IT'S-IT: The Funny Little Ice Cream Sandwich That Brings Back Delicious Memories. Happy National Ice Cream Day, Everyone!

its it vanilla
IT'S-IT is an ice-cream sandwich and time travel machine in one.

Food memories are very powerful. A waft of smoky grease from the corner Chinese restaurant immediately transports me to the first plate of fried noodles I’ve ever eaten, decades ago when I lived in Chinatown. The aroma of fresh bakery goods has similar effect for others. It’s more than a Pavlovian trigger for drool production; it replays past visions of good times and good food.

its it strawberry
Strawberry is pinkalicious!

The ice cream sandwich with the peculiar name IT’S-IT inspires memories from my childhood that’s only rivaled by certain old movies and Disneyland. According to official IT’S-IT lore, the ice cream sandwich got its name by people who tried it and then “declared by all to be ‘IT!’”—nice story, but a little contrived. Nonetheless, I LOVE the wacky name and the delicious product—luscious ice cream in between crunchy oatmeal-raisin cookies coated with dark chocolate. It’s just a great ice cream sandwich.

its it mint
Minty fresh ice cream.

Reflecting as far back as I can, my very first IT’S-IT probably was enjoyed when my parents owned and ran an Alta-Dena Dairy back in the late 70’s. The awesome thing about having a family store is sampling goodies for free whenever I felt like it. I wasn’t Augustus Gloop or anything, but I did try a few things.

I remember seeing the classic IT’S-IT packaging and felt right away that this ice cream was special. There was most definitely a sense of nostalgia associated with the wrapper, from the old-style typeface and child-like illustration. Although I wasn’t close to being born back in 1928, when George Whitney created the frozen confection and sold them exclusively at San Francisco’s old Playland-at-the-Beach, IT’S-IT felt familiar, like an old pal.

its it flavors
IT'S-IT, the Sensational Six!

Vanilla is the original flavor. Today an array of tastes including chocolate, mint, strawberry, cappuccino, and even pumpkin are available to choose from. They’re all amazing.

IT’S-IT is also one of those regional treats like a MoonPie. Pretty much distributed by IT’S-IT only west of the Colorado Rocky Mountains (also Texas and New York), we can proudly claim this as our own. In fact, when I lived in San Francisco during the early ‘90s, I fondly recall driving along the 101 through Burlingame and seeing the IT’S-IT Ice Cream Sandwich factory off the freeway, and it always made me smile.

Many years have come and gone since the last time I tried an IT’S-IT, but finally today when I sank my teeth into the chocolate-covered ice cream sandwich, all those care-free, endless summer days obsessing about Star Wars came flooding back. Some things never change. IT’S-IT was IT and as good as I remember. Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Here’s a video tour of the IT’S-IT factory.