June 29, 2010
Bee readers share ice cream memories

scoopy with ice cream.jpgSometimes the memory of homemade ice cream is as sweet as the treat itself.

Such is the case the stories we received after we asked readers to send in their homemade ice cream stories. We're highlighting homemade ice cream and how to make it in tomorrow's Food & Wine section.

Consider Maria White's story a cautionary tale.

"When I was younger, three of my siblings loved making their own ice cream. We were a family of six and I'm sure my mother was very happy that they would entertain each other.

It wasn't until one day, one of my brothers came wailing from the ice cream making corner. He couldn't even tell my mother what was wrong, but he stuck his tongue in a cup of water while my other siblings were trying to hide.

It turns out that instead of using sugar, they had reached for the salt bin. It had been a very, very salty vanilla ice cream.

Now that I make ice cream with my children, I find myself checking it more than once, making sure I'm using sugar... not salt." - Maria White, 30, of Sacramento

Follow the link below for another reader's favorite memory.

"Dad was a quiet man, however as the special sound of his custom ice-cream machine echoed across the neighborhood he was more like a pied piper of ice cream.

The ritual started at noon on the Saturday's of summer holidays. I would help move the big blocks of ice in my red wagon often needing the help of my little brother to make the last little hill into the backyard. The recipe was folded and kept in his wallet. He would say it was an old family recipe, however I knew it was a page from 'Reader's Digest (Magazine).' '8X' was written across the top in pencil and each item had been crossed out and the new amount written next to it.

Dad had used parts from an old washing machine, the kind that had a wringer on the top and a friend had welded the 10 gallon stainless steel mixer. That's right - 10 gallons. A cross between a cement mixer and I don't know what. My brother and I took to crushing the 150 pounds of ice into small pieces with hammer and picks. Mom would bring out pitcher after pitcher of cream as dad added each one to the blender. The key, he said, was the freshest cream and a lot of crushed ice and rock salt.

Once the blender was closed he carefully layered the ice and rock salt until the entire blender disappeared under the cold salty pile. It took a little work to connect the belts, clamps and whatever and when it was ready he would step back and light a cigarette.

We stood back as he started the contraption; it jerked, jumped then rattled and then settled into a clanking roar. Stopping only once or twice during it's run for Dad to lift the lid and measure the temperature. You could tell it was almost ready as the neighbors were showing up with bowls, cups, cones and some just spoons. All of the sudden the motor would start to strain and Dad would get up from his chair in the shade.

The quiet echo as the machine was turned off was amplified by the smiles and wide eyes as all in attendance lined up. Mom would come out the back door and carefully wipe the top of the blender off with a towel and take the first taste. The crowd moved forward and bowl after bowl was filled. A few people took an extra bowl to the grandma's who were home bound (at least that's what the claimed). The children would eat quickly so they could get back in line.

I can remember the taste to this day and no ice cream has ever lived up to cool sweet taste of Dad's. Neighbors stopped by all afternoon but there was always a few licks left on the beaters when it was time to clean the whole machine up as evening fell and I was always happy to clean the beaters.

I don't know what was better, the sweet fresh ice cream or seeing so many people happy, so many little smiles as bowls were presented with a thank you. I do know he liked it all. Ice cream is best shared." -Daniel Weston, 55, of Orangevale

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