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[Photograph: Dave Katz]

What's the perfect ice cream sandwich? If I had to answer based on taste alone, I'd probably have to go with this crazy delicious French pastry-Italian gelato hack-wich. But ice cream is about more than just taste: it's one of those foods that we're more than happy to down from our early childhoods until the day we die. And my earliest ice creams weren't rich chocolate sorbets or complex, bitter salted caramels; they were Good Humor ice cream sandwiches from the ice cream truck—essentially the Oreos of the ice cream world. They were wonderful. And you know what? They still are.

Sure, the ice cream is thin, the vanilla flavor isn't that pronounced, and the chocolate cake/cookie leaves sticky crumbs all over your fingers. But these not-portable-at-all-because-they-melt-almost-instantly sandwiches are the very rectangular icons of my summer youth. And I still crave them, for the ritual as much as the nostalgia.

How to Eat a Good Humor Ice Cream Sandwich

  1. Unwrap carefully. Very carefully. You don't want any of the ice cream to sploosh out—
  2. Okay, too late. Plan B: grab a paper towel, hold one end of the sandwich, and slowly peel back the wrapping on the other side.
  3. Realize a good amount of ice cream is stuck to the wrapper, try to lick it off.
  4. Realize you now have ice cream all over your face.
  5. Take a few triumphant bites out of your ice cream sandwich. Slowly peel back wrapper more, getting chocolate cookie/cake all over your fingers.
  6. Dive into the rest of the fast-melting sandwich, face-first. Proceed to devour, letting the chips fall as they may.
  7. Take the very best bites of the sandwich: the pasty crumbs stuck to your fingers.
  8. Go play on the swings or something.

I go through this ritual every time I eat one of these sandwiches. Every time I think I'll beat the universe and come out unscathed, and every time I fail to do so and am all the happier for it. Some things should just be messy. Especially when they're enduring icons of your childhood. And are kind of another way to eat Oreos.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the editor of Serious Eats: New York. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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