#166: Memory of Childhood - 2: The Ice Cream Maker
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Have you ever eaten cantaloupe and ice cream? I was introduced to this as a youngster growing up on my grandmother's farm. She would cut a cantaloupe in half, scoop out the seeds, creating a small hole in the middle of the cantaloupe then fill it with ice cream. Taking a spoonful gave us a bit of fruit and ice cream that was simply delicious and made for a terrific summertime hot weather treat.
Most of the time the ice cream was strawberry because they grew wild along the slope of the nearby railroad tracks. We'd pick a basket full then my father and uncle and grandfather would begin the ritual of preparing the hand-cranked ice cream maker.
They'd pour in rock salt and other ingredients and start cranking. As a young boy, I always thought I could do a man's job and begged to be able to crank for a while. With solemn looks on their faces, the adults assured me that it was very hard cranking the handle in the beginning. I'd pout thinking I was Super Boy but patiently awaited my chance to be part of the process.
Finally, after what seemed much heavy labor on their part, they allowed me my chance. I'd grab that handle and crank, well, sort of crank, because it WAS hard to turn that handle. I realized the men were right but I was secretly pleased to have my chance to show how strong I was.
I'd practically turn blue turning that crank before they announced that the ice cream was ready.
It wasn't until years later that I learned that turning that handle was in fact easiest in the beginning and that the men were simply having fun with me.
When the ice cream was ready, we'd fill the scooped out cantaloupes, sit on the porch hoping to catch a bit of breeze and enjoy our sweet treat.
I don't know if hand-made ice cream makers are still available but if I ever have one and have a young person who wants to help that they can be assured they will be able to help...at the end when the cranking is easiest.