NYU Students Feel the Bern, Not So Much ‘Bernie’s Yearning’

Sanya Sareen
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield introduce their new ice cream flavor, "Bernie's Yearning" to people in Washington Square Park.

In what might be the sweetest endorsement of the year, Ben and Jerry unveiled an ice cream flavor inspired by Bernie Sanders on Thursday, April 7. The two men, who collectively rule NYU students’ dining dollars, were distributing their tasty creation in Union Square.

Ice ­cream and political enthusiasts alike came together at 5 p.m., when Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield distributed free sundaes named “Bernie’s Yearning,” in anticipation of the upcoming New York primaries. ­Cohen, who originally came up with the flavor, created 40 pints of the ice cream in his own kitchen in honour of the presidential candidate. Sanders is the first contender the duo has ever campaigned for.

“We’ve never campaigned for another presidential candidate before because there’s never been a presidential candidate worth campaigning for before,” Cohen said in an interview with NPR.

In the same interview Greenfield added, “Bernie is unique. He’s a politician who comes along once in a generation. Obviously, Hillary Clinton was much better known, but I think what we’re seeing is that when more people learn about Bernie and his history in the civil rights struggle, people are getting incredibly excited.”

Gallatin freshman Jenna Polan noted the turnout and energy at the event as good signs for Sanders’ campaign.

“I think events like these are great indicators for what’s happening in the election,” Polan said. “Sanders is winning more and more states and the attendance at events and rallies is growing as well. I think people are really excited about him, and if everyone votes he has a clear shot at the White House.”

Unfortunately, the ice cream will not be sold in stores. “Bernie’s Yearning” is not associated with Ben & Jerry’s actual brand, which was sold to Unilever in 2000 and is now being distributed under the title “Ben’s Best.”

But how does democracy in action translate into an ice cream? To answer everyone’s questions, Cohen posted a video on his website berniesyearning.com describing the idea behind the recipe.

“It’s essentially mint chocolate chip ice cream, but all the chips have gone up to the top, and that’s where all the money is,” Cohen said. “Below that, in the rest of the 99 per cent, it’s nothing. So how you eat it is, you take your big, heavy spoon and you whack the thick chocolate slab and you break it up into little pieces and soften it up. Then you take your spoon and you mix the entire ice cream up, distributing the money where it should actually go. So in your little pint at least, you can finally spread the wealth.”

Although the message may be clear, the ice cream itself received some mixed reviews. Sherrilyn Ling, a freshman in Liberal Studies and an avid Ben & Jerry’s fan, wasn’t impressed by “Bernie’s Yearning.”

“It was really boring to be honest — basically just a scoop of vanilla with a piece of chocolate in it — but I didn’t mind because they were feeding a lot of people,” Ling said. “I was there to meet Ben and Jerry and didn’t care as much about the free ice cream.”

Following the popularity of the event, Senator Barbara Boxer, focusing on the big issues, pitched a Hillary Clinton-­themed ice cream flavour to Jerry Greenfield called the “HRC Herstoric Raspberry Chocolate.” Greenfield has not yet commented, but there may be more politically themed ice-cream cooking in the future.

Email Sanya Sareen at [email protected]

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