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MIT student blogger Bryan O. '07

Get The Scoop by Bryan

The dish on ice cream around MIT.

Without fail, if I could only eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be ice cream.

Fortunately, here at MIT, ice cream is only a few blocks away in any direction.

First off, there’s Toscanini’s about a five minute walk from campus. This is actually where the bloggers went at the end of last semester before it was time for us to take our finals. One of the nice thing about Tosci’s is that they have some pretty interesting flavors including Olive Oil and Earl Grey Tea, and from this earlier blog entry, you can probably tell I support diversity in ice cream flavors.

If you walk in the opposite direction up Mass Ave or take Saferide, you can walk down Newbury Street and pass JP Licks, Emack and Bolio’s, and Ben & Jerry’s. Personally, for ice cream, I’m all about the JP Licks.

Emack and Bolio’s is where I go for smoothies, but unfortunately, I never really do the Ben and Jerry’s thing. I can buy that at the grocery store.

There are a lot of other small eateries with ice cream, but these in my mind are the big ones for Boston and Cambridge.

…And what would a blog entry be without a vocabulary lesson? Here’s a few ice cream related terms that you might only find in the northeast, so if someone asks you for a cabinet, you’ll know what you’re talking about.

Frappe: Made of milk, syrup, and ice cream, it ideally has a consistency that “is something like loose cement,” says J.P. Licks owner Vince Petryk. This is the Boston term for a milkshake, from the French “frapper” (“to strike”) or “frappe” (“iced”).

Float: You need soda [soda = pop = coke], ice cream, and a tall glass to make a float. “Suds and a sidecar” is the old-fashioned term for the popular root beer float. Ice cream sodas, which are similar to floats, contain seltzer, milk, syrup, and a scoop.

Milkshake: Technically, this is the same as a frappe. In Boston, however, still sometimes means milk and syrup. That can cause confusion for tourists, who are expecting something tall, thick, and full of ice cream.

Smoothie: The best of these fruity cold drinks blend frozen fruit, juice, milk or yogurt and sometimes ice cream. They’re often offered with an array of nutritional add-ins, such as protein powder, bee pollen, or spirulina. Avoid smoothies made with a high-sugar base, too often overly sweet and artificial-tasting.

Source: Boston Globe, Food Section, Wednesday June 29, 2005

Cabinet: Another word for milkshake or frappe, typically used by people from Rhode Island because milkshakes were made behind a cabinet so the mess could be confined.

Jimmies: Another word for sprinkles.

A USA Today article on Ice Cream

Joke (post your answer as a comment)
Q. How do astronauts eat their ice cream?

Trivia: (post your answer as a comment)
What does the JP in JP Licks stand for?

13 responses to “Get The Scoop”

  1. Anonymous says:

    You forgot to mention why you are writing this in January.

    According to this link

    New England has the highest consumption of ice cream per capita.

  2. Sam T says:

    lol ice cream in the winter must be a MIT/Cambridge/Boston thing. Like yesterday, while I was waiting to cross the street to Building 7, I saw these three people eating ice cream like it was a typical summer day. It was freezing!!! A New Yorker like me will never understand a Bostonian’s fetish for ice cream in the winter. But seeing them eat ice cream did made me feel less cold…

    joke answer- Ice cream floats?

    trivia answer- Jelly Platter, Just Plain, Jet Propulsion, Jubilant Power, J.P., lol I dunno Junior Pride,

  3. Laura says:

    Man, that whole frappe/milkshake thing still messes me up. I get it and all, I guuess I’ll just never be able to accept it.

  4. JOKE:

    How do Astronauts eat their ice cream ?

    ANS: Through their NASAl cavity…

    I can almost hear the groans

  5. Diana says:

    I’m gonna guess Jamaica Plain, their original location.

  6. Michael says:

    J.P. = Jamaica Plain

    Joke – In Float.

  7. Sam T says:


    you guys must’ve found that on google unless you guys are major ice cream lovers. I googled it too

    lol upper left hand corner

    If you guys didn’t need google for that then you two are gonna have to be on my team for next years mystery hunt. lol thats if I get in anyways.

  8. Rafael says:

    joke answer: astronauts take off some isolation material from the spaceship hull (makes a good cooling system, although dangerous…), take some cream and for e.g. chocolate, get other necessary ingredients (emulsifier, etc.) and put this mixture onto the hull. The mixture freezes and astronauts can lick it of the hull..

    trivia answer: jumbo portion, juicy product, a name like John Proctor?

  9. Shan says:

    Ahh…Tosci’s. Over the summer, my friend and I decided that some icecream from Tosci’s would be the perfect way to slack off. Unfortunately, we didn’t really know Cambridge that well since we’d only been on campus for a week or two, and were told that Tosci’s would be impossible to miss. The five minute walk? Turned into a 40 minute one when we finally located Tosci’s…in Harvard Square. Oy.

    By the way, I think Tosci’s is one of the few places to serve Green Tea icecream…yum! One of my favorite flavors!! :D

  10. me? says:

    How about sorbet and the such? I’ve been raised vegan, and I’m thinking ice cream would make me horribly sick. I love sorbet though.

  11. Sam says:

    I’m all about JP Licks. I think Tosci’s is a little overpriced and overrated, although I must say that two years ago I got a flavor called “Honey Vanilla” and it was probably the best dish of ice cream I’ve ever had. I’ve never seen it served since then, though.

    One other great thing about JP Licks is that you can pick up free student discount coupon books at The Coop that have $2 off coupons in them. Since the price of a kiddie cone is something like $2.23, you can get a pretty large serving for less than a quarter. I usually go for the oreo frozen yogurt, but one time I did get an excellent amaretto/apple pie swirl frozen yogurt.

    Good to know about the frappe/milkshake distinction–I still hadn’t figured that one out.

  12. Emily says:

    What a great post! I love how as I read this I’m eating some Edy’s Grand Chocolate…in January. Ice cream is great any time of the year!

  13. an old-timer says:

    !!! Emack and Bolio’s still exists?!?! I went there in the ’70s and figured by now it was *gone*. Wow, thanks for the tasty memories.