How Now, Purple Cow

When I was growing up we didn’t have real dessert (pies, cakes, cookies, etc.) unless it was at a church pot luck. Very, very rarely we might get a little something sweet after supper. There were four things we might be blessed to have that night:

  • Bread, butter and sugar I’m not making this up, people. My mother actually called this dessert. It was a slice of white bread with margarine smeared on it and a little granulated sugar sprinkled on top. The bread wasn’t even toasted. But to this day if I’m craving something sweet and don’t have anything on hand, I’ll make myself one. Of course, these days it’s whole grain bread with SmartBalance spread and a sprinkle of Splenda, but it still takes me back.
  • Honey, butter and Saltines (Are you seeing a pattern here?) That was it: we’d mix honey and butter and spread it on crackers.
  • Frozen Coke It’s just like it sounds. Daddy would pour Coke into empty margarine tubs and stick them in the freezer. A couple of hours later we would take them out and sit around watching TV while scraping frozen Coke out of the tub with a spoon.
  • Purple Cows The biggest and best of the dessert treats, the Purple Cow was seldom seen in our house. But when it came, we would gorge ourselves. Basically, it’s a rootbeer float. But instead of using rootbeer, you use NuGrape soda. If you don’t have NuGrape available, any grape soda will do. (We used Faygo last weekend.) Vanilla ice cream and grape soda. Whodathunkit?

Of course, as simple as Purple Cow the dessert is, there’s apparently more to the legend of the Purple Cow itself. For instance, there’s this old poem. And there’s some guy trying to make money off the very idea of a purple cow. And don’t forget about Williams College, who was smart enough to make the Purple Cow its mascot a century ago. (If I’d have know that 15 years ago, I’d have probably applied.) According to Google, “Purple Cow” also refers to a communications company, a rock band from Manila, and a couple of crazy people’s websites. There’s also the restaurant chain by the same name. They have awesome hamburgers. Oddly enough, what I call a Purple Cow, the Purple Cow restaurant calls a “Purple Vanilla.”


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