Citizens, few things bring a bigger smile to the face of the Omnipotent One – the Gastronomic Gargantua who alone is TFD! – than seeing the newest post from my favorite food history website! Yes, I speak of nothing less than the glory of Gastro Obscura – if you’re not yet familiar with it, sally forth and check it out without delay! It never fails to enlighten even me with my encyclopædic knowledge of all things food-related, and their latest email talked about a unique midwestern treat – Superman ice cream!
It’s rather obvious why it’s called that – the colors are identical to the Man of Steel’s costume, and before we even get to the history of the ice cream, let me enlighten you as to the Jewish origins of Superman! 🙂
As noted in a fantastic article on the Daily Beast, which I shall excerpt here:
Superman is as American as apple pie, in that both have their origins in the Middle East.
Apples, because they are thought to have been first domesticated in Turkey, and Superman, because of his oftentimes overlooked Jewish heritage.
Superman’s possible Judaism shouldn’t be a surprise. The hero’s creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, were the children of Jewish immigrants. The comic book industry, where they spent a significant portion of their young careers, was created in New York by Jews like Max Ginsburg, Bob Kahn, and Jacob Kurtzberg, who hid their ethnicity behind names like Gaines, Kane, and Kirby. Over the years there have been scores of books and articles on the subject with punny names like Up, Up, and Oy Vey or “Mensch of Steel.”
Along with the web content, Dr. Craig Detweiller, Ph.D. of Theology and Culture, wrote a nine page essay titled “Jesus–The Original Superhero” to specifically link the Last Son of Krypton with the Son of God. Detweiller cited the oft repeated evidence about the suffix “el” appending Superman’s Kryptonian birth name “Kal-el.” In Hebrew, the “el” suffix is used to denote Elohim, or Yahweh, Jehovah, or God, like in the names Michael, Ariel, and Raphael. In his essay, Detweiller also referenced the Jochebedian orphanization Superman suffered as his parents, forewarned of the planet Krypton’s imminent demise, shot their baby into outer space like a futuristic Moses.
Orphaned at birth to protect him from a world destroying cataclysm, the Man of Steel is most often compared to Moses because they were both raised by non-Jewish families and eventually accessed magic powers to save their tribe. Also presented as evidence are the similarities between the S symbol on Superman’s chest and the Hebrew character Lamedh. Larry Tye, author of Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero, compared Superman’s code of ethics—“Truth, Justice, and the American Way”—to the Mishnaic values of “truth, peace, and justice.”
Perhaps the most important link to a Hebrew superhero is Superman’s identity as a partially assimilated immigrant. The 1930s New York that produced the world’s first modern superheroes was awash in recent Jewish refugees fleeing the pogroms of 19th century Europe. According to “The American Jewish Experience in the Twentieth Century: Antisemitism and Assimilation” by Jonathan D. Sarna and Jonathan Golden at Brandeis University, “In 1900, more than 40 percent of America’s Jews were newcomers, with ten years or less in the country” and the next quarter century saw a wave of immigration as “another 1.75 million Jews would immigrate to America’s shores, the bulk from Eastern Europe.”
It was also during their time in Ohio that Mel Gordon, writing for Reform Judaism Magazine in 2011, suggested it would have been impossible for Siegel and Shuster to not have become acquainted with Zishe Breitbart, the Jewish strongman.
In 1923, Breitbart played both Cleveland and Toronto when Siegel and Shuster were only nine years old. There is no record of either artist attending the shows, but it would have been unlikely they were unfamiliar with the early 20th century Heracles. Gordon writes, “The Cleveland News raved that he was ‘more interesting than the Eiffel Tower.’
During the Christmas season, he performed before 85,000 spectators at the New York Hippodrome, then the ‘largest playhouse in the world,’ smashing all previous attendance records.” Renowned for feats of strength destined to become hallmarks of the comic book Superman, Breitbart dazzled audiences with all the strongman classics: bending steel bars, breaking “unbreakable” chains, lifting elephants. In at least one of the Jewish strongman’s American tours, Breitbart was billed as “the Superman of the Ages.”
Although revealing any link to Judaism would have doomed the Superman franchise, several early stories focus on Superman fighting Nazis and proudly declaring himself a “non-Aryan” as he socked Adolph Hitler on the jaw. The comics led propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels to accuse Superman of being a Jew, and at least one vicious 1940 editorial in the SS newspaper Das schwarze Korps was titled “Jerry Siegel Attacks!”
Superman’s cape was actually a tallit, the prayer shawl that observant Jews wear draped like a cape over their shoulders The blue in Superman’s costume was the shade of blue found in the sacred color of ‘techelet’, seen today in the Israeli flag. All fascinating and it makes me proud to be Jewish knowing the Man of Steel’s origins reflect my own heritage. 🙂
Now, as to the glory of Superman Ice Cream:
Superman ice cream is an ice cream that comes as a swirl of three colors: blue, red, and yellow, the three colors of Superman’s costume. The name of the ice cream comes from the colors of the comic book superhero Superman, though it is not licensed through DC Comics.
Some will argue the popular Midwest flavor originated in Detroit-based ice cream shop Stroh’s, though the exact origin remains elusive. Another Michigan dairy House of Flavors in Ludington makes their Superman ice cream with their signature Blue Moon, cherry, and lemon ice creams. The flavor has been spotted in other Midwest locales, such as Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream Company in Madison, Wisconsin, and Pierre’s Ice Cream Company in Cleveland, Ohio
Thus the exact combination varies from location to location, typically with vanilla, Blue Moon, and some other variety of ice cream included. The Stroh’s Ice Cream version has Blue Moon, red pop, and lemon ice creams, while other versions such as those by the Meijer store brand (“Scooperman”) and the Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream Company (“SuperScoop”) versions of Superman ice cream are a mixture of vanilla, Blue Moon, and black cherry ice creams.
Scooper’s Ice Cream Treats in Stratford, Ontario, Canada sells a similar blue, red, and yellow variety but calls it “Super Hero” ice cream. Laura Secord Chocolates also sells a similar variety of ice cream, called “SuperKid,” made with banana, blueberry and strawberry flavors.
Since there is no canonical version of Superman ice cream, I shall share my highly up-market version with you! The most difficult to replicate ice cream is the blue one, since the recipe is a closely-held secret. I found a version on food.com that is universally-acknowledged as the closest clone. I’ve used it as well.
For the yellow ice cream, I’ve decided to use Persian saffron ice cream as a base, but without the usual pistachios and rose water but with the new addition of lemon extract.
For the red ice cream, I’ve specified cherry ice cream with the addition of some Cherry Heering brandy to really amp up the cherry quotient and some crème fraîche for tang. The almond and cherry flavors from the Heering give a classic ‘Bakewell Tart’ flavor profile that I dearly love.
It’s important to get the proper ‘Day-Glo’ color in this ice cream blend – gel-based food colors provide the most vibrant hues. You can buy my preferred yellow, red and blue gel colors at the links. As for the necessary flavor extracts, my preferred brands of lemon, vanilla and raspberry are at their respective links.
Citizens, I hope you will see fit to try this ice cream beloved by children and adults alike throughout the Midwest (my sophisticated flavors will make it even more for the adults!) and know the humble glory of this delightful icy treat!
Battle on – the GeneralissimoPrint
- Blue Moon Ice Cream:
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract or ½ tsp. vanilla oil
- 1 ½ cups whipping cream
- ⅛ tsp. blue food coloring or more as needed to achieve the proper color
- 3 tsp. vanilla pudding mix
- 1 tsp. raspberry flavored oil or 1 cup frozen raspberries, pureed
- 1 tsp. lemon flavored oil or 1 tsp. lemon extract
- Saffron-Lemon Ice Cream:
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
- 1 ¼ cups whole milk
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon extract
- 1 pinch (⅛ tsp.) Saffron
- ⅛ tsp. or as needed yellow gel food coloring to achieve proper color – in this ice cream, you may not need any due to the saffron
- Cherry Ice Cream:
- 2 cups pitted black cherries
- 1 ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup crème fraîche
- ⅓ cup Cherry Heering brandy
- ¼ tsp. almond extract
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ⅛ tsp. or as needed red gel food color to achieve the proper shade
- an ice cream maker
- To make the cherry ice cream:
- Combine the cream, cherries, almond extract and sugar in a saucepan. Heat gently until slightly hot (or very warm, whichever works for you!) You don’t want to boil it, but you want to coax the juices out of the cherries and dissolve the sugar. Stir and mash the cherries a bit.
- Let it cool slightly. Fold in the crème fraîche and the cherry heering (plus food coloring if needed), and put it in the fridge for an hour– or in the freezer for 20 minutes.
- Put it in your ice cream machine, and let it do its thing.
- For the Saffron-Lemon ice cream:
- Set a medium bowl in a large bowl of ice water. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with ½ cup of the sugar until pale, about 3 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, lemon extract, food coloring, milk, salt, saffron, and remaining ¼ cup sugar and bring to a simmer, whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk the hot cream mixture into the beaten egg yolks in a thin stream.
- Transfer the mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to lightly coat the back of the spoon, about 4 minutes; don’t let it boil.
- Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into the medium bowl in the ice water. Let cool completely, stirring frequently. Refrigerate the custard until very cold, at least 1 hour.
- Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the frozen custard to a plastic container, cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
- For the Blue Moon ice cream:
- Scald the milk in a saucepan.
- Add sugar and salt, stir until dissolved.
- Add half and half, then heavy whipping cream. Combine.
- Add vanilla, raspberry, lemon flavoring, and the blue food coloring. Chill in fridge till very cold, then put in ice cream machine and follow directions.
- Scoop all the ice creams into one large individual container, give it a few minutes at room temp to soften slightly and give a quick swirl to mix colors, (don’t over-mix or colors will blend too much!).
- Serve immediately and enjoy the smiles!
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