On the first day of our Eat Your Words course at Saint Mary’s, everyone was asked to give an introduction and to state which food, if any, they would be. Having just returned from the happiest place on earth the previous day, I thought of my favorite treats that are offered at the Disneyland resorts. What came to mind was the softly frozen pineapple dessert called a Dole Whip.
I told my peers that I would be Dole Whip if I could be a food because I know I’d be available in places that people love to escape to. Dole Whips are famously limited to Hawaii and the American Disney resorts. (I discovered it recently became available at an ice cream shop chain located on the west coast, however.) Because of where you can find Dole Whip, it, for me, means vacation and relaxation. They are a symbol of forgetting the stresses of daily life, and an encouragement to just enjoy myself a little.
The Tiki Juice Bar in Disneyland Resort’s Adventureland is where I most associate the dessert. It is a small oasis of a stand, where visitors queue up to get their own bowl of the tropical ice cream. May the weather be hot or cold, you can usually guarantee a line against the bamboo wall surrounding the Tiki Room attraction. When I approach the bar, it’s almost as if I momentarily stepped into a far-off island with the friendly smiles I’m greeted with, the heavy straw thatching above us, and the almost floral aroma of pineapples around us.
When I receive my dole whip, it’s a small treasure in the palm of my hand, it’s creamy soft-serve in a perfect tall spiral in its little rounded cup. I take my white plastic spoon against its buttery curves and appreciate its smoothness, like whipped buttercream frosting. Its light and refreshing, a satisfying balance of sweet and tart. I could swear they throw whole pineapples into their ice cream machines because the ice cream tastes so fresh and of real pineapple juice. Disneyland is my home away from home, but when I have one of these confections in my possession, I’m in paradise.