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A Root Beer Float To Cure The Cancer Blues

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Sep 21, 2015
A Root Beer Float To Cure The Cancer Blues

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

When it comes to root beer floats, Chris in Michigan is a purist. But his daughter Lilly, who's 25 and lives in Denver now, is an innovator:

"I do all different types of ice cream. I’ll even go chocolate sometimes,” Lilly says. "Whereas my Dad’s more of a traditionalist and he’s a strict vanilla guy."

This week on The Sporkful, Lilly and her dad Chris call in for advice on their different root beer float strategies.

In the course of the conversation it becomes clear that there's much more at stake here than root beer float supremacy. Chris is battling cancer, and lately he and Lilly have bonded over their love of this classic treat.

"I go for chemotherapy and after that, I’m so tired," Chris explains. "And the root beer float always lifts my spirits. It makes me happy."


Root beer floats are powerful stuff, and they bring out powerful emotions. So as much as Chris and Lilly love each other, they don't mince words when they disagree.

Their differences begin with ice cream selection. Lilly uses lots of small glasses to carefully manage her ratios of ice cream to root beer as she slurps her floats. But Chris prefers to load a huge glass with ice cream, add a few splashes of root beer, and wing it from there.

"He definitely has more ice cream [than me]," Lilly says of her Dad's approach.

"Ever since I was a kid, I’ve only done it one way," Chris counters. "And I love it.”

Can a house divided by root beer floats stand? I'll weigh in on Chris and Lilly's float feud.

Listen to the full episode to hear my own approach, and more importantly, for an episode that's about so much more than root beer and ice cream.

Plus, Chris and Lilly's call reminds me that I haven't yet introduced my own daughters -- Emily, 2 1/2, and Becky, 5 -- to root beer floats. So later in the show, Mrs. Sporkful and I whip up some floats and give our girls their first taste of this fizzy, creamy treat. Listen in to hear how they react. (Hint: there were tears.)

Do you remember what it was like to taste a root beer float for the first time? Tell me about it in the comments or send me a tweet.

This week's episode of The Sporkful podcast is up! Listen through the player or iTunes/Podcasts app. (And please subscribe!)

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Interstitial music in this episode by BWN Music:

- "Mother Tucker" by Steve Pierson

Photos: FlickrCC/Chris; FlickrCC/Makia Minich; courtesy of Lilly and Chris M.

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