the scoop

Facts: Cups Are Better Than Cones

Despite what Instagram would have you believe. Photo: Melissa Hom

A weeklong series dedicated to exploring everything that’s happening in the world of ice cream right now.

Instagram killed the ice-cream cup.

The giant, dripping ice-cream cone is the status food-photo of the summer. You know the shot — piled high with as many scoops as gravity will allow, held out by a disembodied hand, as just-melting ice-cream dribbles barely hang on. Always in a cone. These days, the demand for cones is so high that there’s even a start-up devoted to them, the Konery, which sells “premium, artisanal” waffle cones in psychedelic colors and flavors — like red velvet, matcha (of course), birthday cake, and orange Creamsicle. Aside from being photogenic, waffle cones, sugar cones, and even those cheap, Styrofoam-like “cake” cones do add a satisfying crunch. But if your main goal is to actually eat the ice cream, a cone is no match for a cup, which is actually the perfect vessel.

At its best, eating ice cream out of a cone feels like the first time you ever kissed someone with tongue. Not good. The first couple of licks are nice, sure, but then you’re left with strange fluids and a sloppy mess. Unless you’re Joe Biden, this is not a good look for you.

You need a cup, and here’s why: With a cup, you can easily taste multiple ice-cream flavors at once, in the same spoonful. Unless you’re ordering soft serve as a swirl, this is next to impossible with a cone.

Obviously, in a cup, the toppings are distributed more equitably. Do you know what’s sad? Running out of rainbow sprinkles after the first three licks of a cone. Or, having heftier toppings — brownie bites and cherries artfully plopped on top of the cone — slide right off when you go to take that first bite. Ice & Vice is committing the most heinous Crimes Against Cones in New York: How can you actually consume a cone with five scoops? Or one with a literal ice-cream sandwich on top? These are not for eating. They’re part of the scourge of Instagram bait that is sweeping the world. I hope you’re satisfied with your “likes,” you monster. I’ll be enjoying my ice cream.

And let’s talk about those precious drips and dribbles that look so appealing in pictures. How are you supposed to actually eat ice cream like that? It’s a disgusting, sticky mess on your hands and arms, and probably your clothing. So you end up eating quickly, in double time, just to catch everything before it falls to the ground. This is for chumps and philistines. You need to savor that ice cream. Eat it slowly. Treat it like a love letter. Maybe you even want to take a lid to go, put the cup in your freezer, and revisit it later. (Warning: This only works if you ordered a large cup. If there’s a small cup of half-eaten ice cream in your freezer, reconsider your priorities in life.)

Another thing: You can’t share an ice-cream cone without slobbering all over it. (I know what you’re thinking. Why would you ever share ice cream? But, hey, maybe you just want to taste your friend’s flavors.)

If you really, truly love the taste of a cone, you can still have it if you eat your ice cream out of a cup. Just get it on top, use it to dip, and win the day. You might even start a new Instagram trend.

Facts: Cups Are Better Than Cones