When my husband comes home tomorrow he’ll find that I finished off the last of the Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate. Not to worry…Braum’s has more. They’d better have more. According to MakeIceCream.com “each American consumes a yearly average of 23.2 quarts of ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, ices and other commercially produced frozen dairy products”! I’m certainly consuming my portion, and probably someone else’s as well. Ice cream has always been one of my top five favorite foods. I love its creamy texture. I love the cold chill of it resting on my tongue. I love the different flavors. I love the memories it evokes.
Ice cream was a celebration food at our house. It was reserved for birthdays, good report cards, pay raises, and holidays. We usually made do with store-bought ice cream, but the best ice cream was summer ice cream, fresh from the ice cream freezer (some of our friends call it a “churn”). We had a hand-cranked one and it sat in a wash tub so the extra salt water wouldn’t run on the floor. Dad always made us start the cranking and then took over when it got difficult. He’d tease us about being “weaklings”, but you could tell he loved to put in the final turns.
Hand-crank ice cream freezers are antiques now. I’m not even sure you can buy one. We have an electric one that I think we paid about $30 for at WalMart. I recently saw a “luxury” model online that sells for $999. I’m thinking that it couldn’t really be THAT GOOD. I could make a lot of visits to Braum’s for $999!
Homemade ice cream was always vanilla. I don’t know if Mom preferred it, or just never learned to make any other flavor. Whatever the reason, it was wonderful. When my husband and I lived in Iowa I got an ice cream recipe from his cousin, Ina. Ina and her husband had a huge farm and raised all of their own food except for a few staples like flour, sugar, and coffee. The ingredient list for her ice cream included a quart of cream and a half dozen eggs! I never had the nerve to try it. I modified it to a pint of cream and two eggs and it still made a pretty good ice cream.
I guess we could never decide on a favorite flavor of store bought ice cream, so Mom usually got Neapolitan, with its pretty stripes of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. The kind we bought came in a rectangular carton and Mom sliced it with a huge knife. Sometimes we bought Dad’s favorite, Pistachio. Sometimes, Mom’s favorite, strawberry. If Gran was visiting we had something called Butter Brickle. I always liked chocolate. I still do!
We’ve been to some wonderful church ice cream parties and tasted ice cream flavored with everything from fresh peaches to watermelon to Snicker Bars. I’ve tried quite a few of the “31 Flavors” of Baskin-Robbins. Gary and I toured the Ben and Jerry’s plant a few years ago. They give samples! They also have a “hall of fame” of popular flavors. I’ve only tasted one ice cream I truly couldn’t stand. My sister-in-law worked for a restaurant that got the bright idea to make “pickle ice cream” for pregnant women. Believe me…not a good idea! But I don’t have to worry about finding a flavor to love. These days it seems like there is a new flavor of ice cream each week! There are even seasonal flavors. According to the International Ice Cream Association, the following are the most popular ice cream flavors: vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan, strawberry, Neapolitan, chocolate chip, French vanilla, cookies and cream, vanilla fudge ripple, praline pecan, cherry, chocolate almond, coffee, rocky road, and chocolate marshmallow.
There are also so many different types of ice cream—low fat, no fat, no sugar, low carb. There are ice creams, ice milks, frozen yogurt, and sherbets. There are bars, cones, sandwiches, and now there are even “bits”. When we visited in Vermont this summer we had soft-serve ice cream they call “Creamies” . Whatever you call it, I like it! I think tomorrow I’d better blog about exercise. I’m going to need some!