Killing Me Softly with Soft Serve Ice Cream.

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When I think of soft serve, immediately McDonald’s comes to mind. Chocolate and plain vanilla.

Were they the first to serve this?

There are many independent start-ups and hipster cafes these days selling soft serve ice cream and touting them to be the best. But these delectable dairy treats cost a limb (at least RM10.00 per cone or cup) if you paid for one there!

But McDonald’s? In Malaysia, it’s RM1.00 (USD $0.25, GBP £0.19 and AUD $0.33, according to the XE Currency Converter). They’re having a Ramadhan special now at RM2.00 for cendol-flavoured soft serve ice cream. You do the math.

My husband and I were in Port Dickson last week, and had McDonald’s for lunch. I had seen the Ramadhan special cendol-flavoured soft serve ice cream online earlier and I wanted to try it. It was twice the price of the original vanilla or chocolate at McDonald’s but it was still cheaper than a hipster cafe.

One lick of that and I was hooked. For good.

After our much-needed grocery shopping yesterday, we stopped at a shop in the Atria Shopping Mall opposite the information counter. The shop sold durian- and sour sop-filled cream puffs, and had durian soft serve ice cream on the menu. I had been craving for soft serve since returning from Port Dickson and now was my chance to satisfy that craving. And I did. It was the best dessert ever!

But here I am wondering, what’s all the hype surrounding soft serve anyway? When I was a teen, I’ve never heard of soft serve. To me, all ice cream came in the form of frozen dairy treats (lollies or popsicles) or made with milk and cream (with other additional ingredients for flavours). At one point, I even thought soft serve ice cream was frozen yogurt! Froyo or frogurt, as some like to call it.

What is soft serve ice cream?

According to Wikipedia:

Soft serve is a type of ice cream with a fluffy texture and is less dense than regular ice cream, as a result of air being introduced during the freezing process. Regular ice cream is frozen immediately to avoid crystallisation. With soft serve, this is accomplished by using a special machine that holds pre-mixed product at a very low but non-frozen temperature, usually at the point of sale. Soft serve ice cream is a common choice of dessert at fun fairs, carnivals, amusement parts, restaurants (especially fast food like McDonald’s and buffet), as well as specialty shops (or hipster cafes, as I like to call them).

Knowing this somehow makes soft serve feel kind of special, don’t you think? Like they are a unique type of ice cream and therefore, hold a higher regard than the regular ice cream. Or maybe it’s just my stomach doing the talking.

And then I thought, okay so there’s that. But what is the difference, then, between soft serve and regular ice cream?

Soft Serve Ice Cream vs. Regular Ice Cream

According to Alto-Hartley, there are three stages that differentiate the manufacturing of soft serve and regular ice creams. They go by ingredients, production and delivery. I’ll give you a breakdown of the ingredients and the rest can be found on their website:

Standard ingredients for regular ice cream include at least 10% milkfat and 20% cream. Corn syrup or or sugar, air and non-fat milk solids like proteins are also added into the mixture. Regular ice cream is more likely to contain other flavourings as well, such as pieces of chocolate, fruit, nuts, and other sweets.

Soft serve ice cream, on the other hand, has less milkfat, often between 3% and 6%. The amount of air included is what sets soft serve apart from their regular counterpart, as the higher air content is the key to having a lighter and fluffier texture. The ideal amount of air content is said to be between 33% and 45%.

So far, the cendol-flavoured soft serve ice cream from McDonald’s feels better than the durian-flavoured one at the Atria Shopping Mall. The former probably has more air content as it feels lighter and fluffier, compared to the latter which feels denser, heavier and seemed to weigh down in my hand as I gleefully devoured it today.

After this, I won’t blame you for wanting a soft serve. I’m writing this post now and I’ve already had my share today, but the power of suggestion is tangling with my conscience again. Suddenly, I feel like having the cendol cone from McDonald’s. Should I go out for one at 1:30am in the morning now?

If you want some, you can get your share at one of these places in Damansara Uptown:

Or Honey Creme Soft Serve in Desa Sri Hartamas.

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Do Not Disturb. Reading in Progress.

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How often does this happen to you?

You decide to do some reading. So you pick up your book and turn to the chapter where you last stopped, only to have someone sidle up to you and start talking or asking questions?

Annoying, isn’t it?

I’ve had a few instances myself, a few times during my lunch break at work or even while I’m at home. I would turn to the page where I left my bookmark, settle in for a cosy reading session, my eyes acclimatising to the chapter in front of me… when someone decides to ask me a question.

At that very point as I’m about to read out the words aloud in my mind.

Oh, the agony! Really? All those times during office hours you could have asked me all that you wanted to, and you wait until I start reading. It’s a conspiracy! Of course I no longer face that problem since I’ve already left the company but still, when it happened, if looks could kill, the questioner wouldn’t live to see the sun rise the next morning.

This reminds of a scenario that occurred sometime in January or February this year. I packed some lunch from home and decided to have it at my desk in the office. I brought my book with me so after a delicious meal of overnight couscous with bacon, capsicum and mushrooms (reheated in the office microwave), I decided to catch up with my reading. I had only gone so far when my then manager came back from his lunch break. He proceeded to ask me a question, a little dense as to not noticing that I had my attention elsewhere, and waited for my response. He saw me holding the book in my hand, my eyes darting up at him and then down at my book…

And yet somehow he proceeds to ask the most ridiculous question in the world.

Sorry, were you reading?

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It’s similar to when you’re using your headphones while you’re listening to music or watching a movie, and someone comes up to you and starts talking to you.

Excuse me but do you not see that I’m in the middle of something here? Maybe we need a sign that says, “Warning! Reading in progress. Any interruptions will be dealt with severely. Further interruptions will result in serious injury. Or death.Something like this.

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Or this:

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Now excuse me while I build an anti-reader wall around me so I can read in peace.

A Disclaimer For Life.

I bet you’ve encountered a situation where you’ve done or said something, but you don’t want other people to find out about it. But you weren’t alone. You were there with a friend. The next thing you say is, “Shh, don’t tell anyone about it.

Your friend nods and says:

Don’t worry, you know me. Of course I won’t say a thing!

You nod back and go:

I know you won’t but I have to say it anyway. Just to be sure.

This recently happened to me. I had a conversation with some ex colleagues on WhatsApp about our company’s Employee Engagement Survey and how it affects the employees. We were informed that our responses are strictly private and confidential (this is debatable as the last time we took part in it, our honest-to-goodness answers ALMOST landed us in trouble (how our manager found out about our responses, we had no idea). This time, we were going to charge at it, hard and fast. No holds barred.

The difference is that I’m now on gardening leave, still attached to the company but not having to go in to office. So where does that leave me? My ex colleagues felt I should still participate anyway. After all, I haven’t really left the company. June 18 is my official last day with them and I still have a long way to go. So they encouraged me to do the survey anyway.

Naturally, I said to them:

Don’t tell anyone.

Not that it mattered, though. I doubt it would. Like I said, I am still an employee. The only difference is that I don’t go in to office anymore.

Of course their response was (yep, you guessed it):

Don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone.

But it felt like a disclaimer, you know, that it makes you feel better anyway when you tell someone not to tell anyone else. It makes you feel safe that your secret stays between you and your friends. It’s a disclaimer in life that you make to ensure they tell no one, even if you know you can trust them not to tell anyone. Sounds complicated, but it’s true.

Did you ever have to say it to your friends or you staunchly trusted your friends to keep things to themselves?