"Ice cream flavor creator" might have been your kindergarten dream job, but for Kat Whitehead, it's her everyday life.
Whitehead is R&D manager for Salt & Straw Ice Cream in Portland, Oregon. There she helps create five new flavors every month - using everything from vegan chocolate to sea urchin and bone marrow (allegedly one of their most popular varieties).
A former pastry chef, Whitehead started work at the fledgling ice cream shop four years ago. And now, she's the creative mind behind Salt & Straw's newest ice cream venture: a five-course Thanksgiving dinner.
"We wanted to kind of... re-create the experience of having Thanksgiving dinner," Whitehead explained in the Portland test kitchen on a rainy Wednesday afternoon.
In an ideal tasting experience, she said, you would start with the sweet potato cassserole with maple pecans ice cream, then move into buttered mashed potatoes and gravy.
After that, you could taste the apple cranberry stuffing (or persimmon walnut stuffing in the Los Angeles scoop shops) before finally biting into some salted caramel thanksgiving turkey ice cream and finishing the meal off with spiced goat cheese and pumpkin pie ice cream.
Whitehead and the Salt & Straw team don't shy away from the real ingredients, either.
The salted caramel thanksgiving turkey ice cream has candied turkey and chicken skin in the mix, and the mashed potatoes & gravy has a fudge made with white chocolate, cocoa powder...and chicken stock.
When asked to pick a favorite, Whitehead didn't take long to respond.
"The turkey is my favorite," she said, pausing over a batch of mashed potato ice cream. "It does actually taste like turkey - but not sweet turkey. It actually makes sense in the ice cream."
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