Whoever said you can't buy happiness, never bought ice cream.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black sent Red an email linking to what she thought was a fascinating article about the competitive ice cream industry, and Red rolled her eyes, thinking, "My sister can't even enjoy something as simple as ice cream without analyzing it."


But then, for Red, ice cream isn't just a food – it's an indulgence, an experience, and a trip down memory lane. Back to a time when ice cream was simpler, as was life. Well before the ice cream section of the grocery store overwhelmed you with too many choices (was there ever a time when the only options were vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry?), although she'll admit a pint of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia and a spoon is all you need to make a bad day better.

Of course, the mention of Ben & Jerry reminds Black of how their ice cream somehow became political. She can understand the internal battles of whether the guilty pleasure of ice cream is worth the calories (she compromises by eating only a spoonful or two), or even arguing with someone over the "best flavor" (even chefs have favorite store-bought ice cream flavors), but the only connection between ice cream and politics should be related to the history of ice cream. (It was first introduced in America when we were still colonies. Later, President George Washington supposedly spent $200, a lot of money in those days, to satisfy his ice cream cravings, while Thomas Jefferson's credited with the first American ice cream recipe.)

Fast forward to today, and our love of ice cream is stronger than ever (and big business), whether fueled by the pandemic and our desire for "comfort food" or us wanting to return the simple pleasures, albeit with more sophisticated flavors. Black watches as there's a battle brewing (or should we say, churning) between artisanal ice cream shops opening throughout Houston, but Red sums it up best,

Whether it's the cheapest scoop out there or it seems more like a car payment (ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but if there's three or four of you, it adds up), ice cream's one of life's greatest pleasures and always brings a smile to my face. Especially when it's one of those shops where you can smell the freshly baked cones before you even walk in the door. Then it's a treat for all your senses.

Happy Meals. Lasik surgery. A Supreme Court justice. Any idea what these three things have in common?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as a week-long event, Red, the straight-A student and lover of history, is a bit embarrassed that she didn't know about it, but the theater major in her realizes they're under-represented (and misrepresented) in the movies. When we talked about the comparison of "In The Heights" to "West Side Story," Black wasn't only focused on the business aspects but also how it reflects the times, and now is interested in the many contributions (including patents) made by Latinx, and the need for inclusion and diversity.

P.S. – We were both curious why the month-long celebration begins mid-month (September 15) and discovered it's in honor of the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries.

Can something be "new" if it's made with "old" ingredients?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black's fascinated by the business and marketing aspects of food mash-ups (especially the multi-generational angle), while Red's excited that her beloved Dunkin' has collaborated with Post Cereals and there's now Dunkin' cereal (and both of us love the tag line, "Now you can have your coffee and eat it, too!). Funny thing is that we've all probably been doing our own "mash-ups" for years (ok, maybe not Black).

As the song says, "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, they say there's always magic in the air on Broadway" … and now it's all coming back!

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although we live in Texas, we're originally from New York, and as different as we are, one thing we have in common is a love of Broadway, so we're excited about the re-opening of Broadway, even if for very different reasons.

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