In Celebration of Ice Cream

By Brenda S. Brown


When I remembered that July is the month to celebrate ice cream; my thoughts suddenly cluttered with memories of this sweet delight. 

Late Saturday evening I decided to surprise my husband Otto with some homemade ice cream; his appetite has been suffering since his surgery and long sojourn in the hospital, so I thought a creamy delight might be just what the doctor ordered.  Within a few minutes, the mixture ripened in the refrigerator, while I retrieved the churn from the freezer, where it resides during the summer months. 

I quickly assembled the modern contraption, poured the mixture in the Freon-filled chamber, plugged it into the electrical socket, and in a flash, the frozen dessert was churning toward completion.   Bless the convenience of modern-day appliances; I do not want to live without them.  

Back in the good ole days before you could produce a freezer full of homemade ice cream you first had to acquire an enormous bag of crushed ice and a weighty box of rock salt.  Then locate the heavy medal mechanism, the wooden churn complete with the chiseled out over-flow hole, and try to find the ever-absent cork, a necessary item when you harden the cream. 

Once the ingredients are gathered, you designate a volunteer to operate the hand-cranked handle of the apparatus.  This is not a task for a wimpy individual; the captain of the turning-patrol must be ready to churn for what seems like hours.  If you calculated the ratio of ice to salt incorrectly, the result was a grainy cold mixture that did not satisfy your craving for a frosty dessert. 

Our secret family recipe is old-fashioned custard that was loaded with country eggs, white cane sugar and fresh real cream, none of those store-bought ingredients in Nanny's concoction.   I remember the occasion I was permitted to lick the dasher clean as the exact moment that I fell in love with homemade ice cream. 

Our grandmother preferred plain vanilla cream unless the peaches were ripe, then she loaded the confection with tiny morsels of scarlet-colored fruit, adding a confetti of color to the mixture, that had already been sweetened to perfection. 

Nanny insisted that the cream needed to be packed and cured but I do not remember that happening often, we usually dipped and ate it directly from the churn, and leftovers never presented a problem.  Beware of the salty residue she always warned, it will ruin the entire batch. 



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