Town Crier: Hear sweet talk of ice cream sandwiches at the library

MONTCLARION: July 10, 2013

Some people dream about riches. Oakland’s Jennie Schacht dreams about rich food. The night her book “I Scream Sandwich!” was born, she was practically salivating.

“Thoughts of melty grilled cheese, whoopee pies, filled macaroons and Popsicles” were dancing in her head, and then suddenly she flashed on a childhood favorite — the ice cream sandwich.

“I had a sort of signature ice cream sandwich before writing the book,” she says, adding she’d make brownies with chocolate mint ice cream for special occasions. Now she has more than 40 ice cream sandwich recipes … and will share some in the Montclair Library at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Schacht is a culinary writer with several books under her belt, including “The Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook” and the soon-to-be released “Southern Italian Desserts.” The timing of her book “I Scream Sandwich!” seems perfect — given the sudden rebirth of this old-fashioned treat — especially in the Bay Area. But it was something she saw in Italy that really opened her eyes — and her taste buds.

“Two years ago, we traveled to Sicily, where we saw the locals rushing through the streets carrying scoops of gelato tucked inside brioche buns — for breakfast!” That sweet sighting made Schacht think “outside the carton” about these frozen delights.

Given the popularity of the ice cream sandwich, don’t be surprised if her upcoming talk draws a crowd. Not only will Schacht share recipes and sign copies of her book — she’ll give out free ice cream sandwiches. That’s what I call a sweet deal.

War memories: Kenneth Levin’s new novel, “Crazy Razor” is anything but sugarcoated. The local author is a decorated Vietnam War naval commander who lost his sight from exposure to Agent Orange.

“So he did what all blind veterans do, and wrote a book,” says his publicist, Robin Fahr. She says Levin’s candor about Vietnam can be quite disturbing, but then war is a terrible thing. “Crazy Razor” doesn’t just open old war wounds, it gives voice to Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army veterans, who Levin has interviewed in recent years. His book should be a great read as we continue to commemorate the 40th anniversary of U.S. military involvement in Vietnam.

Around town: Readers are asking why AC Transit is running so many number 18 buses through Montclair. “They’re coming every 10 minutes or so,” says one longtime resident, “and they’re virtually empty as they head for Solano Avenue.”

I don’t know what’s behind this odd mass transit schedule, but I see the potential. The number 18 could be used for a dine-around. Start the evening with drinks and appetizers in Montclair and then progress to North Berkeley for dinner at any number of celebrated restaurants. We’re paying for the service — we might as well get some use out of it.


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