There are a lot of desserts named after different weather phenomena, but while some pack a whollop, others are pretty mild. We asked legendary Oklahoma meteorologist Gary England, who's spent the past 40 years predicting severe weather in Tornado Alley, to help us rank some of these desserts based on the severity of their namesake weather system. Here are his rankings:
1. Blizzard (Dairy Queen)
2. 31 Below (Baskin-Robbins)
3. Cyclone (now the Friend-Z, from Friendly's)
4. Carvelanche (Carvel)
5. McFlurry (McDonald's)
Honorable mention went to:
Mr. Misty (Dairy Queen)
The Sonic Blast was disqualified due to the fact that it is named for an audio phenomenon rather than a meteorological one.
Gary and I did invent one more weather-themed dessert especially for Oklahoma: the Shattuck Tornado. Named after a small town in western Oklahoma (pop. 1356), the Shattuck Tornado is cherry cobbler topped with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, and a drizzle of Gary's secret weapon -- chocolate vodka.
Before serving, use a fork to mix it all up, so it looks like a tornado ran through it. Here's what it looks like:
During our conversation, Gary also talks about what he likes to eat after a long day in the thick of tornado season and I reference a poem I wrote about the Dairy Queen Blizzard. Here's what I looked like around the time I discovered the DQ Blizzard, a seminal food in my development as an eater:
Also in this episode, I talk to Professor Paul Breslin about how weather affects our tastes. Breslin studies taste perception at Rutgers University and is a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, researching taste perception.
Photo: Flickr CC / RoxTues