I originally intended to post this story about Fudgie the Whale in November, but I couldn’t get my ish together in time for my actual birthday, so I decided to shelf it until next year. But then I got to thinking and what better time to drop a story about the country’s greatest ice cream cake than during the 12 days of the “Big Guy’s” birthday celebration. Am I right? But “that” thinking, got me to even more thinking and I’m just gonna say it. “Why isn’t birthday cake a Christmas “thing”. You have geese laying eggs, leaping lords and pipers piping, but no birthday cake?
The Italians have a Feast of Seven Fishes (shouldn’t it just be fish), the Polish have their Forest Mushroom Soup and every culture seems to have a Three Wisemen Cake, but what happened to Jesus’s Birthday Cake. I gotta be honest, this feels like a huge oversight, if you ask me. But I'm not a religious guy so this is something you all should figure out. Just say'n.
Wait, Tell Me More About this Fudgie the Whale?
I just assumed everyone had Fudgie on
their Top 5 famous whales list right there with Willy, Shamu and Mr. Narwhal from Elf, but after a quick survey that's necessarily the case. For those of you that didn't grow up in the Northeast or don't know, Fudgie the Whale is Carvel's signature ice cream cake. A layer of soft serve vanilla separated by a chocolatey layer of cookie crunchies and another layer of chocolate ice cream crammed inside mold. The entire frozen mammal is smothered with fudge, outlined in whip cream and given a frosty eye and smile. This has always been my preferred birthday cake, with that addictive crunchy center being the star of the show.
While the cake is available for all occasions, Fudgie was actually "birthed" on June 1, 1977 as a Father's Day promotion; with the slogan "For a Whale of a Dad." Carvel owner and spokesman Tom Carvel was a man of many talents. Not only did he create the regional ice cream chain Carvel, but he is widely credited as being the father of soft serve ice cream when, in 1934, his ice cream truck got a flat tire but he managed to sell out of his melting stock. This gave him the idea for his super-secret soft serve ice cream recipe. He also patented the low temp ice cream machines which he then went on to sell to other shops, and eventually franchises.
Growing up as a child of the 80's in New Jersey, low budget, I'm talking public access quality, yet very effective commercials were just as much part of my afternoon WPIX cartoons as Scooby Doo. It seemed like every break a crazy advertisement with mutant auto-tuned ice cream monsters like Cookie Puss and flying ice cream saucers took over the boob tube. And Tom's unmistakably gravelly voice, which sounded like he might end all of this sentences with "hot cha cha cha cha", narrated everyone.
I'm only like two and half years older than Fudgie and he's been with me most of my life. We're like bros. But if you are unfamiliar with Carvel, I suggest you give Fudgie a go and maybe even consider making him part of your Christmas celebration tradition. You know, for the birthday boy.
And for the record, Fudgie's middle name really isn't Tiberius I just thought it would sound pretty bad ass if he shared the same one as Captain Kirk, which as I read this aloud makes me think that I'm a total nerd. Middle name or not, Fudgie is a bad mama jama.