a bunch of bing cherries
Photo: USDA Agricultural Research Service — Peggy Greb

My grandfather doesn’t get excited about food much anymore. If he does, he’s most often soon disappointed. And while my grandmother likes to point out that she doesn’t live to eat, but eats to live, I can’t help recalling how we kids used to get awakened practically every morning during a visit to their condo in Florida with “You’d better get up if you want some good sun! Where should we have dinner tonight?”

Dinner usually involved trying to make an early-bird special. They might fit a certain stereotype in that regard, but as far as I’m concerned if you grew up struggling through the Great Depression, have made a comfortable living, and can mingle your enjoyments of a good meal, a good deal, and family, you’re totally entitled to that satisfaction.

Grandmom does love her ice cream, though. At nearly 93 she still enjoys a bowl of it almost every night and she’s had the same svelte figure since before I was born. Her favorite flavors are a scoop of chocolate — ideally Breyer’s or Philadelphia’s native Bassetts — with coffee, strawberry, orange ice, or butter pecan. Grandpop isn’t quite the ice-cream maven she is, but he’s fond of bing cherry (named, I’ve just discovered, after Chinese-American horticulturalist Ah Bing). He also used to take a bowl of ice cream, slightly melted, crush graham crackers in it, and then empty a can of Snack Pack chocolate pudding on top, swirling it all around into a dessert smorgasbord. A desire to manage his diabetes has cut the frequency of that practice down to no longer.

So last night we were deciding on dessert and to Grandpop’s delight the ice-cream selections included bing cherry. Grandmom doesn’t see very well, colors in particular, and had thought our beige tablecloth was pink, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that she thought Grandpop’s pink ice cream was beige. I hadn’t heard him order for some reason, so I told Grandmom that, no, our ice cream, butter pecan with an especially yummy maple flavor, was beige; his was pink and so probably strawberry or cherry.

Grandpop scooped up a chunk of cherry in his spoon and said, “It’s bing cherry. With lots of bing!”

Related: Leon Saner 1914-2011 Cube Reporting Stella Saner 1916-2016

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