Funny Stuff

Guy who named Rocky Road was going through some shit

Clarence Grange, 97, a confectioner who owned and operated a chain of popular ice cream parlours in the 1930s and 40s and invented many beloved flavours, says that in retrospect, he was “really going through a hellish load of shit” in his personal life the day he named Rocky Road.

OAKLAND, CA—Clarence Grange, 97, a confectioner who owned and operated a chain of popular ice cream parlours in the 1930s and 40s and invented many beloved flavours, says that in retrospect, he was "really going through a hellish load of shit" in his personal life the day he named Rocky Road.

"It was my third divorce. Barbara was surprise-divorcing me," Grange explains. "She up and left me smack in the middle of a pork roast! So it was a dark and uncertain time for me emotionally."

Grange acknowledges that of all the sweet, simple, and extremely literal flavour names he chose over the years – Chocolate Chip, Cookies 'N Cream, Strawberry – Rocky Road was the only name into which he just straight-up dumped his existential anguish and deep-seated anxiety about his future.

"Perhaps it was somewhat alarming for the children," Grange muses. Shortly after introducing Rocky Road to the world, Grange recalls a shy seven-year-old boy coming by the shop after school one evening and asking excitedly about the new flavour.

"He wanted to know what it meant," Grange says. "So I knelt down, really got on his level, and I told him: Son, sometimes in life, the path gets cold and lonely. Your loved ones abandon you in the blink of an eye. You spend every waking moment questioning the choices you've made that led you to this moment. That's the message behind this sinfully delicious fusion of chocolate and marshmallow and walnuts. That feeling of abject terror and your own insignificance in the universe? That's what I want you to think about with every lick."

Grange says in hindsight that may have been "a bit much."

"That boy never returned," he says. "Ever."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sophie Kohn

Writer/Producer

Sophie Kohn is writer and producer with CBC Comedy, a stand-up comedian in Toronto, and a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program.

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