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