Thursday, August 12, 2010

Classic Grasso's Italian Ice!

I got mine.  Finally.  Yesterday after work I drove to the Farmers' Market on High Rock Avenue in Saratoga Springs.  Ralph Grasso had posted on his facebook wall that he'd be there between 3 and 6 p.m. (as he is every Wednesday).  I left work and drove directly there.  I had to park way down High Rock but there it was, like a beacon, the little white bubble of a truck, just as I'd remembered, painted in white with red and aqua blue accents.  A little boy was reaching up to grab his order, a red cherry ice.  I saw Ralph.  He didn't remember me at first, but then he recognized me. After all, about 35 years have passed since we last saw each other!  And beautiful Sophia, his daughter, waited on me.  "A small lemon, please..."  Had to have it.  Had to have the lemon.  The lemon I remember wasn't yellow, it was white, but the taste was the same.  That freezing cold, refreshing ice. The best.

Ralph and I caught up a bit, and I asked him what happened to those old paper, foldy cups that we used to get our ices in, when the kids on MacArthur Drive paid a nickel for the treat.  We'd hear Ralph's grandfather coming and yell "The Lemon Ice Man!!!  The Lemon Ice Man!!!" (no matter what flavor, that's what we called him) and all the mothers would empty their change purses and we ran into the street.  It's one of my favorite childhood memories.  "The Lemon Ice Man" provided moments of pure joy for the kids in our neighborhood.

 Ralph Grasso

About those old paper cups -- Ralph said he might have found a supplier, then he reached into a cabinet and brought one out, one of a precious few from the old days.  It would flatten as you ate the ice, and then you could open it up into a circle and still find some of the goodness tucked in the folds of the paper.  I told him I wanted to take a picture of it (yes, he was beginning to realize my obsession, or maybe think I am insane!) and he went one better:  he scooped some cherry and set it up beautifully.

Cherry Ice, Old School

While most people were walking away from the Farmers' Market with bags of vegetables, I strolled down High Rock Avenue with my lemon ice, and not one vegetable, happily reliving childhood memories, and looking forward to the next time I spot that beautiful white truck.

Photos:  by Jeannie O'Farrell Eddy, the Adirondack Baker


  1. I love everything about this! Nick and I each got our cherry/lemon mix the other week, and we don't remember them being yellow either. Wonder what makes it different?

  2. You can buy those cups at following link for 100 5 oz. cups, but the charge you $10.50 for handling, so if you order 200 cups, handling price stays the same!