Between Peaches and Peppermint

From the tenor of their conversation, it seemed the woman placing her order had been a customer of the meat market for some time: at least long enough for the clerk to ask, “Do you want seven chicken breasts, or have the kids gone back to school?” After a moment’s thought, the woman said, “One’s still at home, but she doesn’t like chicken. Two will be enough.”

“What about a roast?” the clerk asked. “Are you ready for a nice pork loin, or some chuck?” The woman sighed. “No. Not yet. I can’t bring myself to turn on the oven in this heat. Besides, roasts are for winter.”

At that point, I smiled in recognition. I don’t crave pot roast in summer any more than I long for a nice bowl of gazpacho when I’m trying to thaw out in January. Some dishes appeal throughout the year, but certain foods, whether from habit or preference, remain confined to one season.

As I pondered my own list of seasonal foods, it occurred to me that ice cream manufacturers are in a tricky spot. It would be easy to associate ice cream only with warm weather: a refreshing treat for days when the temperatures soar. For decades, family afternoons spent churning homemade ice cream took place in the summer, as did traditional ice cream socials. To break the connection between ice cream and summer — and to make a profit even in the depths of winter — companies had to find new ways to attract customers.

One of the most effective methods has been the establishment of seasonal flavors, and Texas’s beloved Bluebell Creamery has mastered the technique. Aficionados of the brand have learned the ice cream calendar by heart: peppermint in December and January, Mardi Gras in March, homemade vanilla with peaches or strawberries in early summer, and Southern blackberry cobbler as August turns to September.

Fall deserves it’s own flavor, of course, and spiced pumpkin pecan is sheer perfection. When it appears on store shelves, in the weeks between summer’s peaches and holiday peppermint, everyone knows that falling leaves, crisp air, and pot roast can’t be far away. While we wait, we enjoy: waxing poetic over the virtues of a traditional and quite tasty treat.

 

  So
  little
  is needed.
A dish. A spoon.
  Even the carton
  will do in a pinch if
  no one is watching, no one
  complaining, no one advising
sweet moderation when offered the
chance to keep scooping and scooping away.

 

 

Comments always are welcome.
For more information on the Etheree, a syllabic poem that, in its basic form, contains ten lines and a total of fifty-five syllables, please click here .

 

 

154 thoughts on “Between Peaches and Peppermint

  1. Tonight we each had a small bowl of vanilla ice cream. Of course it was Blue Bunny. Topping was chocolate and caramel. Delicious as we watched the first episode of Country Music on PBS.

    I am reminded by your story of one my Mom told about ice cream. I was the 7th child in the family. We traveled by station wagon. One hot summer day we stopped in town at the dairy store. Mom went in to order for us. She said she wanted 7 malts. The guy at the counter wasn’t going to do that. He didn’t want to make them all and have her skip out on him and not pay. Mom was furious with him and told him in no uncertain terms that she had 7 people in the car that were expecting malts. He’d better make them now. We got our malts.

    1. A counter guy in a dairy store is no match for a determined mother with a brood of seven. He should have known better. When I was in junior high, we walked to and from school: maybe three miles. There was a grocery store with a lunch counter along the way, and at least once or twice a week we’d stop for chocolate malts and french fries, and put any loose change into the juke box: three plays for a quarter.

      I started watching the first episode of Country Music myself. One interesting thing I noticed came at 30:43. The man walking down the street with the box under his arm is one of Charleston, South Carolina’s most famous street vendors. There’s a video that shows him, and others, selling their wares; I believe he was selling shrimp. A friend who lives there sent me a link to the video, and now I can’t find it again. I’ll have to email her and ask for the link so I can remember his name.

      1. We enjoyed the first episode. The history of the early days and people was interesting. In late October, we are seeing Rhiannon Giddens in concert here in Iowa City. We are really looking forward to that.

  2. Your title made me wonder if anyone has made pepper ice cream, as opposed to peppermint. Sure enough, the Internet offers recipes for ice cream made with black pepper and also, separately, for ice cream made with roasted red pepper.

    1. I’m not so sure about black or red pepper ice cream — I’ve discovered I don’t enjoy spicy dark chocolate, either — but native plant lovers can get Fireweed and Honey ice cream at Rochelle’s in Eklutna Lake, Alaska. That actually sounds pretty good. I wondered if anyone’s tried making prickly pear or agarita ice cream. I did find a recipe for Opuntia ice cream with toasted piñons, but any recipe that begins, “Process twenty-six tunas…” is more than I want to tackle.

      1. Be they denizens of the sea or fruits of a prickly pear, 26 is a greater number than most people would want to tackle. And in case you’re now wondering: a search turned up confections in the shape of a fish but no fish-flavored ice cream. Maybe I didn’t search long enough.

    2. Steve, your comment has brought to mind some other very unusual ice cream flavors out there, like red bean, or dill pickle. But the most unusual, and to my mind ghastly, is the Garlic ice cream served in Gilroy, CA during their garlic festival!

      1. Maybe you’d like it if you tried it. When I went to the Philippines for the first time I was surprised to find that avocado is a popular flavor of ice cream there. Conversely, when Eve came to the United States her only association with avocado was as something sweet, and she was surprised by guacamole and by avocados in green salads.

        1. I might, Steve, as the red bean was pleasantly tasty when I tried it, but the only place I have read about the garlic being served was in Gilroy, CA (claim to fame: Garlic Capital of the World) and I don’t live in California anymore.

          HA! Eve’s experience with the avocado reminds me of the folks in Cost Rica using Chayotes to make “apple” pie. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my list. Maybe I should add the garlic on there too. :)

        2. I’ve never had sweet avocado, but in Liberia, it’s called ‘butter pear’ and is considered a fruit. I’d often have it mixed with fresh pineapple, banana, and papaya. Delicious. We would make guacamole from time to time, since there were tomatoes, onions, peppers, and limes available — but we had to make do with plantain chips.

          1. Botanically speaking, avocados and tomatoes are fruits. Because most of the fruits we eat become sweet when they ripen, fruit has taken on a connotation of sweetness. Some cultures enjoy eating the non-ripe fruit of certain species. In the Philippines, people grate unripe papaya and pickle it to make what they call achara. In the United States, green olives are at least as popular as black (ripe) olives. Ah, cultural relativity.

            1. And then there are bananas and plantains: one sweet by nature and one savory. I still remember the day I bought my first bunch of plantains in Liberia, mistaking them for bananas. When they refused to ripen, I made some inquiries and gave a few Liberians a good laugh.

            2. And you won’t be surprised that my counterpart for learning about plantains was Honduras. In addition to preparing fried and baked versions, Hondurans also use unripe plantains in soup in the same way we use potatoes.

  3. I love ice cream in any season. I wish I had access to some of the flavors you named from the Bluebell Creamers. Always, I love your essay.

    1. Bluebell has some flavors available year-round (three vanillas, the usual chocolates, cookies and cream, chocolate mint) but their specialty flavors are the best. My mother and aunt loved their black walnut, and I’m rather partial to their coffee. I’ve learned to buy it in pints.

  4. Ummm, umm, good all year round. I love homemade or French vanilla with hot chocolate any time. I’m not very venturesome with new flavors. I’m afraid I will like them too much, and I’m not wanting to replace my vanilla with hot chocolate. I don’t eat nearly as much of it as I would like.

    1. I’ll bet you’d like Bluebell’s natural vanilla bean. It’s not overpowering, but it has a more pronounced vanilla flavor: delicious. Like you, I don’t eat as much as I like, but there once was a time when I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up a prescription with a half-gallon in hand. As I told the pharmacist, the ice cream was purely for medicinal purposes. Then, we both giggled, and I found out he occasionally applies a little ice cream to what ails him, too.

  5. My mind drifts back. Way back. When I was a kid, my favorite treat was two scoops of vanilla from the Geneva Dairy on North. Main St., topped with plain old Hershey’s chocolate sauce and Planters salted roasted peanuts. To this day I’m a sucker for it but I substitute Trader Joe’s French vanilla. My needs are simple. But the more I think about it, the more clamorous the need becomes.

    A quick look at the map tells me that the former location of the Geneva Dairy is now the Inner You Healing and Wellness Center. The Geneva Dairy is no more. Sic transit gloria mundi.

    1. I took a look at the IYHAWC website, and I’m not sure your two scoops with chocolate syrup and Planters peanuts wouldn’t be just as effective as a stress reducer. That sweet-and-salty combo has cured a lot of ills over the years.

      The last time I was in my hometown, I went looking for Hesse’s Ice Cream, hoping for some of their orange or lime sherbet. No such luck; there was a real estate office on their corner. At least the Maid-Rite still was in business.

          1. Even though I grew up in Geneva, the southern end of the lake is far more picturesque. Actually, that’s true of the southern ends of all of the Finger Lakes. Seneca lake trout are amazing. As big as salmon. You cut them into steaks rather than fillets.

            1. I just looked at a map, intrigued by your comment about the southern ends of the lakes being the most picturesque. There are a lot of natural areas and such at those southern ends, too. Is there something at work there? Prevailing winds from the big lake? Temperature differences? Elevation? I know nothing about the region, but it occurs to me that those lakes might be remnants of something larger, and they all were formed in the same way, aeons ago.

            2. The glaciers were very powerful. Seneca lake is 38 miles long, has an average depth of 281 feet, and a maximum depth of 618 feet — almost 200 feet below sea level. Its maximum width is about 3 miles and its average width is probably more like a mile.

            3. That’s not a bay. That’s a puddle. I’m sure you would really love Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes in general. Also, the area produces some really excellent white wines. However stay away – far away – from the red wines.

    1. I do miss good apples. When I was growing up in the midwest, fall was apple season, and there were many days spent making applesauce, pies for the freezer, and so on. Of course there had to be ice cream with the apple pies, cakes, and crisps. We always had vanilla, but the introduction of cinnamon has made pie and ice cream even more delightful.

  6. When I was young in California we were able to get ice cream in stores, and even ice cream parlors, at all seasons of the year. But in 1970 I was visiting Turkey when I got a craving for their wonderful Turkish ice cream in October or November and everyone looked at me as though I were nuts. All the dondurma shops were shut up.

    1. There’s nothing worse than a craving that can’t be satisfied. I still smile when I remember our encounter with a French freighter mid-Pacific when we were sailing to Alaska. One of their first questions was, “Do you have ice cream?” Alas — we didn’t, and they were left to sail on, dreaming of whichever flavors the French prefer.

  7. When I was young there was a local store that made its own ice cream and it had one flavour – vanilla. It is still the best ice cream I ever had, but then again I hardly ever eat it any more so I don’t know much about all these new versions. I did once have black pepper ice cream in Ecuador and it was good.

    1. I’m still trying to get my mind around black pepper ice cream. It occurs to me that it might do nicely as a complement to other foods at a meal, rather than serving as a dessert: rather like yogurt combined with spicy Indian food.

      It’s interesting that so many of us remember those early ice creams as the ‘best.’ I wonder if context doesn’t play into it: fond memories of childhood and all that. On the other hand, many ice creams then, homemade or otherwise, were made with simple ingredients, and none of the better-living-through-chemistry additives that show up today. That makes a difference.

  8. Blue Bell from Texas and other companies don’t have to work at finding new flavors for you and I – It’s always summer for us!! ( I hope it cools down this winter!!)

    1. It will cool. I don’t know how it is for you, but September’s always a hot month for us, although we have rain coming in for the next few days. The weather gurus say there’s a possibility it’ll whomp up a bit, but there’s no real threat. We might get a low level tropical storm, but those are normal. Thank goodness there’s ice cream in the freezer. Some people prefer chocolate when they’re weathered in, but ice cream does it for me — as long as the power stays on.

  9. I’m fond of vanilla cream so I am somewhat oblivious to other flavors. That being said I adore spumoni but it only shows up around here at Christmastime because for some reason the ice cream companies think that’s when you should eat it. I’ve never heard of Mardi Gras ice cream, but maybe it’s around here.

    1. It’s strange. I haven’t had spumoni since I lived in Iowa, where it was common during the holidays. I’m not even sure where it came from. My grandparents’ little town had several Italian families, so I might even have been eating homemade and not known it.

      Nearby Galveston’s awash in Italian heritage, and yet I haven’t seen it there. This clearly is going to require some research, and with the holiday season approaching, it would be a good time to do it. Thanks for reminding me of that wonderful treat!

  10. Ah, Blue Bell ice cream. I’m a big fan of Amy’s here in Austin,(also, Teo gelato) and because I completely lack in self discipline when it comes to ice cream, I don’t keep it in the house, but they’re a wonderful Texas company. Great post, but now I want some of the cold and creamy stuff!

    1. I’ve never heard of Amy’s, but I’ve seen Teo in my HEB store. I’ve never tried it, but I’ve wondered about it. I do enjoy some of Talenti’s gelato flavors. If they ever bring back key lime pie, I’ll be happy.
      Like you, I tend not to keep it in the house, or to buy it only in pints. Unfortunately, spiced pumpkin pecan comes only in half gallons. There are people who don’t believe that ice cream can call to you from the depths of a freezer, but that isn’t so — and spiced pumpkin pecan has a clear, sweet call.

  11. I grew up where dairy was big and we had ice cream for dessert almost every night. I worked at the our family’s luncheonette beginning at 8 years old and made many sundaes, ice cream sodas, and banana splits.

    1. A blogging friend who passed away a few years ago grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York. Her family had a creamery, and made ice cream to sell. After her parents were gone, she kept the farm, although they stopped making ice cream. But she always laughed and said that she never lost the taste for it, even after years and years of eating as much as she wanted.

      Sundaes and banana splits are so good — I always enjoyed making them, although they were treats for us, and not part of a daily routine. The Rexall drug store in Uvalde was the only soda fountain between San Antonio and El Paso for years, in continuous operation since 1883. I wonder how many banana splits were made there?

        1. I had a grandmother who died when my mother was sixteen. It’s always interesting to hear the stories about her, and a little sad that I didn’t get to know her. It would have been great fun to have a grandparent with a candy store.

  12. ice cream is for all year but not because of seasonal flavors. we usually only buy the homemade vanilla anyway. I have to say I don’t get the whole pumpkin spice thing. marketing has gone a little crazy with that. but stew is for winter as is potato leek soup which I’ve been thinking about making but it’s still so hot out.

    1. I’m glad that Blue Bell jumped on the pumpkin spice bandwagon. I’ve not had one of those lattés for several years — nor any Starbucks, for that matter — but I will say that the BB spiced pumpkin pecan is way ahead of SB when it comes to flavor. I grew up with so much pumpkin in fall — bread, cookies, waffles, and so on — that that connection is pretty strong.

      Potato leek’s another good one. We’re getting to the point where a cool front is more likely than not, and that’s going on my culinary to-do list. Right now, it’s going to be days of rain. I hope some makes it your way; it ought to.

  13. I had an aunt who made vanilla ice cream, but there was also the ‘notion’ of visiting the ice cream parlor on Sundays, which wasn’t necessarily ‘homemade’ but commercial. However, some homemade flavors still persisted amongst them ‘passion fruit’ and ‘coconut’ flavors. I enjoyed the ‘vintage’ illustrations you used here. They’re so nostalgic.

    1. Aren’t those illustrations great? White Mountain had someone with creative flair involved in their advertising. We often spent Sunday afternoons in the same way. After church and dinner, it would be time for a drive in the country to see how the corn was doing. Then, we’d stop at either Hesse’s in town (orange sherbet for me, thank you) or the A&W Root Beer stand (either a soft-serve cone, or a root beer float). The treats were wonderful, and the memories are sweet, too.

  14. Seems I recall the story about President Johnson, awake one night worrying about something or another and told his assistant he wanted some Bluebell Ice Cream. A phone call was made. At Bergstrom AFB in Austin, the commissary packed a half gallon in a foam cooler, delivered it to a waiting F4 Phantom jet that blasted off into the night. Refueled over Tennessee it landed at Andrews AFB met by a helicopter that delivered said Bluebell to LBJ. Time was just over 2 hours. That was some really really REALLY expensive ice cream. I also recall my favorite growing up. My mother made ice cream using Big Red soda. Like having bubble gum and ice cream all in one. She also learned to make Dr. Pepper ice cream. I wish I could come down to the coast, but we collected two more dogs rescued from the last storm down there. We are up to 5 rescues now so kinda hard to travel. The love they give makes up for it (Lucy the chi-rat dog curled up in my lap as I type).

    1. I loved your story about the Big Red soda ice cream — Dr. Pepper, too. How Texan is that? Did you like putting salted peanuts on the Dr. Pepper ice cream, like putting them into a bottle of the soda? I’ve never understood why Blue Bell produced a bubblegum flavor ice cream. Now I’m wondering whether it’s a tribute to that Big Red version your mother made. You should try a pint and see if the flavor is the same.

      That’s a great story about President Johnson, too. A craving’s a craving, after all. When I visited the Blue Bell website, I noticed that people with cravings can order four half gallons for the somewhat lower price of $135. Of course, that’s next-day delivery, not two hours. I’m not sure Blue Bell has an F4 at their disposal. Maybe in the future, drone delivery will make it happen.

      We’ve suddenly moved into rain, with up to twelve inches forecast for this week. It’s not going to be a Harvey, but it’s certainly going to be a drought buster. One of these days, it will cool down, too. Even if you can’t get to the coast physically, it’s nice to see you here!

  15. Can’t go wrong with ice cream, no matter the season. Blue Bell is really good, though I do so miss my granny’s homemade peach ice cream…

  16. We eat ice cream all year round even though we live in the Northeast and winter gets downright cold. When we lived in the Pacific Northwest, our favorite was Tillamook ice cream. Here I’m partial to authentic Italian-made gelato made and sold in their own shop by a local family.

    1. I’d heard so much about Tillamook that when it showed up in a local store. I tried it. Strangely, it just didn’t suit me. It seemed to be “too” creamy. That doesn’t quite capture what I didn’t like about it, but it’s the best I can do. I tried the hazelnut and salted caramel, and never bought more. On the other hand, if some of the other regional flavors show up, like marionberry or huckleberry, I’d give those a try. I do like gelato, and there are some wonderful local shops in Houston. I’d not drive into town for gelato, but if I’m there, I occasionally stop.

    1. They’re great fun to write. When I began working with them, it was all about the syllable count. Now, the challenge is to do more with rhythm, rhyme, and other poetic devices inside the structure. Try it!

  17. Aww…seasonal food. When the first norther comes I want to make a big pot of stew/soup with whatever I have on hand and cornbread. I limit my ice cream to Homemade Vanilla Bluebell at least once in the summer, alone or with peach cobbler, peaches from the Hill Country if I am lucky. As a kid most of the ice cream came from an ice cream freezer and cranked outside. I love the vintage ads. Down on my part of the coast it is a little less warm in the morning with a hint of what may come.

    1. I think I remember that you got some of those hill country peaches this year. I hope so — there’s nothing better. I still have a few fresh peaches left; the last ones showed up in the market last weekend. They’re clearly end-of-the-crop, but they’re still better than no peaches.

      Hand-cranked vanilla was a staple for us when I was a kid. Sometimes a little something was added, but usually we stayed with vanilla, allowing people to add topping if they pleased. My cousins and I always fought a little for the privilege of licking the paddles.

      I just looked at your forecast, and was surprised to see how little rain you’re supposed to get. Something is better than nothing in the weather department, too, but estimates here are for as much as twelve inches, and possible development into a tropical depression or storm. I’m not sure about that, but we’re clearly going to have enough rain to break the drought in this area.

  18. I remember homemade peach ice cream when I was a kid. Sadly, I wasn’t a fan. I much preferred chocolate that I didn’t have to crank for, ha! Love your Etheree, Linda — you’re quite proficient at that. Maybe one of these days I’ll try one myself — we all need a good challenge now and then, don’t you think?!

    1. It’s interesting how many people remember homemade ice cream — especially the peach. I don’t remember ever coming across chocolate hand-cranked. Of course, vanilla could be dressed up with chocolate saucer or hot fudge. A good hot fudge sundae, with nuts, is about as good as it gets.

      I enjoy the etherees, and I’m always glad when the beginning of one comes to mind. They’re usually rooted in experience rather than thought. Something I’ve noticed brings a phrase to mind, and I recognize that it’s got the right structure built in, even if it’s only the first three lines. Sometimes those beginnings (or occasionally the endings) sit in the files for months, until something clicks, and I can begin to build on the phrase.

      1. No, the best thing about chocolate was BUYING it immediately, not having to wait and work cranking it! When I was little, we had an ice cream truck drive through the neighborhood, and kids would pop out of their houses like they were launched from a slingshot. Good memories!

        1. Ah, yes — there is that. Who wants to defer gratification when you can hear it coming down the street, probably playing a little tune that spreads from one street to the other? Kids today do miss a lot.

  19. Why oh why did you mention the spiced pumpkin pecan ice cream?! It is probably the biggest treat on earth for me, and I am completely unable to not overeat it. They only sell it in the large half-gallon size (at least that I have been able to find), and last fall, my visiting daughter and I ate THE ENTIRE CONTAINER in one day (with me accounting for at least 2/3 to 3/4 of that). I may seem like the self-disciplined type, and I mostly am, but that ice cream undoes me. (Other ice cream is OK – nothing I crave except maybe an occasional dish of coffee ice cream – but this one …! Please tell me it’s not on the shelves yet. Lie if you have to.)

    1. Unfortunately, the spiced pumpkin pecan only comes in half gallons. For those of us who adore it, that’s not an issue. Our question is how many half gallons to buy. I have a friend who loves it so much she buys a half-dozen containers when it shows up, and then puts five of them in her grandson’s locked freezer, halfway across town. She limits herself to one half-gallon each month, and he has strict instructions not to give in to her demands, even if she threatens to write him out of the will.

      As for whether it’s on the shelves yet — the answer’s both ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ It is being distributed, but finding it’s another issue. Down here, it’s currently not available at Randalls, Kroger, Walmart or Target, but it’s plentiful at HEB, our source for all things Texan. You can guess how I know.

  20. When I moved to Selah in 1992 I planted two peach trees. When Ben arrived in 2004, the trees were alive but not bearing the fruit I desired. Ben, a former orchardist, installed drip, pruned heavily, and taught me the art of thinning. I always felt like I was throwing a crop of fruit on the ground, but it’s the key to abundant fruit.

    We began to get 200 peaches per tree. I froze and dried and once tried canning and of course, put the peaches on scoops of vanilla ice cream. I miss those luscious peaches but ice cream is ubiquitous. Even here in Livingston Montana on our way to Yellowstone.

    1. After your first sentence, I had to make a short detour. I’ve only known Selah as a word in the Psalms, and had no idea it was a town in Washington. The history really is interesting. When I noticed the Naches River, I wondered if there was any etymological relationship to our Neches River. The short answer’s ‘no,’ but I found some fascinating history there, too, that belongs in a post rather than a comment.

      I have the last of this year’s peaches sitting on my counter. If you were a little closer, I’d share them with you and Ben. You could put them on ice cream if you’d like, or just enjoy the fruit’s juicy sweetness.

    1. I’ve never had Phish Food, although I have some experience with Cherry Garcia. When I was spending time cruising the Texas coast, the routine was predictable: get the boat tied up, walk into town, purchase a pint, and enjoy. Even if there only was a tiny convenience store, there always was ice cream, even if it was only a sandwich or Eskimo pie.

    1. That’s true about tastes changing. Over the past years, I’ve cut back on salt, and now I’ll run into food that are almost inedible because they’re so salty. Apparently I’m not alone, because I see more ‘low salt’ labels these days.

      I hadn’t had a Dairy Queen cone in years, until I was out and about with a friend who stops there regularly. It was fine, but it certainly wasn’t as good as my memory of cones from years ago. The recipe may have changed, or my memory could have improved them in retrospect. Still, there was nothing like a cone dipped in chocolate. Those shells were great fun to eat.

  21. Ice cream is a favorite of mine, too and I wish they kept peppermint stick on the shelves year round. (Why don’t they? What is more refreshing in summer than cool peppermint?) But I digress. I adore the poem. An etheree? And now I want to go get some ice cream, even though there’s a nip in the air today!

    1. I like peppermint, and would enjoy it in the summer too, but it’s nice to have it to look forward to. The day I’ll celebrate is the day someone finally creates a decent lemon ice cream. The sorbets always are too sour, and the gelatos I’ve found are too sweet. I may have to try making some.

      During the holidays, our go-to fancy dessert always a mini-Pavlova sort of thing: individual meringue shells with peppermint ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate, and toasted pecans. It’s usually too humid to make the meringue here, but eventually the humidity will drop and I may do it “just because.”

  22. All those flavors sound very tempting! When we lived in Wisconsin the ag school turned out its own ice cream – Bascom Hall – that could be bought year-round at the student union. It was outstanding. Recently we discovered a local Mexican homemade ice cream shop called La Michoacana that also has very high quality stuff in intriguing flavors.

    1. What a neat idea — for the ag school to be purveyors of ice cream. Did they have their own milking herd, or purchase the milk and cream from local farmers?

      The name of your ice cream shop intrigued me, because around here that name belongs to a chain of meat markets. When I did some exploring, I realized that the ice cream bars provided during a recent prairie conference must have been from a Houston shop that carries La Michoacana: perhaps even an actual La Michoacana shop. The were unlike anything I’d had; someone said they were Hispanic, and they were delicious. I’m going to have to do more exploring and see where they were purchased.

      1. The ag school used their own milk and cream from their own cows – the students took care of the cows and all the resulting products – though I never did hear if there was a “Bascom Hall Beef”.

  23. Ice cream knows no season in our house, Linda. And it has to be Tillamook. We do try to limit our ice cream eating to once a week. Often unsuccessfully, I might note. And Peggy demands hot fudge on hers, whenever she eats it. Unless, it’s Cold Stone when Heath Bar is to be added in. I go for raspberries and Cold Stone because I love the contrast. –Curt

    1. We have Tillamook now, although I’m not as fond of it as of Blue Bell. I suspect some of these preferences are born of simple habit and familiarity.

      I wasn’t familiar with Cold Stone. Using my considerable reasoning powers, I figured it might be short for Cold Stone Creamery, and did a search. I found that there are a few of their shops here, and although most are on the north side of Houston, there’s one in a ritzy suburb about twenty miles away. A friend has a son who lives there with his family. I called her to ask if she knew of the place, and she said, “Oh, yes — when I can’t think of what else to do with the grandkids, we go there.”

      1. I really can’t remember having Blue Bell, Linda. It hasn’t made its way out here. But when I get closer to Texas (New Mexico in October), I shall go on a search. I used to eat Ben and Jerry’s on occasion, and even made it to their plant in New England, but I don’t think it matches Tillamook. Their graveyard of retired flavors was quite fun.

    1. I’m still not sure I’ve ever had frozen custard; I’m not even sure I know exactly what it is, since the ice creams I’ve always had contain egg yolks, too. I did find a shop not all that distant that serves up the treat; some day when I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll have to give it a try.

  24. Mmmm….sounds delicious. Here we go to “the Fat Farm”, as my dad christened the local Dairy Queen. The owner was famous for using real creme in his ice cream, and they still do it right all these years later. Your post made me chuckle because we had that conversation a couple of days ago at the grocery store…is it time for a roast?

    1. That’s funny. When my mom and her friends talked about the ‘fat farm,’ they always meant a place where you’d devote yourself to getting rid of some pounds, not putting them on. I’m rather fond of your dad’s definition.

      It’s funny, how so many of us share the same impulses, like moving to a different seasonal food as the weather changes. I wonder if some of us aren’t more attuned to that, or at least have developed the habit, because we grew up in a time when eating local and eating seasonally were simply what was done, out of necessity. The apple or orange in the toe of a Christmas stocking was a treat precisely because it was out of season, and we looked forward to them with great excitement.

      1. My dad loved a pun, and I am sure he was thinking of the usual meaning of “fat farm”.

        From an environmental standpoint, and probably health, it would be much better for us if we went back to eating local and seasonally. I remember those anticipated oranges in the toe of the stocking. My kids, on the other hand, were never much impressed. Ah well. And now they are grown and my son has moved away. I was dropping something off at Goodwill the other day and the SUV in front of me had a dad and his grown son unloading boxes of toys, easter baskets, etc. I’m betting he’s off to college and his parents are clearing away his childhood. I should really do that, too, I suppose, but somehow I just can’t do it.

        1. I finally dealt with some of that ambivalence by keeping representative samples: a half-dozen report cards rather than a pile; a few valentines rather than every single one. My mother was more of a keeper than I was, and it really was a bit of a relief to clear out some of the “stuff” she had kept — although it was quite a chore to go through everything piece by piece.

          1. Yes. One year our basement flooded and water got into a tub I thought was water proof. I lost baby photo albums and many early mementos. I was pretty sure that was the end but it turns out we’re all still here. :0

            1. That made me laugh, Melissa. We are here, despite it all — and aren’t we glad of it? Besides, we still carry that past inside us, as well as in our boxes and tubs. That’s a very good thing.

            2. Yes, indeed, we really don’t need all that detritus, and that is a very good thing. For the longest time I felt that was so important, not to mention the shell (house) that sheltered it all. As I’m getting older I’m even starting to reconsider that, and wonder who, not to mention where, I’d be if I let go of the idea of having a house. I’ve gone from feeling sheltered to feeling tethered. Hm. It is funny how our viewpoints change, isn’t it?

            1. My home and my “home turf” hasn’t been particularly affected, although Galveston to the south and Houston to the north and east took it pretty hard. In Houston, it was flooded roads more than flooded homes, although there were some of those.

              My biggest concern is for east Texas. I’d hoped to visit the Sandyland sanctuary and other spots this weekend, but there’s simply no way to get there; the highways still are covered with water. Several of the towns I pass through on my way to those beloved spots were at the center of the rain, and as much as 30″-40″ was common — only a couple of hours away. It could have been much worse here.

            2. We’ve been having these storms on the Texas coast since Texas had a coast. If two hurricanes hadn’t wiped out Indianola, Galveston never would have become our primary port, only to be wiped out by the 1900 storm. A little history along with our meteorology might reduce the panic level, and allow us to deal with things more rationally.

            3. I don’t know about sterner stuff. It may just be experience. My first hurricane was Alicia, in 1983, when I experienced the eye coming right across my place. After that, there was Allison, and living in an RV on the driveway — there’s an experience. And of course there was Rita, and Ike, and an whole assortment of tropical storms before Harvey showed up, and Imelda.

              In between, there were the winter freezes and ice storms — three freezes in the 1980s left more than 30 million dead fish. It is a land of extremes!

    1. You’re certainly right that four servings from a Haagen Dazs carton is a joke — especially since they’ve reduced the amount in that carton from 16 to 14 ounces. I remember wondering why the shape of their carton had changed, becoming smaller at the bottom than the top. Then, I found out.

    1. That’s all right. You need your energy to go leaping after those mountain goats. Besides, there are experts who claim the the calories burned in spoon-lifting help to balance out those consumed in the ice cream!

  25. Oh, seasonal foods. Did I hear someone mention potato/leek soup? I’m starting to crave soups and stews but it is still a bit too warm yet.

    I like pumpkin pie around the holidays but the pumpkin spice everything/everywhere craze rather annoys me. What’s next? Pumpkin Spice gas? Regular or Hi-test?

    However, pumpkin pecan ice cream sounds intriguing. Rather like Talenti’s Southern Pecan Praline gelato. grabs me.

    As for homemade ice cream? I have many memories of my Dad and his brothers cranking the ice cream churn on Granny’s back steps in the summer when we were kids. Granny always made peach custard to churn. Not yellow peaches. She had a couple of trees with those runty looking white flesh peaches. YUM.

    1. The spiced pumpkin pecan ice cream has almost nothing in common with that Starbuck’s abomination, apart from the name. The ice cream has the spices of a good, homemade pumpkin pie: I think it’s the slightly heavier dose of clove that really makes it shine. Add in pecans that have been given a spice glaze, and a swirl of caramel, and it becomes one of those things I can’t keep in my freezer for “later.” I know myself too well. That ‘scooping and scooping’ behavior is more than metaphor.

      The orchard where I get my peaches in summer has both yellow and white, and this year those white peaches were perfect. I’ve never tasted anything like them; they far outshined even the best yellow. I can’t imagine how good ice cream made with them would be.

      1. Oh, those white flesh peaches made good ice cream!

        As for the spiced pumpkin pecan? I’ll eat just about anything with pecans in it.

  26. There is no off season for ice cream. So many ways to enjoy it. Even in the depth of winter, a nice scoop of vanilla in a mug of hot chocolate. Probably not something to have while walking behind a snow blower, but once indoors…
    For a short time we made our own ice cream or sorbet with a frozen liner in a bucket with a hand paddle. It was good and worth the work, but there are so many choices now in the stores making it hard to not take advantage of the convenience. And what is more convenient than taking a nice big soup spoon and digging into the round cardboard tub of Phish Food? :)

    1. You’re the second person who’s mentioned ice cream and hot chocolate, and now I realize she probably meant the same thing: ice cream in hot chocolate. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but now I’m waiting until the very depths of our winter to give it a try. There’s bound to be a week or two in January when a treat like that would be just the ticket.

      Thinking back to my childhood (and even my youth), it occurs to me now that making homemade ice cream was as much a social occasion as it was a way to get ice cream. Ice cream was available in stores, even then, but taking an afternoon to hand-churn a batch was an excuse for people to gather and gossip — it was great fun.

      As for Phish Food — I’ve never had it, and didn’t have a clue about its flavor, so your link finally answered the question. Chocolate is good, and chocolate fish are fine, but that marshmallow’s a disqualifier for me. I’ve never found a marshmallow-in-ice-cream combo that I like, and a few years ago I stopped even trying to appreciate it. That’s all right — it means there’s more for you.

      1. Just give it a little nibble. I don’t find the marshmallow all that noticeable but I don’t have the most discerning of palates either. But if you don’t I’ll have another spoonful and thank you for the extra taste I’m getting. A dish full of the chocolate fish would be excellent as they are rich. If you were closer I’d save a few for you.

        1. Well, ok, then — on your recommendation, I’ll give it a try. I’ve had enough Cherry Garcia to know that even if I don’t favor the flavor, it’ll be good ice cream.

          Speaking of fish, one of the highlights of our recent experience with tropical storm Imelda came when a guy who’d pulled off the north freeway into a Whataburger parking lot noticed some fish in the ditches, and ended up catching a four-pound bass. There was some footage of him on tv, Whataburger in one hand and the fish in the other. He claimed he was going to take it home and fry it up. I’ll stick with the Phish.

          1. I had some for lunch today…well, that and chili. There is more marshmallow than I remembered so I withdraw my recommendation unless you want to walk on the wild side. Of course if you are wallowing in wealth you can pay the premium price for Phish Food and just pick out the fish.

            Yeah, there’s something about a ditch fish that isn’t all that appealing. I am not much of a fish eater so definitely would stick with the phish.

            1. I had Phish for supper. Well, I had a salad, too, but I gave the sweet concoction a try. On the plus side, it’s some of the best chocolate ice cream I’ve had, and the caramel swirls were great. The marshmallow was ok, until I ran into a huge pool of it, and discovered it was much sweeter and stickier than the ice cream. If it had been more evenly distributed, it would have been all right. But the biggest downside was the phish. They were too big and too hard. I like my additions to be less — obtrusive.
              I don’t favor most rocky roads and things like that, either.

              That’s way more commentary on a pint of ice cream than’s really necessary! But I tried it, and I certainly wouldn’t turn it down if someone offered it to me. But if I want chocolate, I’ll go with Talenti Belgian chocoate gelato, and I’ll save the rest of the B&J for a friend who adores Phish Food.

            2. I’m sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. But I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that you enjoyed the fish less than the marshmallow. I guess that I like my chocolate in larger chunks than you do. :) I do also like Talenti gelatos, especially the Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip.

            3. The black raspberry chocolate chip is great; we’re in full agreement there. My favorites (which I haven’t seen in ages) are the cinnamon peach biscuit and key lime pie. At holiday time, I like their pumpkin pie, but their eggnog and peppermint are less than stellar.

              If I keep this up, I’ll finish off the Phish Food myself, despite it all.

            4. Well then, I’d better keep commenting until you finish the phish. If I can find it, I’ll have to try the Key Lime Pie which is one of my favorite tastes. Talenti’s site lists three CVS stores in the Houston area with that flavor. Now, that may only be that they have Talenti products but I clicked the flavor and then typed in Houston. Good luck.

  27. Enjoy your carton of spiced pumpkin pecan! I’m altogether seasonal when it comes to ice cream but in the sense that summer is the only season of my eating it. I finished up my summer stock a few weeks ago and ice cream likely won’t be making it into the freezer until next May or so. But in the meantime, making soups has been back on the agenda!

    1. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me until now, but we used to make snow ice cream in the winter. Between crunching on icicles and eating snow ice cream, winter provided as many treats as our apple and cherry trees did in summer.

      I do love a good stew or pot of soup. We’re all impatient for cooler weather, if not cold, but it really isn’t off schedule — yet. If we haven’t had a front by mid-October that drops us twenty degrees, I’ll be surprised. Is your boat on the hard yet? It seems way too early for that, but maybe it isn’t.

      1. As soon as I read of your snow ice cream I was reminded of the Quebecois tradition in March of pouring warm maple syrup on snow. It is delicious and marries winter and spring so nicely!

        Santa Maria comes out of the water on October 3. We had a lovely sail this weekend, with some very fine weather! Next weekend the mast will come down, and then the long winter wait, and curling begins the next day!

  28. As a child, we would visit my Grandparents in Madisonville, TN. First stop was the little store down the road for a carton of Mayfield Peach Ice Cream. Creamy vanilla with slices of peach. I still dream about it. We live in Wisconsin and there is no shortage of ice cream but I continue the quest to find that same taste. Just throwing fresh peach slices on top of vanilla ice cream isn’t the same.

    But one of our latest intriguing combinations came from our local kitchens shop. They carry a wide variety of balsamic vinegars. The owner gave us this recipe. Sliced strawberries soaked in a fruit-based balsamic, drain and put on vanilla ice cream then drizzle a bit of the vinegar over it all. Yummm. Great contrast.

    1. You’re right that putting peaches — or anything else — on top of ice cream doesn’t do it. A friend said they always made a peach sauce, combined that with the custard, and then added peach chunks in addition to the creamy combination. It sounds so good, I wouldn’t mind some right now.

      I’ve had strawberries combined with balsamic vinegar, but never would have thought of combining them with ice cream. Like sweet and salty, sweet and savory’s always a good combination — that’s another idea that would be worth trying. Thanks for stopping by, and for offering such a good suggestion.

  29. I have local ice cream shops that do fancy stuff of wonderful quality. For me, caramel ice cream with some chocolate bits in it is the thing. Love the illustrations, I wonder if the “White Mountains” in the product name are in New Hampshire.

    1. That’s interesting. Steve G. tempted me into trying Phish Food, and it was the caramel/chocolate combo that I liked. The marshmallow and the chocolate fish were less appealing.

      The White Mountain ice cream freezers did begin in Nashua, New Hampshire, in 1853. There’s a little history here, including a note that Nashua was chosen because it was at the heart of the New England white pine essential to the manufacturer of the wood tubs used in the White Mountain Freezer. They’re still in business, and you can buy either hand-cranked or electric.

  30. Ice cream was a special treat when we were kids. We did not have it often – maybe with birthday cake. I do remember in the summer months mom made us root beer floats once a week after we returned from the town swimming pool.

    Forrest and I have a fairly healthy lifestyle so any ice cream is a splurge, but I have found two recipes for ice cream that are quite yummy, and made with coconut cream and fresh fruit. We’re enjoying some lovely apple crisp and some cobblers right now. Autumn harvest is in full swing!

    1. I have a healthy lifestyle, too, but I come from a family that joked about four basic food groups: caffeine, sugar, butter, and dessert. That is a bit of a joke, since there was meat at every meal and a big veggie garden, but we did have dessert with every supper, and if there wasn’t anything else around, ice cream and a homemade cookie would do the trick.

      Your mention of the root beer float sure did strike a bell, though. Nearly every Sunday, after dinner, we’d either detour on the way home from my grandparents’ home or go for a drive, and it often ended at the A&W stand, where a favorite was the root beer float. There are so many good root beers on the market now, I might have to put that on the “treat” list for the future. As for apples — how I remember those long afternoons making applesauce. There’s nothing better than that; canned applesauce is bland and boring in comparison.

  31. Mm… ice cream… I love it. Strangely, I never remember eating ice cream until my 7th year of age. We went to Yosemite on vacation and there the Curry Company served a wild blackberry number that eclipses all other flavors I have tasted or can dream of. Sadly, in this day and age you can’t get a good scoop of the delightful stuff for any money anywhere. Thanks for the memory, Linda.

    (I grow blackberries; I have no excuse.)

    1. Isn’t it funny, how certain childhood memories endure? When I think of the lime and orange sherbets served in my home town’s ice cream parlor, I still can taste them in my mind.

      Blackberry’s a hard one to find from any company, it seems. Blue Bell puts out a seasonal southern blackberry cobbler that’s delicious, but if you don’t get it when it first comes out, you’re out of luck. The blackberry sauce they swirl through it has the taste of the real fruit; if you ever come across it, you might give it a try. I wondered about the Curry Company, and looked them up. No wonder the ice cream was so good — Oregon blackberries!

      1. Yes, childhood memory is the most intense! I did find one from Hagan Das, but it was insipid, totally lacking the blackberry flavor I wanted. I will have to make myself learn to make the tasty concoction here at home.

        I followed your link, but I’m not sure the Oregon Curry Co is the same as the Yosemite Curry Co. Although, I think that Curry is an unusual name and they may well have been part of the family. Need more investigation. This is an article from the Los Angeles Times… It outlines the history of the Currys and sadly tells about the parting of Curry and Yosemite.

          1. That’s interesting. I do remember hearing about some of the conflicts caused in Yosemite by development and increasing numbers of visitors, although I couldn’t have named the company that had the contracts.

  32. Just came back from Toronto a few days ago. It was relatively hot there. Relative compared to Calgary. Today we’re having the first snow of fall, albeit the temp. isn’t too low, around 32 F. I’ve to say, even though we have distinct seasons here, we (or I) don’t have seasonal dishes. I love fried chicken no matter the season, and we eat ice cream in the winter too, though not as frequent as in the summer.

    1. A friend in Montana just posted a first photo of snow on the mountains in his neighborhood. The change is coming, and I suspect you’re rather like us: looking forward to the new season, but a little regretful, too. Of course, your winter can be more of an endurance test than ours. It’s summer that we have to endure.

      I never would have guessed fried chicken as one of your favorites. I wish I could have invited you to my grandmother’s table. I’ve never, ever found any fried chicken to equal hers. We had it almost every Sunday and never tired of it.

  33. In magazines from the early 1900’s, homemade ice cream recipes often appeared in the winter issues. I’m guessing that ice was more readily available during the winter (and that you could freeze it yourself by setting water outside) than during the warmer months, and that people made ice cream during the winter more back then than they do now.

    1. That might be. On the other hand, ice often was stored right through the summer in ‘ice houses.’ For a few years, my grandparents had an ice box that depended on the blocks of ice for its cooling power, and that ice was delivered to their house. There’s a fascinating article about it all here. I had no idea that the U.S. exported ice to other countries in sailing ships — and it didn’t melt. Apparently the insulating qualities of sawduct and hay are substantial!

      I thought it was interesting, too, that farmers would gain extra income during the off-season by harvesting ice. It sounds like hard work, but it certainly helped out everyone from housewives to dairymen, who needed ice to get their milk to market safely.

  34. Your words remind me of the delicious adventures spent with tasty and sweet ice cream. While I cannot eat much of it anymore because of diet restrictions, I can imagine tasting some of my favorites from the past.

    Your poem at the end topped off my ice cream memories. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Limitations come to us all as the years pass. I’m sorry you can’t indulge in ice cream as freely as you might like, but I’m even more glad you have those sweet memories to enjoy. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, too. It’s one of my favorites. After years in a family that saw nothing at all wrong with settling in with a pint of ice cream and a spoon, it’s a practice I know well.

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