OPINION COLUMNS

The dinosaur that could have been

By David Talley | Published Saturday, August 6, 2016
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Messenger reporters Racey Burden and David Talley went on a quest to sample the most exotic snow cone flavors they could find. Below are the results of their taste tests.

The selections: dill pickle, honeysuckle, brown cow, Napoleon Dynamite and dinosaur.

We’re back. And, just for you, we’ve subjected ourselves to another grueling task of sampling some of Wise County’s finer foods.

While chips and salsa can be enjoyed year-round, snow cones are a seasonal treat. Now that it’s August, you only have a few weeks left to heed our advice.

Our mission wasn’t just to sample snow cones, but sample the weirdest shaved ice flavors. While some were obviously going to be weird (looking at you dill pickle and brown cow, which is chocolate milk), others we picked based on their names alone. I imagined dinosaur wouldn’t taste exactly like its name, and hopefully the same for Napoleon Dynamite.

While almost all of the flavors listed above were sweet, dill pickle was decidedly not. That isn’t necessarily a character flaw. Pickles are not sweet. Pickle snow cones are not sweet.

But the pickle snow cone doesn’t necessarily taste like a pickle or even pickle juice (I drank pickle juice to confirm this). It tastes like a concentrated pickle.

Somehow, it’s way stronger, almost overpowering. I’ve heard other snow cone connoisseurs list pickle among their favorites, but I can’t get on board.

While dill pickle was strong, honeysuckle was basically the opposite. It was sweet, but a little underwhelming.

Wikipedia describes honeysuckle as an “arching shrub,” and that sounds about right. It was as sweet as a plant can ever aspire to be. However, this isn’t a farmers market. We want unadulterated sugar.

Brown cow is basically chocolate milk over ice. Our snow cone sample date was Wednesday around 3 in the afternoon, so the heat was a factor. Milk does not complement a hot day.

I don’t have a lot else to say because it seems like something you can make at home, even though I don’t really know why you’d want to. Chocolate milk is perfectly fine drank directly from the carton. Yes, it can be made into a snow cone, but to quote Dr. Ian Malcom from Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

I’m not really sure how Napoleon Dynamite is supposed to taste like Jon Heder’s title character in the movie of the same name, but like the movie, it was surprisingly good. The snow cone had that traditional sweetness and mostly nondescript flavor that can only be described by color. This one tasted like red.

Dinosaur did not taste like dinosaur, thankfully. It tasted really good with a flavor that can only be described as purple. While I assume this is a reference to a certain kid-loving purple dinosaur, whose name we may not be able to use for copyright purposes, I’d like to point out how awesome this snow cone could have been, had it referenced actual dinosaurs. I’ll throw a quote in from the book “Dinosaurs: The Very Latest Information and Hands-On Activities From the Museum of the Rockies” written by Liza Charlesworth and Bonnie Sachatello-Sawyer:

“Because large modern-day warm-blooded animals, such as elephants and rhinoceroses, tend to be dully colored, many scientists think that dinosaurs were, too. But other paleontologists say the opposite is true – that dinosaurs’ skin could have been shades of purple, orange, red, even yellow with pink and blue spots!”

My point is, this snow cone could have been more creatively colored given current research.

So there they are, five pretty weird snow cone flavors. Dinosaur could have been my favorite, but I’m hung up on the color combinations that could have been. Therefore, my vote is for Napoleon Dynamite.

David Talley is a reporter for the Messenger, and although the dinosaur flavor was intriguing, his all-time favorite snow cone flavor is orange.