There were two reasons I hadn’t eaten Cold Stone ice cream for once. One, the spot was new in my area and I held firm in the belief that it would always get crowded with people who couldn’t get enough of one of the few good things that my small town, Aba, had seen. Two, the ice cream was for the rich and I was broke. I was always broke. Instead of spending my money on expensive ice cream, I’d split it into five, use a part of it and treat myself to plain ice cream from Crunchies Fried Chicken, another spot a few blocks away.
When Temple invited me to an “all man for himself” ice cream date at Cold Stone, I knew to turn it down immediately. There were other days I could have finally had the ajebo ice cream, but not on this day. Not with an account balance that had dipped into the negatives.
Three times he asked, and I worried for him. I couldn’t understand why he’d wanted to go to Cold Stone so badly; then, of all times. The third time he asked, he offered to pay if I could free myself from the glue that held me so tightly to my bed because he knew it was stronger on Sundays.
I agreed to go.
It had rained that afternoon, and I had wished it wouldn’t stop so I could use that as a natural excuse not to go, but the universe was determined that today would be the day that I would have the famous Cold stone that everyone raved about whenever ice cream was a topic of discussion.
As I left my house and headed towards the main road, I overheard a woman mention she was craving suya. So people can crave things like suya? It struck me as odd. The only things I can recall craving on a regular basis were my signature meat pie and ice cream combo from Crunchies, and soaked garri – the best.
As I approached Cold Stone Creamery, I wondered if this newbie would replace my all-time favorite and bind me to the inability to casually afford my major cravings, because God knows I’d steal to get some. I felt sorry for Crunchies as it stood betrayed while I made my way to Cold Stone.
“I’m sorry dears, but this place looks promising,” I muttered.
The Place was not Promising
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the joint was how competitive it was. I get that it was a shared space between Cold Stone Creamery and Domino’s Pizza, but I didn’t understand why customers had to be hollered at as they entered. I came for ice cream; why were the pizza people calling me as if I had dropped a wallet? Later, I would learn that both Domino’s Pizza and Cold Stone Creamery sell different types of Cold Stone ice cream, with the former offering theirs at a relatively lower price – and it was the one Temple made me get.
Let’s Talk About the Ice Cream’s Situation
Before I left home, my sister asked me to bring back her share of Cold Stone ice cream. I’d joked that it was impossible given that the ice cream was served in a cup until it overflowed; at least, that’s how I’d seen it on Instagram. I was mistaken. This one arrived completely sealed. It was so small, light, and lacked the prestige of ice cream.
As I tore the seal open, I expected to see Instagram-worthy Cold Stone Ice Cream. Instead, I saw what looked like a plate of soaked garri with groundnuts that had been sitting in a freezer for weeks. What in the world of Ice cream was this?
One scoop into my mouth, Oh Lord, this cannot be my guy’s N2600. And was that chocolate I tasted? I was so sure those were groundnuts inside my garri-looking ice cream. I hated chocolate.
“Is this it? Is this you people’s Cold Stone? ” I asked, my face sagged with disappointment.
“Well, I don’t know about this one, but the one I had was much better and more expensive, and I got it there,” Temple explained, pointing to the Cold Stone side of the space.
As he showed me a picture of the ice cream he had, which was exactly the Cold Stone I had been looking forward to, I had more questions.
“Why are they different, and why is Domino’s selling Cold Stone Ice cream in the same space?” I added.
“And they even have the effrontery to drag customers with them,” Temple said instead, probably because my questions were not his to answer.
On my left, Temple’s friend Alex struggled with his overly creamy shawarma, which was the size of a Bigi Sausage roll, back when the country’s economy was still a thing.
“Is that their shawarma?” I asked Temple, pointing at the poor thing that wouldn’t let Alex eat it in peace.
As we ate without excitement, one could tell from afar that what we ordered was not what we got.
In my opinion, I have yet to try Cold Stone Ice Cream. And I’m still looking forward to eating whatever type Temple had; I’m sure I’ll like it because I’ve had something similar before and enjoyed it. I also look forward to eating pizza from Domino’s Pizza – their lane that they refused to stay in.
I’d rather spend N2600 on six cups of plain ice cream from Crunchies and share them with the kids on my street. Alternatively, I could cross the road to Market Square, where a large bowl of ice cream costs N2200. I could live on that for two weeks and be perfectly happy with myself.
Or I could set aside N3000 and then get my Instagram-inspired Cold Stone Ice Cream. Who knows? It could become my new craving, and I would probably talk about it on the street so that anyone who heard would wonder what odd craving that was. And I wouldn’t care. At the very least it’s not suya.
Now, you tell me. Is this a Cold Stone Aba thing or have you had this type of Cold Stone, too? Did you like it? Is there something I am missing? Please share with me in the comment box below.
Ajebo – A Nigerian word used to refer to someone born with a silver spoon
Garri – West African cassava flour.
Suya – Traditional smoked spiced meat skewer originated from Northern Nigeria
Bigi – A product of Rite Foods Limited, a Nigerian company.