Dang y'all the weathermen have gone and done it! Yessiree Bob...the prediction for this weekends weather was and I do quote, "Blow torch weather". Uh huh! I'm not talking hot flashes of the hormonal kind, nuh uh! I'm talking blast you right out of your sandals and flip flop weather! I'm talking men in wife beater shirts are complaining they have on too much clothing! Momma don't dare let that bebe out in that blisterin' heat if you wanna save her precious skin!
How would you cool down from temperatures of the scorching variety? I'll tell you how I would.
Down in New Orleans there is a really 'sweet' solution for that kind of heat. It's cold and icy and oh so divinely delicious. In parts of the country these said treat are known as sno-cones or snow cones. Those are not the REAL DEAL. In the Big Easy they are only called one thing...Snow Balls. These are not your ordinary, top off the crushed ice with some flavored 'run of the mill syrup' kinda treat. Nope. First off the ice is shaved ice in a splintered soft form. It is made in specially patented machines in many of the snow ball stands. It is the first step toward an icy, ambrosial delicacy. The syrup flavors are in the zillions. Definitely. I'm not exaggerating on the number. You can go from your purist grape, strawberry, orange and lemon to Popeyes, Morgus (named for a much celebrated local tv persona from the 1950's), watermelon, bubblegum, coconut and on and on ad not nauseam. Your chosen nectar of the gods is then poured, drenching the shaved ice until the cup almost runneth over! Do we stop with just flavored syrup you may be asking. OH non, non, non mon cheri! We move on to your choice of toppings on the syrup. Condensed milk, cream, whipped cream, and evaporated milk. Nuts? Cherries? Flaked coconut? Why but of course! Is it sinfully rich, perhaps. Does it satisfy the need for freeze? Definitely!
Would you serve such a master piece only accompanied with a straw? Well maybe SOME would, but not in the tropical heat wave city of New Orleans. Straws and spoons are abundant in the Snow Ball stands of the Crescent City. In a city known for it's sweltering heat, simply using a straw does not accomplish the chill thrill in the speed required. Spooning shaved ice snow balls is as necessary as pinching tails and sucking heads of crawfish!
You should know it is hard to travel ten blocks in the city without spotting a neighborhood Snow Ball Stand. Most of them are hole in the wall stands or sheds in a crushed shell parking lot. The one my family and I frequented was a block away from our neighborhood elementary school. I remember how exciting it was when they would open the stand for the season. We would be chomping at the bit to be the first in a LONG line of children, parents and grandparents waiting for the first brain freeze of the season. Oh and the season for a New Orleans snow ball stand is lonnng; typically starts around Easter, (even if it is an early Easter) and goes until Halloween.
Here's to one of the finest creations of summer...my favorite prescription for Blow Torch weather. Cheers to the New Orleans Snow Balls! Sadly, I will have to settle for the mundane and pedestrian sno cones of North Cackalacky. I weep as I perspire!
PS...The photograph above is my actual snow ball stand of choice. This was near the New Orleans lakefront. There are zillions others each known for a trademark creation of their own.
PSS...North Cackalacky BBQ beats all other BBQ so please don't be offended if you are a native Tarheel.