Are Dippin' Dots the ice cream of the future?

By By Robert St. John / food columnist
Sept.4, 2002
Robert St. John is the executive chef/owner of New South Restaurant Group. His weekly food column appears in various newspapers throughout Mississippi and Louisiana. If you have any questions or comments he can be reached at robert@nsrg.com or (601) 264-0672.
Everything is getting smaller.
As technological advancements progress, consumer goods shrink. TVs have grown smaller, stereo systems, too.
My mother used to own a hi-fi system that covered the entire wall of her dining room. It doubled as a sideboard. As she listened to Englebert Humperdinck croon through the furniture, she sported a hairdo that was so tall she had to duck when walking through doorways. Hairdos are definitely smaller, nowadays.
When I was in college the speakers for my stereo system weighed 1,232 pounds each and took up half of my apartment. Today's speakers can be placed on bookshelves.
Girls clothing is smaller than it used to be, books and telephones are pocket-sized and cartoon characters are shrinking daily. My daughter watches Bugs Bunny, although it's not the "real" Bugs Bunny. It is a Tiny Toon miniature-sized version of Bugs, Daffy and Sylvester.
Even ice cream is smaller.
Last week I was in the local shopping mall and passed a kiosk that sells a product called Dippin' Dots.
Dippin' Dots are little beads of flavored, frozen milk. They look like small pastel-colored BBs. The banner over the kiosk says that Dippin' Dots is "the ice cream of the future" What in the name of Baskin and Robbins is going on in the future? Why will ice cream have to be served as little BBs? Will all of our freezers be miniature sized like our TVs and stereos?
And how do these people know so much about the future? If Dippin' Dots is in fact the "ice cream of the future" (and I'm not saying it isn't) how can it be available in the present day? If it is truly "of the future," we shouldn't even be able to buy it yet.
At the Dippin' Dots corporate headquarters in Paducah, Ky., (our nation's futuristic culinary prognostication capital), the execs feel so confident that they are manufacturing the "ice cream of the future" that they have registered the trademark "the ice cream of the future" with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It is their slogan, end of story.
This bothers me. What if, in two or three years, Blue Bell or Haagen-Dazs has discovered an even more futuristic ice cream? An ice cream that is smaller than a Dippin' Dot. An ice cream pellet so futuristically small it is invisible. Will Dippin' Dots still be the ice cream of the future? I think not.
In the future our society will be so culturally advanced we'll all be eating invisible ice cream, but we'll be eating it out of paper cups. Obviously, cones won't be available in the future, either. According to Dippin' Dots, futuristic ice cream can only be served in cups. Maybe the folks at Greenpeace have discovered that sugar cone production is eating away the ozone layer. Quick, someone call Ben and Jerry.
The Dippin' Dots people say there are 2,000 dots in every 5-ounce cup of ice cream (and I thought ordering a triple scoop was splurging). According to corporate literature, the Dots are transported all over the world in "specially designed cryogenic transport containers." Now we're talking futuristic. (I need to borrow one of those cryogenic containers to transport my son's dirty diapers from the house to the outside garbage can).
What other surprises does the futuristic food world hold? Will atomic-age pizza be so complex that it shrinks to the size of a quarter? Will hamburgers be so technologically advanced that you'll need a pair of tweezers to eat them? Or will we all just take a pill and forget about satiability and taste.
Dippin' Dots says the future is now. I have seen the future. This is not the future. The future is filled with a lot of chrome and glass and concrete. In the future everyone wears shiny silver uniforms and see-through helmets, doors automatically slide open when you walk near them, robots do all of the hard work and everything is operated by push buttons and voice commands. In the future there is a lot of decompression occurring, policemen wear flying suits and everyone drinks Tang .
My fourth-grade reader said that we would have flying cars in the future (that year being 2000 A.D.). We don't have flying cars or shiny silver suits or robot maids. We do, however, have BB-sized ice cream.
Welcome to the 21st century!
Sweet Cream Ice Cream
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
Whisk eggs until frothy (approximately two minutes). Slowly add sugar in small increments. Whisk until completely blended. Add cream and milk. Follow instructions on ice cream maker. Add 2 cups of peaches, strawberries or raspberries macerated in 11/2 cups sugar for fruit flavored ice cream.

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