Another glorious, Winnipeg summer is in full swing, but the wounds inflicted upon us by Winter 2013 -- one of the longest and chilliest in recent memory -- remain fresh.
"The entire month of April, all I talked about with friends, family -- even strangers -- was snow," says Jenna Khan, weather specialist for City-TV's Breakfast Television.
Kate Gajdosik, weather anchor for Global Winnipeg's Evening News and News Hour Final, concurs. "Everybody had one question on their mind: 'When is this going to melt?'"
"Even running out to the grocery store became painful," pipes in CTV News' Colleen Bready. "People seemed to want someone to blame for the winter that wouldn't end."
Normally we're not the type to dredge up bad memories. But a couple of weeks ago we called upon Khan, Gajdosik and Bready -- along with CBC meteorologist John Sauder, retired Environment Canada prognosticator Ron Carman and the Free Press's weekend weather guru Doug Speirs -- to discuss blizzards and flurries. Check that: McFlurries.
July 21 is National Ice Cream Day. To celebrate that sweet bit of news, we organized a taste-test of ice cream treats named for climatic conditions. And who better to judge, we figured, than Winnipeg's weather intelligentsia...
Free Press: We'll kick things off with an easy question: growing up, did you have a favourite ice cream spot?
John: Mine was a little mom-and-pop place called the Dairy Scoop on Cavalier. It's been gone a long time.
Doug: I grew up in Vancouver and we'd go to Peter's Ice Cream Parlour. They had this thing -- it was a scoop of every flavour of ice cream on the menu. I'd head there with a couple of friends and it would take us, like, two hours to finish.
Kate: We used to go to Dutch Maid on Osborne. That place was like a wonderland when we were young... I remember barely being able to see over the glass into the barrels of ice cream below.
Colleen: I forgot about Dutch Maid. There was another one on Portage Avenue -- that's the one we went to.
Jenna: I grew up in Steinbach and went to a little convenience store called Grocer.
Doug: Grosser? That doesn't sound very appealing.
Jenna: No, it was like a grocery store, only smaller so it was called Grocer.
John: Let me guess -- they opened up a second outlet and called it Even Grosser.
FP: Last of the easy questions: what's your favourite flavour of ice cream?
Doug: Pick one flavour? That's like asking me which of my children I like best.
Jenna: That's easy: mint chocolate chip.
John: No way! That's mine, too; it's the best.
Doug: I'd like to change my answer: mint chocolate chip is my least favourite.
Ron: The best ice cream I've had lately is from Safeway -- it's Lucerne Mocha Almond Fudge.
Colleen: I can't remember what the one I like is called; I get it at Dairy Queen and it's this double chocolate fudge thingie.
John: Georgia Mud Fudge?
Colleen: Yes, that's it exactly. How did you know?
John: I know ice cream. I run so that I can eat.
FP: Today you're going to sample four different treats: an Oreo Blizzard from Dairy Queen and three different Oreo flurries -- one each from McDonald's, Licks Ice Cream Patio (20 Britannica Rd.) and Dairy Delight (467 St. Anne's Rd.). First up is Licks.
Colleen: At first glance, the pieces of Oreo aren't big enough, which is a huge deciding factor whether or not I'm going to be happy with my dessert.
Jenna: I like the smoothness of it -- the fact it's not that chunky.
Kate: I do, too. It's really creamy.
John: I can't decide. I'm going to need at least two more spoonfuls.
Ron: It's very nice -- I'm really enjoying it.
Doug: It is good -- I don't know if I can say great just yet but on a hot day, I'm happier now than I was a couple of minutes ago.
FP: Oreo furry No. 2 is from Dairy Delight.
Jenna: It's not as creamy as the first one -- that's my initial impression.
Kate: Agreed. And it tastes a bit synthetic to be honest.
Colleen: I definitely liked the first one better.
John: Me, too. The first one was like steady flurries but this one is more like...
Kate: Scattered flurries.
FP: All right, next up is the McDonald's McFlurry. Be sure to tell us if the extra "Mc" makes a difference.
Kate: This one looks more Oreo-y -- if that's a word -- right from the get-go. Just watching you scoop it into my cup, it seems like there's more togetherness.
Ron: That's because all the Oreo crumbs are on top. There's going to be nothing left by the time he gets to me and John. I want to change seats.
Jenna: It appears chunkier than it is; I can't taste the Oreo as much as I thought I would.
Colleen: And it seems to be standing up better to the temperature; the ice cream isn't melting as fast.
John: Once in a while they used to have media days where we'd get to work at McDonalds; I've actually made McFlurries. I even asked the supervisor, 'You're seriously going to put me in charge of the ice cream machine?'
Doug: I worked there, too. That's when I realized how hard it is to work at McDonalds. I wouldn't last more than a day; I'd punch somebody at the drive-thru.
FP: Last but not least here's the Oreo Blizzard, from Dairy Queen.
Doug: This is getting more and more difficult; I was in a cheesecake taste-test once and after about 30 slices, they all started to taste the same.
John: I've had the same problem with rum.
Ron: I'd say this is tied with the first one. Licks was creamier but this has more Oreo, so it's kind of a trade-off.
Kate: I like the cookie aftertaste -- the Oreo really stays with you.
Colleen: I just got a full bite of Oreo -- and that's a good thing.
FP: On a side note, when is it more fun to report the weather -- summer or winter?
Ron: In the winter, when something like a Colorado low is building up, you have three days ahead of time to predict. In the summer, thunderstorm cells can pop up just like that and you're sort of in panic mode. You should see our office when severe weather hits.
Kate: Same thing in the newsroom. When thunderstorms are rolling in from the west it's absolute chaos; the lineup gets juggled and weather becomes the top story.