This post from Gastronomy Student Caitlin Bueno continues our series from students in Anthropology of Food.
Cabot’s Ice Cream & Restaurant is “a family owned and operated old-fashioned ice cream parlor and restaurant” in Newton, MA. The restaurant, known for its ice cream sundaes, also has a full menu serving breakfast all-day, and diner fare such as burgers, soup du jour and daily specials. Cabot’s, opened since 1969, emphasizes its mission to “provide quality, value, service and consistency to all…customers” in several locations on its website. At Cabot’s, nostalgia is served on a silver platter, a treat for all five senses.
Sitting at the restaurant counter, my eyes are immediately drawn to the oversized, colorful and enticing sundaes that are moving quickly out of the central ice cream workstation. The restaurant smells very sweet, understandable with the volumes of ice cream and toppings present, but also has the faint smell of fried foods, coming from the kitchen in the back of the restaurant. The dining room is lively and filled with sound. There are many customers laughing, wait staff talking, the soft serve and milkshake machines whirring, dishes placed on the stone counter and into clearing bins, glass clanging against the metal ice cream workstation, and noise coming from the kitchen. The floor and counter are sticky, inevitable from the overfilled, dripping sundaes enjoyed around the restaurant.
Finally, the taste of nostalgia – mint chocolate chip ice cream with hot fudge and fresh whipped cream. The experience at Cabot’s communicates nostalgia, though the food, atmosphere and décor. Handmade, cold, sweet, creamy and rich, a sundae that is hard to find in our modern fast-food nation.