart, and you can often find them for an even better price at Sam’s Club or Costco. This dark chocolate bar, filled with peanut butter-chocolate ice cream, peanuts, and caramel, is everything you want in flavor and texture. Plus, you can eat it right out of the wrapper. No need to even get a scoop involved, Nancy.
Make Your Own Ice Cream
I would hope that if Pelosi has a $24,000 refrigerator, she also has an ice cream maker somewhere in that chef’s kitchen. Homemade ice cream is undoubtedly the most delicious and cheapest ice cream. At a time when we are all baking our own bread and cutting our own hair, making our own ice cream is on the horizon with warming months of social distancing approaching. There are countless easy recipes, and you can make as much as you want for pennies on the dollar. If all else fails and you’re still missing the $13/pint confection, try making Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at home.
Support Small Ice Cream Businesses
Obviously Pelosi is in no real need of ice cream recommendations as we’ve just seen some of her most extravagant assets. But perhaps she can finally get around to doing what she’s stalled on for over a week and support American small businesses like her local ice cream shop. If she won’t give them a loan so they can make payroll, she could at least buy a scoop. Maybe even leave a tip. I’m sure they will even sell it to her by the pint to put in her safe of sorbet.