Carvel..Fresh…Ice Cream! (The Mysterious Death of Tom Carvel?)

Anyone who has memories of Carvel Ice Cream will most certainly have the gravely voiced company founder Tom Carvel indelibly branded onto their brain. I know I do, but their is also a Carvel jingle from the mid-eighties that comes to mind whenever I spot a Fudgie the Whale. It might not have Tom’s voice, but it has the other hallmark of Carvel commercials, low production values.

The Mysterious Death of Tom Carvel?
While reading up on old Tom Carvel, I found some interesting articles related to his death. When he died in 1990, his niece Pamela was not convinced it was of natural causes. She thinks that Tom was killed by someone he thought was stealing from the company. It gets even more interesting after that, because other members of the Carvel clan leveled counter-accusations against Pamela, inferring that she herself was stealing from the company. When you read this stuff the Carvels come out sounding like the Medicis. The last piece of info I was able to find was from 2007 when members of the family went to court to ask that Carvel’s body be exhumed.


Carvel’s Cookie Puss

Cookie Puss is an ice cream cake character created by Carvel in the 1970s. From day one it was the gem in their crown of freshly made ice-cream cake products that are sold only in its stores (despite what you might hear from fans of Hug-Me Bear and Fudgie the Whale). According to Carvel Lore (is it not amazing that we live in a world where that “Carvel Lore” is a thing!), Cookie Puss is a space alien originally named “Celestial Person”. Since that was a mouthful and his initials were “C.P.”, he changed his name to Cookie Puss. What planet is Cookie Puss from? Planet Birthday of course!

Not many people know this, but in the Galactic Senate scenes in the new Star Wars trilogy, the Cookie Cake people of Planet Birthday were well represented.

microwavable milkshake

Microwavable Milkshakes from Micro Magic and reverse nostalgia

Microwavable Milkshakes? Yes! In the late eighties or early nineties, when I first became aware of the Microwavable Milkshakes from Micro Magic, I was hooked. After all, I loved milkshakes and I owned a microwave. What is not to love?

Turns out, according to modern opinion, I appear to be in the minority. When I asked some age peers about it recently, most of them groused about their consistency and flavor or just rolled their eyes about drinking a shake that you microwave.

It is not clear to me if people really felt this way or is this just some reverse nostalgia? Yes, I said reverse nostalgia.

I have yet to find the right words to describe this phenomenon. But if nostalgia is looking back on something with warm feelings. Reverse nostalgia is the eye-rolling snarkiness we see when people look back at something and say, “I can’t believe I/they used to enjoy that!” It is pervasive in the retro online community. While I find myself falling into it sometimes, I try and reserve it for larger societal issues and not microwavable milkshakes.

I would lump Microwavable milkshakes with oddly colored or styled clothing and simpler video game graphics. These are things worth discussing, but if done with a “can you believe this was a thing” smirk, you might be missing the point of why this stuff was important. Enjoyment of anything requires context. Nostalgia is mostly context.

I know reverse nostalgia is not a great term. If you have a better one, I would love to hear it.

Back to the Microwavable Milkshakes.

You had to watch these carefully and know your microwave when preparing them. Erring on the side of too little microwaving was always better. If you let them go too long, you made yourself a cup of ice cream soup. Which is pretty good, but not pleasantly drinkable with your microwavable burger and fries.

Microwavable Milkshakes still exist today. I occasionally see them in the supermarket, but have not picked them up. Why? Well, when I enjoyed them, I did not have money or a way to get to a real milkshake. Getting my Mom to buy me a box of these, was a major coup. I could have fast food while sitting on my couch. Nowadays, I just have too many options and when I want a milkshake, I can get to an ice cream parlor.

If you are not as lucky as I happen to be (being ice parlor adjacent), I say give microwaved shakes a try. I think you will find that they have the consistency/taste of a mediocre fast food shake. This is not great praise, but having an even mediocre shake at the ready at 1am, is pretty amazing thing.

Watch the Microwavable Milkshakes from Micro Magic Commercial