THE ART OF MAKING ICE CREAM

I wrote this out by hand today. I guess I’ve slowed enough for melancholy to catch up with me as I pondered the art of making ice cream. Summer, even late summer, and ice cream go together like Rock-N’-Roll.

I’m still fascinated how convenience doesn’t equal better. One could argue that it’s just the opposite. Anticipation coupled with hard work always seems to make the destination sweeter. Same goes for ice cream.

My mom was famous, at least in our family, for her banana ice cream concoction. Once she had the cream that was loaded with chunks of bananas, she handed it over to my dad and most of his brothers and sisters were there to help with the making and eating.

image courtesy of dbrl.org

This was in the days either before they invented the electric ice cream maker or before anyone in our family could afford one.

There was plenty of time for discussion about the art of making ice cream during the grueling process. Disagreements were the norm, but no full blown arguments. The amount of ice added before sprinkling the layers of rock salt was like politics or religion, only with more passion.

All the men would take turns cranking the handle. Me and the rest of my boy cousins would watch with respect. We paid closer attention to the art of making ice cream than we did math and reading in school. It was a rite of passage. We weren’t in the South anymore, but my family brought the South with ’em.

Each revolution would let out a cricket like chirp from the worn rolling handle while the men took turns cranking it.

My dad and his brothers were a blue collar bunch. They’d grown up working on the farm and dragging cotton sacks. I say that to say this; they were physical specimens. Their sweaty arms showed off the muscles with the white short sleeve t-shirts rolled up to secure their brand of cigarettes.

I can’t remember how long it took to turn the cream into ice cream, seemed like an eternity back then.

When the debating and cranking was finally done, the men, with us boys in tow, would march the treasure into the house where the women would give their two cents on the matter as the girls watched.

It doesn’t happen too often, but as I rolled back time with an old fashioned pen in my hand, I got a lump in my throat, even fought back a few scattered tears.

We don’t do much by hand anymore.

I never made home made ice cream with my kids, wish I would’ve… but I never even thought about it. I was more concerned with the way I looked.

That ice cream tasted like heaven, but the memory of making it with family is sweeter.

There’s value in doing things by hand.

I’ll bet my grandkids will figure that out.. when they look back on their lives and recall how their Papa taught them the art of making ice cream… by hand.