I know it's not Nobel season, but may I humbly suggest that this year's Nobel prize in literature go to ice cream?
It's an unorthodox choice, I know - desserts aren't known for winning such honors, and most of them don't even write books; the closest we've gotten is when cookie maker E.L. Fudge write the steamy bestseller Fifty Shades of Keebler. But what tells the story of our time better than ice cream? It's sometimes sweet, over too quickly and often full of nuts.
On top of that: while it's not widely known, ice cream can express abstract concepts better than any other sweet treat. Case in point: Ben and Jerry's famous Cherry Garcia, which, in addition to cherry flakes and fudge pieces, has faithfully represented its musical namesake by starting a West Coast acoustic trio that plays Grateful Dead and Dylan covers.
A second example - one no less abstract, though perhaps less appetizing - is the ice cream shop in Israel that serves hummus-flavored ice cream. This concoction, depending on how much or how little one craves ground chickpeas with sugar and cream, could represent blind hope, confusion or maybe utter despair. I heard there was an attempt at last year's Burning Man to create ice cream representing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, though they ran out of vanilla before they could finish up Pestilence Cookie Dough or Plague Ripple.
I dabble in concept-based ice cream myself, and my greatest triumph has been the creation of an ice cream flavor that tastes like Christmas - one scoop of this stuff and you'll have visions of sugarplums dancing in your head for weeks. (Remember the California Raisins? Dancing sugarplums look a little like them.) The only downside is that there aren't a whole lot of people craving ice cream in late December (I also need to rethink my "summer sauna" franchise, now that I think of it). But that little detail shouldn't tarnish what should widely recognized as the pinnacle of concept-based ice creams. Next I want to go really meta and create a concept ice cream that represents a concept-album: maybe The Who's Quadrophenia, or Rush's 2112. Who wouldn't love an ice cream sandwich shaped like Roger Daltrey or Geddy Lee?
Now I'm not saying we need to replace books with desserts; the written word is our erstwhile ally in abstract thinking and it always will be. But let's face it: Ice cream holds toppings a whole lot better than a book or an essay does, with the sole and inexplicable exception of Gore Vidal's Burr.
"It goes perfectly with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and pistachios," says a piece jointly published in Britain's Literary Review and Everyday With Rachael Ray.
If my plan has a flaw, it's that if ice cream did win the Nobel literature prize, there's a good chance it would soon become the first winner to be eaten during its own award ceremony. If that year's Peace Prize winner took part, would he or she be disqualified for devouring a fellow Nobel Laureate? Hmm. Maybe we better give the award to E.L. Fudge instead. He's working on a sequel: Fifty Stripes of Fudge.