Trying Other People's Popsicles


Photo by Nathalie Jordi

More misadventures this week? You betcha. Would we be true to ourselves if we didn't have some kind of cringing disaster to relate? Last Saturday, the remnants of Hurricane Bill's trembling wake rained us out, but Sunday's problems were a personal, mechanical affront, visited upon us by our life-threatening mobile liability of a van, which, I swear, always elects the worst times to break down.

Halfway to the market, the boys discovered that the shifter had opted to quit. Their theory is that last weekend's catastrophic flood of lemon-basil syrup somehow numbed the fuse that tells the car it's safe to shift into drive. A mere $180 resumed its mobility, but we now have to go through an elaborate charade to trick the electrical system every time we have to turn the car on. Well, what can you expect from a dubious van bought off a shyster on Craigslist for $2,000? It could exhibit worse idiosyncrasies. In fact, it frequently does.

We tried a peach pop with a gorgeous texture, a Bloody Mary pop that tasted not quite as satisfying as an actual Bloody Mary, and a blackberry-and-chocolate-chip popsicle that surprised the hell out of us by being absolutely delicious.

This Sunday morning, we were confronted by the looming specter of Hurricane Danny. Resolved to show a stiff upper lip--we can't afford to lose any more weekends!--doggedly we drove to the Ft. Greene market. The scene was dismal: six tents, forlorn, starting to sag from the weight of the puddles collecting in their folds, and absolutely no customers. Joel and I discussed our sales strategy and made an executive decision. We decided to park, wait nearby until noon in case the weather cleared up, and spend the meantime getting drunk. Did you ever wonder what those little rubber-and-plastic things you toss around in badminton are called? They always remind me for some reason of saltshakers in ballgowns.


At one o'clock, David, our sober business partner, came to meet us. He took one look at us and suggested we leave the bar. The carrot he dangled: a rare opportunity to leave New York on a weekend and try somebody else's popsicle. We'd heard of a man in Beacon, NY who made delicious pops under the name Zora Dora's and possessed a popsicle-making apparatus we've dreamed of buying. Three cheers! The van turned on, after a few tries and some hocus-pocus. We hit the road.

New Jersey sucks--this endless shopping mall strung like an ugly necklace from Leonia to Palisades. But it can be useful. We picked up popsicle sticks at Pearl's and fried chicken at Popeye's and took a pee break at the Barnes & Noble in Paramus. Persevere, though, and eventually, the pines and bittersweet vine swallow up all asphalt other the narrow ribbon of road. I love that vine. So invasive that it asphyxiates any plant in its path, it nonetheless turns New Jersey green, and ought to be commended, if just for that.

30 minutes later, we were in Beacon. Cheerfully we unmasked ourselves and began ravishing the popsicle counter. We tried a peach pop with a gorgeous texture, a Bloody Mary pop that tasted not quite as satisfying as an actual Bloody Mary, and a blackberry-and-chocolate-chip popsicle that surprised the hell out of us by being absolutely delicious, as well as a few other flavors. We gave the popsicle-maker a few pops of our own: watermelon-basil and cantaloupe-tarragon. The analytical cogs in his head spun as he tasted. We spent half an hour commiserating over mutual pains. He was funny and smart and totally suspicious of us.

Since, as a result of our van's electrical hemorrhage, our rear headlights no longer work, it was time to head back to New York City before darkness set in. We drove back in a tizzy of enthusiasm, ambition, plans, dreams. We've still got grapes and perhaps figs to look forward to, but the year's nearly over and we need to start thinking about what shapes our future might take.

More about that next week. If the next hurricane or van trauma hasn't propelled us into hara-kiri.

Zora Dora's shop is located at 201 Main St Beacon, NY 12508. Phone: 646-206-3982.

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Nathalie Jordi makes ice pops in Brooklyn along with her high-school prom date and his roommate. Out of season, she writes for the Los Angeles Times, Bon Appetit, and the New York Times.

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