A letter about peanut butter ice cream…

Ben and Jerrys peanut butter ice cream, complaint letter

Just another letter of complaint.

Dear Ben and Jerry’s,

You’ve let me down.

I like peanut butter. In my time, I’ve mixed peanut butter with every ingredient imaginable  to ensure that I have it as frequently as possible. Imagine how I must have felt – what could be more rewarding – when I discovered an ice cream treat that combined various triumphant ingredients with peanut butter at its base.

If you had released a plain peanut butter ice cream this might have been a different story. I’d have politely consumed it in large portions, mixing in various ingredients of my own with satisfied nods and hums of delight. You provided a pre-considered blend of jam and chocolate, however, when you gave us your new flavour, Peanut Butter Me Up. And I revelled in the fact that it was an ice cream flavour embodying my own ethics of peanut experimentation.

It was an admirable selection of ingredients. I’ve worked with more peanut combinations than I could count, and it’s very difficult to beat jam and chocolate (although I’d say the only clear failure is egg). The Americans have known it for years, and this ice cream seemed like a positive victory.

My girlfriend informed me of it some time before I saw it with my own eyes. She is often drawn in by the Co-op supermarket’s half-price Ben and Jerry’s deals, never leaving a secured tub empty. She resisted buying it herself – in the full knowledge that she’d have scoffed the whole thing in an instant.

Our eventual purchase came after a stressful day of business that required some serious downtime. Ignoring the fact that we needed to cook dinner, we opted to go straight for dessert, cutting a beeline for that Co-op. Our first shock came from the fact that the Peanut Butter Me Up flavour was not on offer, whilst the other flavours were. We would have to pay twice the price for the luxury of trying this new flavour.

No matter, I thought. It had to be done. (There may have been some more heated discussion in which my girlfriend goaded my financial woes and I eventually persuaded myself that it didn’t cost that much more than a pint of beer.)

Dinner be damned, we hunkered down with nothing but our ice cream to satisfy our evening’s hunger. We had reached the promised land of an acutely realised peanut butter product. Heaven in a small biodegradable container – the thick delight of peanut, the delicate balance of vanilla, the sickly goo of jam and the decadent crunch of chocolate cups. It had it all.

Or so we thought.

You see, it took but a few spoonfuls to realise we had been duped. After the first solid chomps of crunchy nut chocolate blending into cool ice cream, the thrill seemed to subside. The experience became plain. Alternating between light peanut flavour and sweet jammy goo, without any more crunch. Without any more chocolate. What had happened?

The tub was lacking in peanut butter cup chocolate. That which gave the ice cream its real edge, that which added the necessary texture. We had to search for them, had to count and, can you imagine, had to ration those precious pieces of chocolate.

There were five of them.

Five small chocolate pieces in a whole tub of ice cream. A tub we’d paid twice the price of its shelved compatriots for. Which we’d put all our evening’s hopes and dreams into. Five chocolate pieces – an odd number we couldn’t even fairly divide.

I could continue, to describe the disappointed groans, the disbelieving sighs and the occasional tiffs of argument that this sparsely populated ice cream thrust into our lives. I could describe the despair that still lingers in my heart for having had the promise of a worthy peanut butter ice cream thrust back in my face. But I think I need only leave you with this one illustrative parting thought:

When we finished that ice cream, there was a dollop of jam core left at the bottom of the tub. No one wanted that. We wanted the mixture we’d been promised, and found ourselves in a rare situation…leaving a tub of your luxury ice cream unfinished.

Shame on you, Ben and Jerry’s.

Shame on you.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Williams

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