“Is it time we normalize calling it ‘clean’ ice cream?”
Every summer season, Filipino kids are lured by the sound of a bell from a man with a cart filled with the perfect solution to afternoon heat, ice cream. Many generations of Filipinos have cherished memories with the trusted mamang sorbetero on the side. While sorbetes is loved by many, its other name may give you a different story. A cautionary one, perhaps, if you take it seriously.
Sorbetes, not to be confused with sorbet, is as famously known on the street as “dirty ice cream.” While it has a derogatory nature, the name comes across as a joke to many. But it looks like the younger ones aren’t really feeling it.
A Tiktok post by @mmmmmm is being called out for calling dirty ice cream, well, dirty ice cream. One user commented about her privileges saying, “Maka dirty huh! Pag mayaman talaga maarte (Calling it dirty! Rich people are really pretentious).” While another posted that she shouldn’t have bought the ice cream if she thinks it is dirty. Others suggested calling it just ice cream or sorbertes, leaving the word “dirty” out.
While this sparked a few online laughter, some of them have a pretty good point. Why would you call something that gives you pleasure a pejorative term?
Looking back, it is hard to find who coined the term. Stories say that it was called “dirty” because it was sold along polluted streets. Some use it to differentiate the ice cream made by mamang sorbetero (dirty) from the ones in stores (clean). A story by the Embassy of the Philippines in London, UK says that Filipino parents played a big role in giving the sorbetes that nickname stating that it is “a way to keep their children from asking for money to buy scoops of ice cream sold by vendors who did not wear any gloves.”
What do you think? Is it time we stop using the “dirty” word on our local ice cream?