January 9, 2014

The word of the day is "foremost."

See the various posts below for context. [Here and here.] I think "foremost" is a funny, old-fashioned word. I remember it as a brand name for ice cream.





What bad ice cream from the 1960s do you remember? I remember Sealtest — I guess they tested the seal — and Crestmont. Crestmont chocolate chip ice cream was a major part of my diet when I was in high school. That and potato chips.

I see Foremost is still around and in fact it comes from "a rich tradition of dairying" in Wisconsin, specifically Baraboo and Milwaukee," so good. Wisconsin, good.

Anyway, "foremost" is an old word, and you don't have to be America's Foremost Etymologist to see that it's a compound of "fore," meaning at the front, and the superlative "most." The (unlinkable) OED shows the word going back to c1000, appearing in the West Saxon Gospels ("Seþe wyle betweox eow beon fyrmest sy he eower þeow") and even further to Old English ("Here wicode, eorlas ymb æðeling, egstreame neahon neaweste nihtlangne fyrst, þæs þe hie feonda gefær fyrmest gesægon.")

I'm inspired to write a poem:
Is ice cream
Too egstreame?
It is, for most
For others: Foremost!
ADDED: Meade read this post and inspired me to write another poem:
I scream
You scream
We all scream
When egstreamists intrude into American maynestreame politics
EEK! It's the Tea Party

46 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Foremost products weren't for everyone.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There used to be a bookstore in Philadelphia called Reedmore Books.

I thought that was kind of dumb.

traditionalguy said...


At age 8 My best friend's father was manager of Foremost Dairy's Buckhead plant, and we got a guided tour of the ice cream line. My father was a lowly CPA.

Paddy O said...

The kingdom of God belongs to the rearleast.

madAsHell said...

I remember the Foremost brand, but I haven't seen it in years. I thought it was a local Pacific Northwest brand, and that Carnation was the big national brand. I had no idea that Foremost was a Wisconsin brand.

I'm glad to hear that it still exists.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Arrested Development lampooned the whole bit with Sitwell and Standpore.

Hair cutting places are a target rich environment.

The Mane Stop?

Hair You Are?

cubanbob said...

ADDED: Meade read this post and inspired me to write another poem:
I scream
You scream
We all scream
When egstreamists intrude into American maynestreame politics
EEK! It's the Tea Party"

Really? The TEA Party is far more representative of the American public than the Progressive wing of the Democrat Party. EEK! It's the Communist Party!

Ann Althouse said...

"and that Carnation was the big national brand"

I don't remember Carnation as an ice cream brand at all. But I do remember putting big spoonfuls of Carnation chocolate malt on top of vanilla ice cream. This was a sundae that was called a "Dusty Road."

Ann Althouse said...

The Foremost brand wasn't intended to be a pun on "for most"!

It was intended to me it's the #1 ice cream.

It's hard to think of brand names that emphasize that they are for the masses and (implicitly) no for pickier people.

Good Enough Ice Cream: I'm sure you won't be able to tell this difference between this and the premium kind a few people pay extra for.

El Pollo Raylan said...

I remember those "snowballs" as kid. We had them every Christmas Eve for a while.

There is a linguistic pun made in German between vordersten Front and vordersten Reihe (Front line vs. Front rank) made here in a very tragic context. For people who see life as a struggle, the distinction matters.

mccullough said...

The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Someone once told me that Chevy ran into problems when it tried to sell the Nova in Spanish-speaking countries.

That has an urban legend sort of feel to it, though.

jimbino said...

It's a foregone conclusion that bloggers can't resist confusing "forgo" and "forego."

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Good Enough Ice Cream...

Hillary! Ice Cream. It's likable enough!

Ralph Hyatt said...

I can't remember the brand, but my parents would always buy Neapolitan ice cream in the carton and nobody would ever eat the strawberry ice cream. So we would have two or three boxes in the freezer 1/3 full of strawberry ice cream.

At which point my Dad would declare that no more ice cream would be purchased until the ice cream we already had was eaten.

Of course I never noticed him rushing to eat the strawberry ice cream.

furious_a said...

The Foremost ads reek of white privilege.

John Cunningham said...

there is a great Far Side cartoon, a truck is driving down the street, with a giant asparagus spear on top, and music playing. all the kids are cowering behind trees and bushes, listening--
I cuss you cuss
we all cuss for asparagus

rhhardin said...

Forehanded is forearmed.

Foobarista said...

We had it in California as one of the standard "Safeway ice-cream" brands when I was a kid in the 1970s.

Mark Nielsen said...

Those Foremost photos reminded me of James Lileks' excellent "Gallery of Regrettable Food": http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/

One of the funniest things I've ever encountered on the internet. The books are even better (available, of course, through the Althouse Amazon portal).

Richard Dolan said...

Stick to law. Poetry is not your thing.

In metro Boston, the local ice cream brands in the '60s were Hoods (OK) and West Lynn Creamery (also OK). I remember there was an A&P store brand (forget the name) that was not so OK. Don't know if it was Boston-local or national, though.

steve said...

"Blue Bunny" ice cream was pretty underwhelming.

Scott said...

I never tasted bad ice cream. But back in the day, I did drink some bad beer. Cold Spring in the pre-microbrewery days comes to mind.

M. Helmet said...

West Saxon is Old English

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Almost all dairy products shipped into Guam are Foremost brand. That is the first thing I thought of when I saw that logo.

MadisonMan said...

I've tasted some bad ice cream lately.

I find that if the weight of the serving is less than 67g, then there's something horrible sitting on the spoon. The best ice creams have serving weights over 90g.

Ann Althouse said...

The OED gives the date for the West Saxon Bible as c1000, but for that other quote just says OE without a date. That's why I put it like that.

Ann Althouse said...

That OE quote without the date is from Cynewulf, the poem is called "Elene." According to Wikipedia, the it was written "some time between 750 and the tenth century."

ALP said...

I wonder if the ad linking "flying sorcery" and Christmas would ever fly today given that there hundreds of right wing Christians ready, willing and able to protest such things via boycott, etc.

Dan said...

When I was a kid, my family owned a dairy farm in Alabama. My dad sold the milk to Sealtest for a long time. We thought their ice cream was great.

Dan said...

When I was a kid, my family owned a dairy farm in Alabama. My dad sold the milk to Sealtest for a long time. We thought their ice cream was great.

Wilbur said...

When I was a kid in central Illinois, getting Sealtest was a real treat.

Normally we got Meadow Gold or some other lesser brand. Never complained, though. Woulda' been unseemly.

YoungHegelian said...

@Wilbur,

Normally we got Meadow Gold or some other lesser brand.

I remember Meadow Gold, too. But once Breyers came out, the other brands got replaced forthwith. That charge was led by my ice-cream loving father, not by us kids. So while the change was irrevocable, both my brother & I were happy to go along for the ride.

YoungHegelian said...

@Dan

Where you from in 'Bama. I'm from Decatur.

Ann Althouse said...

When I was a kid, the good brand was Breyers. It had the black dots in the vanilla.

Craig Howard said...

What bad ice cream from the 1960s do you remember? I remember Sealtest

Heh. I remember that one, too. In the early 70s, I worked for a local supermarket chain whose store label (the cheap stuff) was "Food Club". Food Club peas, Food Club tonic water, even Food Club dog food.

I'm sure that some ad wizard somewhere thought that "Food Club" gave the brand a vague hint of exclusivity (join the Food Club and save!)

Customers would have none of it, though.

YoungHegelian said...

@Professor Althouse,

Breyers didn't show up in my neck of the woods of northern Alabama until either the late 60's or the early 70's.

I remember conversations among my friends along the line of "What are the black specks?" "Dirt." "Tastes pretty good for dirt..."

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I spent about 10 years in Huntsville, Alabama. I can't imagine anyone from around there associating dirt with the color black.

YoungHegelian said...

@IiB,

I can't imagine anyone from around there associating dirt with the color black.

It's like that dirt ya buy in the bag at the garden center. Not like the dirt ya grow the cotton in, which is as red as the dirt on Mars.

David said...

It's hard to think of brand names that emphasize that they are for the masses and (implicitly) no for pickier people.

Good Enough Ice Cream: I'm sure you won't be able to tell this difference between this and the premium kind a few people pay extra for.


With respect, spoken like someone who has a Trader Joes and a Whole Foods nearby, and rarely goes to Wal-Mart.

Leslie Graves said...

Sealtest...I remember it and your assessment is absolutely correct.

Leslie Graves said...

Sealtest...I remember it and your assessment is absolutely correct.

SOJO said...

SNOWBALLS!

We make our own snowballs for the Holidays - just buy your choice of fav vanilla ice cream, some coconut, some red candles, preferably with holly, and some surgical gloves.

Put surgical gloves on and roll ice cream into balls by hand, then roll in coconut. Refreeze. Add candle.

After dinner, bring out the snowballs. The object is to eat around the candle so that the candle stays lit until the very end. The last person with their candle standing, wins. It is possibly to eat around the candle entirely and secure it in candle wax on your plate so that it burns down to the nub.

Rob said...

As Ben and Jerry's is to Vermont, Blue Seal is to Okinawa, Japan. Obviously an offshoot of Foremost based on the label, but how I don't know. Anybody with insight?

sinz52 said...

"What bad ice cream from the 1960s do you remember?"

I remember the Good Humor ice cream pops that came in vending machines in some New York City subway stations.

They were so loaded with stabilizers and chemicals that the "ice cream" wouldn't melt even in the sweltering heat of the subway station. So they had the same consistency as library paste.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Sealtest vanilla bean ice milk was very good!