Food From the Ones We Love

A conversation about ice cream by Jordyn Benda

Before the age I could walk Rum Nut ice cream held a special place in my heart. It holds a bigger place in the heart of my family, especially my mother, Olivia Cobham. She’s a treatment team leader for the state of New York. She runs two mental health clinics in Brooklyn and most of her time is taken up with doing chart reviews. But when she does get free time Olivia is usually watching television with a tub of Rum Nut ice cream in her hand. On a drive home from Taste of the Tropics in Brooklyn, my mother and I had a conversation about her favorite ice cream flavor. 

Q: What exactly makes this ice cream flavor so important, and why is it the thing that you get every time?

A: Tropical Rum Nut is a combination of one of my two favorite ice creams that’s why it’s important to me and I get it frequently.

Q:  Where exactly does this ice cream come from? Is there a culture behind it?

A: Taste of the tropics is basically a Jamaican base ice cream company.  It was basically two stores on Nostrand Ave. and Utica Ave. when I was growing up. Both these neighborhoods are West Indian. So the Caribbean islands. And they serviced, basically all the Caribbean islands and then some. 

Q: What makes Rum Nut ice cream something special?

A: Well the Rum Nut part of it is basically, Rum Raisin ice cream mixed with Grape Nut ice cream. So the Rum Raisin is typically served, you know, like how Americans have apple pie. Jamaicans have black cake or potato pudding and we normally have ice cream on the side. The kids get the grape nut and the adults will get the Rum Raisin a lot of times you add the Rum Raisin.

Q: Is there a reason why you love it?

A: It reminds me of family since it serves everybody. you can have it as a child. You can have it as an adult, a lot of older adults have both of them and then they added to alcohol. Everyone in the family can take part.

Q: Are there any fun or important memories that are associated with the ice cream?

A: Just my child, trying to steal and sneak some when she was little. Barely tall enough to even get to the kitchen counter. Actually, she couldn’t get to the kitchen counter but she snuck some ice cream out while my mom and I were out of the room. So it was just funny because it was rum raisin. All I kept thinking it’s like, oh my gosh, she’s getting drunk. But my mom was like there’s not enough alcohol in it or baked it out or cooked it out whatever. Fun fact, when I was pregnant and I was living in Virginia at the time, every time I visited my parents, you know, I drove on my way home, I would stop off before I caught to the Verrazano Bridge and I would stop and get ice cream. And at the time, the Utica Avenue store was open and the original owner at the time when that store was open, would go into the back of the freezer and get me a completely hard frozen tub of ice cream. I have a feeling that’s why Jordyn kind of likes this ice cream.