Ice Cream Trucks

Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov.

I remember first learning how Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov trained his dogs to drool by ringing a bell. I was amused that a dog could be tricked into salivating by hearing a sound without food in sight. Then I thought about the music of the neighborhood ice cream truck.

The music from the ice cream truck trolling suburban streets starts a mini-drama played out in neighborhoods across America that would have made Pavlov proud. First, the music plays. A child quickly seeks out a parent to request money for ice cream. The parent’s first response of “No!” is quickly ignored, worn down and turned into a “yes.” The child, money-in-hand, chases down the truck. When the truck eventually stops, the child, panting heavily (and probably drooling), stares in bewilderment at the array of choices displayed on the side of the truck.

This must be good ice cream if people won't get out of line to go over to the other ice cream truck.

Well, leave it to the creativity of New Yorkers to put their own spin on this American ritual. In 2008, Ben Van Leeuwen, wife Laura and brother Peter began offering their delicious brand of ice cream out of a refurbished yellow postal truck in the Soho section of New York. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream has become so popular that the truck fleet has grown to three with a new storefront added this year.

This is ice cream that is definitely worth a hefty portion of one’s allowance.

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