A child of the 80s will most likely remember the Magnolia Flavor House, an ice cream place in Cubao, which, in retrospect, reminds me of the Archie hangout Pop Tate's. The Flavor House served fancy concoctions like peach melba, back when I was perfectly content with a chocolate sundae. It had this distinctive smell--a strange yet comforting mix of sweet and cold.
The place was adjacent to the factory, where grade school kids would go on field trips to see how ice cream was made. And at the back was an area which sold a much-loved, much-missed treat: the Magnolia ice cream cake.
The ice cream cake is long gone, so I just grabbed this photo from here.
For some reason, I've been missing Magnolia ice cream cake so much lately, and it saddens me that I will never ever taste it again--a few years ago, Magnolia was turned into a condo development. My last trip to the Flavor House was maybe eight years ago, when I had to revise a story I wrote for Reader's Digest. It was my first taste of some heavy-duty editing, and I needed Hamil's opinion and a banana split to help me through it. If I could have had ice cream cake, I would have, but it had been phased out years before. Even then, I missed it. To some people, it was just jazzed-up vanilla ice cream in a box, but to me, it meant so much more.
It tasted of anticipation--going to the old Magnolia felt like Christmas Eve. Waiting for that big, striped box containing our order was a lot like waiting for the clock to strike midnight so we could finally open our gifts.
It tasted of celebration--an ice cream cake meant a special occasion, a party at home, a chance to play with my cousins.
It tasted of wonder--I marveled at the dry ice in which the cake was packed. I was amazed at how it melted into nothing, and how we could make an instant fog machine when we dumped it into some water.
It tasted of novelty--cake AND ice cream in one? Possibly the best invention ever. Come to think of it, it might be why frozen brazo de mercedes is one of my absolute favorite cakes.
Most of all, it tasted of family--ice cream cake reminds me of my grandparents' house, trips to the ice creamery, and the neighborhood where I grew up.
I can't remember exactly what it looked like or even what it truly tasted like. But because of it, I remember so much more.