As the days of summer grow warmer and warmer my thoughts turn to something cold. I remember when I was young one of the things I loved about summer was when we would have an ice cream party…. it wasn’t about running to the store and picking up a half gallon of some strange combination of flavors and candies with some catchy name…. no these were parties that required some labor… a little planning… and a little muscle. The neighbors would gather in one of the neighborhood carport. They would appear as if by magic, walking from all over the neighbor carrying things in their arms or pulling wagons. And each one of them came with the most wonderful devices ever made by man… a 6 quart hand crank ice cream freezer!
The flavors in those days were just fruit…. consisting of banana, strawberry or peach… or traditional vanilla or chocolate. The fruit will have been sitting in sugar hopefully over night fermenting to the perfect level of soft sweetness.
Once every thing was mixed together and put in the freezers… coolers of ice and ice cream salt at the ready… the real work began. If you were going to participate in the eating, you had to participate in the cranking (women that prepared the fruit and ice cream mixtures were given an exemption from the cranking rule). The smallest children went first when the cranking was easiest. It was one of the passages into growing up when you moved down the pecking order and cranked later in the freezing… that meant you were getting bigger!!!
As the cranking went along and my impatience with the chemical process of freezing grew worse, we would have to put a burlap sack over the top of the ice cream freezer and have someone sit on it so it would be easier to crank without it jumping all over the carport.
There was laughing and joking, running and playing and the excitement and anticipation of the wonderful flavors to come from all this work would hang heavy in the afternoon heat. Finally they would all be done and everyone would get a bowl or a cone and enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Ice cream has never tasted so good to me… How could anything possibly be better than this except….. maybe a nice slice of pound cake to go along with it maybe?