Big Gay Ice Cream: Saucy Stories & Frozen Treats: Going All the Way with Ice Cream

Author: Bryan Petroff, Doug Quint, & Anthony Bourdain

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links:  Amazon

Type: Cookbook

Purchased by Reviewer


Blurb: Welcome to Big Gay Ice Cream’s debut cookbook, a yearbook of ice cream accomplishments—all the recipes you need to create delicious frozen treats

• New to making ice cream at home? Never fear—freshman year starts off simple with store-bought toppings and shopping lists for the home ice cream parlor.
• Sophomore year kicks it up a notch with tasty sauces and crunchy toppings.
• Junior year puts your new skills to work with shakes, floats, and sundaes inspired by some of Big Gay Ice Cream’s top-selling treats, including, of course, the Salty Pimp.
• In Senior year, get serious with outrageously delicious sorbets and ice cream recipes.

Along the way, you can enjoy Bryan and Doug’s stranger-than-fiction stories, cheeky humor, vibrant photography and illustrations, and plenty of culinary and celebrity cameos (including an introduction by Headmaster Anthony Bourdain).


Review:  Spring is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s when ice cream books are released. This year brought me Big Gay Ice Cream. These are the recipes from the Big Gay Ice Cream chain of stores and trucks, primarily in NYC but there is a shop in both LA and Philadelphia. Of course I had to have this book. It’s big, it’s gay, and it’s ice cream. What’s not to love? The book is set up like a high school year book. I found that both bizarre and practical. At the start of Freshman year you’re not doing much. Just matching tasty things together. By the end of Senior year you’re making everything from the toppings to the ice cream itself. So, that’s really practical, right? I still find it bizarre, and I’m sort of left thinking, “This is why I’ll never be one of the cool kids.” My picture should be in here with the caption, “Fears Change.” But anyway, the progression of flavor pairings and recipes makes a lot of sense, and the yearbook format allowed for a lot of whimsical imagery and insets especially when the school mascots are a unicorn and Bea Arthur.

The flavors and flavor combinations in this book range from tried and true to trendy. You’ll always need to know how to make vanilla ice cream with a hard chocolate shell. I’m not so sure there will always be a call for chocolate ice cream with Old Bay seasoning, but I really want to try it. The main focus of the book isn’t the creation of the ice creams themselves but how to best pair ice creams with various toppings and specific instructions are given for the cones, sundaes, and shakes available in the stores. You too can make a Salty Pimp or a Bea Arthur at home! And, most importantly, a recipe for Awesomsauce has been written down and preserved for future generations. As has a recipe for Frankensauce which is based on kimchi. It’s cabbage-less and unfermented. That’s probably a good thing.

I wanted to be more impressed by this book than I was. The trendy flavor combinations are very much part of a trend and are not themselves innovative, for the most part. Chocolate with Old Bay seasoning is really just chocolate flavored with chili and has been around since the Aztec empire. In many ways this book is a how to/memoir for starting an ice cream company. It’s an interesting read, for sure, but if you’re looking for innovation and cutting edge flavors this book isn’t it. If you’re looking to please a crowd of people with flavors that are old stand-bys as well as more challenging yet established combinations this book is definitely for you.

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