We’ve been sticking close to home, haven’t you? No travel, no adventure, no jet setting here. The only people I talk to out in the real world are the grocery store clerks who toss my bottles of cheap white wine into my reusable NPR and PBS tote bags as quickly as they can. I wonder what they think of odd food purchases. Do they ever wonder what we are having for dinner? Why are we buying so much cream? Surely there is a story behind the pomegranate marmalade? Mint? What, no kale?
I can tell you. We are experimenting with homemade ice cream. Because, really, if not now, then when? It’s summertime. It’s stinking hot out there. We can’t go out for ice cream – how can you lick an ice cream cone while wearing a mask? And when I lose all my steely resolve to avoid eating delicious fattening foods, I want very few witnesses. Luke the wonder dog is tight-lipped. He’s a very good dog. And Mr. Friday? He is very annoying. He can eat desserts. He refuses nothing chocolate, and yet remains boyishly slim. I hate him.
Remember ice cream treats from the Good Humor truck? That was summertime distilled and frozen and eaten on a stick. The Summer of Covid is like nothing else we can remember. But ice cream has been around for ages. Long before there was refrigeration, Thomas Jefferson served it at the President’s House in Washington, using a recipe that he picked up in France: https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/ice-cream
We can prepare ice cream made with eggs – French style, or ice cream made without eggs – Philadelphia style. We can enjoy plain vanilla ice cream, or flavors galore. There’s another good reason to go to the farmers’ market: fresh strawberries, blueberries, peaches and blackberries. Howard Johnson’s famous ice cream parlors had 28 flavors. The favorite ice cream flavor in Maryland, apparently, is Maryland Mud: chocolate, with chocolate chips and Oreo pieces. Give me mint chocolate chip every time. And make it green, please.
We used to have an electric ice cream machine. But that was two moves and several summer house rentals ago. I have the unfortunate reputation for leaving hand mixers, salad spinners and other small kitchen items behind when we return from vacation. At least I won’t be having that problem this year! And I refuse to buy another new, fancy, kitchen-counter-space-eating appliance. Thus I am a recent devotee of this recipe: https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-to-make-ice-cream-without-an-ice-cream-maker/
And while you are standing out on the back porch, looking in the northwest sky for Comet NEOWISE, because you have watched everything on Netflix, you can treat yourself to some delish ice cream. Homemade or not. The grocery clerk won’t ask or tell. And neither will I. Enjoy the good parts of summer. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/how-to-see-comet-neowise
“The stars don’t look bigger, but they do look brighter.”
This is a very amusing food series starring Sue Perkins and Giles Coren, where ice cream is a surprisingly popular menu item through the ages: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBD975732056866C4