How Strawberry Ice Cream Got the Short End of the Stick

In the class The Science of Well-Being, Professor Santos focuses on how we often look at our happiness not in an absolute way but by comparing ourselves to those around us. These thoughts about absolute vs. relative comparisons got me thinking about strawberry ice cream.

Whenever I eat strawberry ice cream, I think is pretty wonderful. It’s light, sweet, and just a little bit tangy. If I like strawberry ice cream so much, why am I surprised at this fact every time I eat it. I feel like I’m carrying some sort of bias against strawberry ice cream — but why?

I think it has something to do with the ice cream my grandmother used to serve. Whenever we’d have dinner at grandma’s house, we used to have Neopolitan ice cream for dessert.

Neopolitan Ice Cream Tub

Neopolitan ice cream is a combination of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream — which were the three most popular flavors when the ice cream was introduced. Compared to vanilla and chocolate, strawberry is the red-headed stepchild in this group — overlooked and underappreciated. Take a look at this list of people’s favorite ice creams (percent of the population is in parentheses)

  1. Vanilla (29%)
  2. Chocolate (9%)
  3. Butter Pecan (5%)
  4. Strawberry (5%)

And I realized, it’s not that strawberry isn’ t a wonderful flavor of ice cream, it’s just that it’s not nearly as good as its competitors.

So next time I eat my strawberry ice cream I need to enjoy it for what it is — a wonderful and glorious treat. I just can’t compare it to vanilla and chocolate.