Here in New England, the Hoodsie Cup has been the saving grace of those who can’t decide between chocolate or vanilla ice cream since 1947. The 3 oz. paper cup neatly (well, nearly) divided in half by the two flavors is a product of the Massachusetts-based Hood dairy, and is one of the regional treats many New Englanders claim to miss the most after moving away, perhaps because they’re a lot harder to pack into a suitcase than a roll of Necco Wafers or six-pack of Moxie.
It might also be that, for many of us, Hoodsie Cups (or just plain “Hoodsies”) are a tastebud-reminder of childhood, when the cups were often handed out at birthday and classroom parties, summer cookouts, and church suppers. We remember pulling up on the little tab that peeled back the paper lid to reveal the ice cream below, and gleefully digging in with the accompanying wooden spoon, which was really just the shortened, hourglass-shaped equivalent of a tongue depressor.
Like the aforementioned Necco Wafers and Moxie, if you grew up with Hoodsies, you probably hang onto an ardent fondness for the little cups, but unlike Necco Wafers and Moxie, Hoodsies aren’t an acquired taste. In New England, where ice cream is king, the Hoodsie remains a popular treat nearly 70 years after their introduction. In fact, since Hood is the official ice cream brand of the Boston Red Sox, you can even show your Sox pride while enjoying a Hoodsie. We call that a win/win.
Today, Hoodsie Cups are sold at grocery stores in bags of 10. Since my memory of eating Hoodsies is so firmly coupled with the wooden spoon I thought there would be a stash of them in the bottom of the bag, but there wasn’t so I made do with a regular spoon, which didn’t feel right. Perhaps the wooden spoons are relegated to the convenience store ice cream freezer or ice cream truck?
Wooden spoon or not, the Hoodsie Cup remains a clear New England favorite. I was reminded of this a few years ago when my family got together to celebrate the 97th birthday of my great-great Uncle Jim, and when it was time for dessert, my grandmother leaned over to me and gestured toward the table, which was laden with cakes, cookies, gelatin salads, and yes…the familiar red and white cups. “Go get something for yourself,” she urged, “but when you do, can you bring me back a Hoodsie?”
I brought back two.