Last week, my wife and I had ice cream at a new shop around the corner from the house. It is a new location of an ice cream shop we visited recently on the north side of Oklahoma City. The place is called Boom Town Ice Cream and is a small batch creamery with a lot of excellent ice cream flavors. My favorite is their chocolate chip cookie dough on a waffle cone. It is a special treat to grab an afternoon ice cream snack at this place. There are several other small ice cream shops in the city that are awesome also. We have one local shop, Capital Ice Cream, where you choose a variety of cereals and ingredients to be folded into ice cream to create your own special flavor. Boom Town has a sign that says "Ice Cream Is Always The Answer.". I agree! Retirement is the perfect time to try new ice cream shops. You can have a tasty ice cream cone any afternoon with no need for it to be a special occasion. We will get ice cream on a Tuesday afternoon just because it it Tuesday afternoon!
On a recent thrift store outing with my wife, I noticed a couple of homemade ice cream makers for sale. This made me think that we are overdue to make some homemade ice cream. We have an ice cream maker and don't use it that often. There is no better ice cream than homemade ice cream! We normally make a plain vanilla but have added some chocolate chips in the past and may have tried another flavor or two. I remember, as a kid, making homemade ice cream in a wooden ice cream maker at my grandparents house. It was an old wood maker with a hand crank. My dad would crank it while my two sisters and I would take turn sitting on a towel on top of the maker to hold it down while dad cranked away. Once our bottoms began to get too cold we would hop off and the next one would hop on. It seemed to take forever for that ice cream to get frozen enough to eat! I imagine it was even longer for my poor dad as he cranked it by hand. But, oh how good that ice cream tasted after waiting patiently for it to be ready.
Mom and Dad eventually got an electric ice cream maker that we used many times. As I got a little older I was able to put the ice and salt in the sides of the maker to help out. I would sneak a piece or two of the rock salt and let them slowly melt in my mouth as I monitored the ice and salt in the machine. I will admit, even today, I will do the same thing with rock salt when I am in charge of making ice cream. Maybe I am salting my taste buds for that sweet taste of the ice cream.
It does take some effort to make ice cream at home. You have to gather the ingredients and put the mixture together. You have to make sure you have enough ice and ice cream salt to freeze it in the ice cream maker. And, you have to have patience to listen to the grinding of the machine for some time to freeze the mixture into that awesome ice cream. We use an electric maker and it seems like it takes longer than it actually does. We wait patiently for the motor to finally quit and indicate that the ice cream is ready. The motor seems to slow to almost a stop and then gets a second wind and grinds away for another 10 minutes before we think it's going to stop again. sometimes the cycle continues several times. With each slowing, our anticipation grows for dipping into our finished ice cream!
Do you have any great ice cream shops in your area? Do you visit them regularly? What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Do you have any great memories of making homemade ice cream in the past? Any rock salt eaters out there? When was the last time you made some ice cream at home?
It's Summer and prime ice cream time! Get out there and enjoy a great ice cream cone somewhere or make your own special treat at home. Happy Summer!