Before I get into the real topic of this post, observe the accompanying picture of a “Blue Raspberry and Lemon Swirl 2 Ball Screwball”. Who was it that came up with the idea of making raspberry flavoured products blue? Raspberries are not blue. They are not red either. They are a dark pinkish colour. If we don’t watch out there will be a generation of kids growing up who really believe that raspberries are blue. Mind you, I wonder how much real raspberry flavour actual goes into a “blue raspberry” flavoured product?
Minor moan out of the way, back to the subject in hand. Screwball Ice Creams are those that come in a plastic cone shaped container, and underneath all the ice cream you have a ball of bubblegum (sometimes two). Pre-packaged screwballs often tend to contain a flavoured ice cream such as raspberry ripple (or the aformentioned blue raspberry and lemon swirl), but you could also get them from the ice cream van where they would be composed of that lovely soft pumped vanilla ice cream (Mr. Whippy as many call it – what’s its real name I wonder?) and your choice of topping sauce squirted over the top. I’m sure you still can get them from the ice cream van today, except the tinkly sound of Greensleeves or Pop Goes The Weasel sadly doesn’t seem to play very often around our way any more.
Whether mass produced or soft ice cream, eating your Screwball meant using a little plastic or wooden spoon to dig out the ice cream. The plastic spoons were best, looking like little brightly coloured shovels. The wooden spoon wasn’t so much a spoon as a rounded off flat spatula, and it could give you that fingers on a chalkboard feeling if your teeth brushed against it. You also had to be careful with the mass produced Screwballs in case they had been too deeply frozen, which risked you breaking your little spoon if you didn’t wait for it to thaw out a little first.
By the time you got to the end of the Screwball and were within reach of the bubblegum you usually ended up with a little pool of melted ice cream at the bottom which was tinged with little strands of colour from the bubblegum ball itself. This looked quite pretty, and was also good because it helped soften the bubblegum a little so it was easier to chew. Unfortunately though, the bubblegum was often the worst part of the package, not tasting very pleasant and normally reducing in size to something that wasn’t really enough to blow bubbles with anyway.