Buried Treasure in the Pantry

A while back, I was rummaging around in the pantry and saw sleeping in a dusty corner a long-forgotten ice cream maker, the old-fashioned kind made out of wood but with an electric motor instead of a crank handle. I perched it atop a small table, plugged it in and heard a very robust and determined sound, as if the machine was coming out of its long slumber wide awake without the preamble of yawning.

Every time I went into the pantry I’d see it sitting there and it seemed to say “Hello, it’s me!” and then I wondered, is this machine really an adult toy disguised as an appliance? Is making ice cream easy, or one of those trial and error thangs that takes a few tries to get it right along with a dose or two of frustration? And then back into the pantry the machine would go to be forgotten all over again?

The perfect excuse to overcome my inertia about using it came in the form of a birthday party and I wanted to do a trial run just in case something went awry. I chose a recipe for vanilla ice cream, thinking I could add peppermint candy to one batch and cookies to another. I wanted to use the best ingredients available, so I bought some organic cream, milk, and eggs of the kind made by chickens that live outside and scratch around for bugs, slugs and grubs and the other morsels that chickens like to eat. The yolks were a rich orange color.

Making the ice cream was easy, much like cooking a cream sauce with a lot of vanilla added at the end. After it cooled, I poured the mixture into the insert, packed the bucket with ice layered with salt and turned the machine on. While waiting, I ground up a whole box of candy canes leftover from Christmas and pulverized some Oreo cookies (did you know that every year 40 billion Oreo cookies are made in 18 countries?)

Twenty minutes later, the machine stopped and I lifted the lid. Wow, velvety soft ice cream like Dairy Queen’s, but a beautiful pale yellow! I had a lovely chill of goosebumps, feeling excitement like a little kid. I divided it in half, stirred in the candy canes and then the cookies, and left it to cure in the freezer overnight.

Who said you can’t eat ice cream for breakfast, especially if it’s beyond delicious? We even ate some before dinner. If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun (Katherine Hepburn). Back into the pantry went the machine. I thanked it and said see you next time and that will be soon.