A Love Letter to the Humble Summer Popsicle

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I’m probably one of the moms you find annoying during the school year. I try and pack my kids traditionally “healthy” lunches and snacks, heavy on fruits, always includes veggies, but also throw in a fun treat that they really want. Sometimes it’s a bag of chips or a dessert, but always as an addition to their healthy lunch, not as a replacement. And then summer hits, and it’s popsicles everywhere, anywhere, all the time. The summer popsicle is my favorite humble seasonal food, here’s why.

You know which popsicles I’m talking about. Maybe you don’t really know the brand name or call them Otter Pops no matter which type you pick up. You might not even know or care whether you have Polar Freeze or an off-brand version sitting in the freezer.

We buy them out of huge, cardboard display bins at the grocery store. They’re still in their liquid form, all hues of bright green and purple. Then we throw the whole netting package into the freezer while our kids ask again and again, “Are they ready?”

Those summer popsicles taste like my childhood. The first, intense rush of flavor after you snip off the top of the plastic tubing. Then the taste of near flavorless ice after you accidentally sucked up too much of the liquid.

And who can forget when you couldn’t find scissors or were stuck outside, so you had to tear into the plastic with your teeth? The sharp edges that rubbed against the edges of our mouths. The heat on our faces and shoulders, our freezing hands gripping our freeze pops.

Getting mad at your sibling when they took the last red one. Taking the last purple in retaliation.

Marveling at how new popsicles seemed to miraculously reappear in the freezer on a weekly basis.

Now I’m the person magically restocking the popsicles and then sending a couple of kids to eat them out in the backyard. Even enjoying one of my own every now and then. And you know what? The magic is still there.

It’s just a long plastic tube filled with ice, food dye, and more sugar than any doctor would probably ever recommend. Nothing special. And yet in the summertime it transforms into a completely magical tool of fun and happiness. You could always make your own, but why would you ever want to?

It doesn’t matter how old you are. Whether you’re three or thirteen or thirty. That summer popsicle or freeze pop or whatever you feel like calling it is the most magical food in the whole entire world and I’ll never give them up. So thank you, humble summer popsicle, for always being there through sweltering days and muggy summer nights. Life would never be the same without you.

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