To share with friends

Beeeeep. The computerized woman on my Balding Brother’s answering machine had finished its speech about all the possible ways I could get in touch with my brother and was now giving me a turn to talk.

“Hey guys. It’s me,” I said, with characteristic informality. “We’re making ice cream right now and wondered if you would want to come over to help eat it. We are going to try to get the kids to bed early tonight and it is 6:30 now, so that means you can stay till about, oh, say 7:30. If you get this message, call me back; otherwise, too bad for you—you lose out.”

My sis-in-law called back five minutes later. “We were outside eating supper when you called. What time should we come?”

Since I was feeling a little bad (but only a little) about feeding my children just ice cream for supper, I threw the leftovers from the previous night’s supper into a glass serving bowl, heated them up in the microwave, and then carried the bowl out to the porch where my kids were excitedly greeting our guests and devouring the sweet cherries that my sis-in-law had brought along. I fork-fed my little birdies while trying (rather unsuccessfully) to carry on a conversation, and ended up eating much of the bowl’s contents myself. It was the brown butter noodles and peas, so I didn’t mind too much.

When Mr. Handsome finished with the cranking, I headed back inside to load up a tray with serving bowls and spoons, the bowl of freshly sliced and sugared strawberries, and the jar of granola.

We dug in, scooping the soft ice cream into our bowls, piling on the strawberries and then finishing off the whole glorious mound with a couple scoops of granola.

A storm was coming; the flies were thick. We had seconds, and I finished off the scrapings from the bottom of the canister.

“The rain is coming!” Miss Becca Boo yelled. “I can hear it!” Sure enough, the rain was coming from the north, sweeping down the valley towards our house.

As the wall of rain washed over our house, my brother grabbed the diaper bag and my sis-in-law grabbed the baby. “Just set our bowls out in the yard to wash them,” my brother said, and then they sprinted to their car, the rain pelting them every step of the way. It was 7:30 on the dot.

(Mr. Handsome took advantage of the water streaming from the rain gutters, using it to rinse out the ice cream canister.)

Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

Summer evenings when I was growing up, my parents would call up some friends to come over for homemade ice cream. It was the real deal—mostly cream with some milk, raw eggs, sugar, and vanilla. We usually made plain vanilla ice cream, choosing to serve the toppings (usually fruit and granola) separately, but once in a while they cranked the crushed fruit into the ice cream. That was about as fancy as it got.

Nowadays, people make their ice cream fancy-schmancy, with add-ins of every type—real vanilla beans, saffron (I tried it and it made the ice cream look and taste vaguely like poop), cream cheese, chocolate, peanut butter (I have yet to tell you about this one)—and because everyone is concerned with salmonella, almost all the recipes instruct you to make a cooked custard for your base. I thoroughly enjoy the rich, store brand-type ice cream with its custard base, but those ice creams don’t have anything over this old-fashioned, soft serve-style ice cream.

This ice cream is best eaten fresh (once frozen it becomes rock hard and loses much of it’s charm), and because the recipe makes a fair amount, you’ll probably want to call some friends to come share in the feast. If you do end up with leftovers, freeze them in little one-cup containers—they will be delicious in smoothies.

1 quart cream
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer for 2-4 minutes until thick and creamy. Add the sugar, vanilla, and milk and beat some more. Add the cream and mix to combine. (Conversely, you can mix all the ingredients together with a whisk and then pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any little bits of unblended egg yolk.) At this point you can refrigerate the mixture till you are ready to freeze it, or you can freeze it right away.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Serve plain, or with fresh fruit.

Updated on May 5, 2011
Strawberry Ice Cream
Omit the milk, increase the sugar to 1 1/4 (or maybe even 1 ½ cups), and add 1-2 cups crushed strawberries.

One Comment

  • Zoë

    nothing to do with ice cream, but I'm wondering how you freeze your spinach. Do you steam it first? And your swiss chard, do you pack that into boxes raw?

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