Thursday, January 14, 2010

Making Ice Cream, By Aunt CB

Apparently, ice cream has been around a long time—references to this luscious concoction have been found as far back as the 4th Century B.C. And, here in America, it was served by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to their dinner guests.

But, to make ice cream, in the 1930’s or so? Let’s let Aunt CB tell us:

Along with taffy pulls, and Arnon making sea foam or penuche, we also made ice cream. That was an event!

There had to be big chunks of ice available outside for this to be possible. And, there had to be time for Mom to cook up the custardy solution which became ice cream. We always made vanilla, never bothered with any fruit in it, didn’t last long anyways.

Then, somebody would drag in one of the big washtubs and put it on the kitchen floor. Somebody else would collect big chunks of ice, place several near the backdoor, and put two to three in a burlap bag. Another somebody would hammer on the bag to break the ice into smaller chunks, while still someone else poured the cooled custard into the metal canister, screwing the top on tightly. The canister was placed into the center of the wooden outside pail so that the turning handle could be fastened tightly to the top.

Then, chopped ice was packed in the area between the canister and the outside wooden pail, with some rock salt sprinkled in. Then, you were set to begin and we all took turns, turning the handle to rotate the paddle inside the canister.

Soon, it became too hard for the little ones to turn, as the custard became slushy inside, and then harder and harder. Meanwhile, the ice and salt mixture was constantly being replenished, as it melted.

The entire wooden bucket had been placed inside the washtub at the beginning and now could be seen why as the melted ice poured out weep holes in the wooden edge, and still more ice had to be added.

It seemed to take forever, turning the handle, until Lloyd would declare that it met enough resistance to prove that the inner ice cream was pretty thick.

Then, the good part—Remove the top of the canister and pull out the paddlewheel, covered with gobs of creamy ice cream and this was your first taste.

We all took a spoon and yummy! The canister left within its prison of crushed ice was covered tightly and still more ice packed around it. Left as it was for two to three hours to ‘ripen’, or set even harder, it was the most nerve wracking part of the job. It went so slowly, but eventually, the time came to ‘dip in’ and we all got our share. Lovely!

1 comment:

Pat said...

That picture of the icicles on the roof of a house is what I loved to see in winter as small child--okay, not JUST as a small child--perhaps when I was older,too.

It meant that we could make ice cream, if we could just talk Ma and Pa into it.

With the go ahead, we would all head outside in a crazed free for all--snowballs whizzed all around and about us, and SOME of them actually found their mark on the icicles hanging from our roof.

When a large enough amount of ice had plopped into the waiting snow, we lugged the ice near to the back door, ready to run in each piece, as needed.

Yes, we had to turn and turn and turn the crank on the ice cream maker, but notice, I remember best the 'readying of the ice' aka snowball fights outside.

And, of course, the luscious taste of freshly made--with much hard work we would contend quite loudly--ice cream.

A very cold treat in a very cold time of year, but that was the only time we could get the amounts of ice we needed.