Rough Towels

The best chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream I’ve ever had I ate around ten years ago somewhere between Boston, Mass and Burlington, Vermont. David and I were driving to a Labor Day weekend wedding, and we stopped in a small town for a treat. The ice cream was luscious and thick, encasing chunks of cookie dough as big as cookies. The chocolate chips were thinly shaved melting in our mouths, and the sugar crystals in the dough ground between our teeth with a satisfying crunch.

I’m grateful for having tasted this ice cream but at the same time forlorn that the experience set the bar so high for any future chocolate chip cookie doughs I might encounter.

The towels on hand at our Airbnb in Brussels, Belgium many summers later set a similar lofty bar. They were bleach white, thin, and harsh against the skin, scraping off water and providing an invigorating exfoliation at the same time. We were only in Brussels for a weekend out of a trip of several weeks, but the memory of these towels followed me home to where my own towels, worn and soft from several years use, waited for me.

This year, as some of those same towels had started unraveling into threads at their edges, we decided to ask for replacements for Christmas. Thoughts of the standard setting Belgian towels occupied my mind as I composed my holiday wish list. I did a tentative Google search for “rough towels” in a regular browser (even though the term was titillating enough that I thought perhaps I should go incognito).

The results were unsatisfying. Turns out most every towel is advertised as soft.

I eventually settled on a thin waffle weave towel in pewter. Luckily, even though they were described as soft, the textured fabric provided enough roughness that I went ahead and ordered similar hand towels and wash clothes. Now for the first time in my life I have a full set of matching towels.

And all this talk of waffles has me wondering about one key detail of my ice cream experience that I can’t recall: did I choose a cup or a cone?

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