The Taste of Memory

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 the clerk had known her long enough 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 said. “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.”

That’s when I smiled, recognizing a woman who shared my preferences. I don’t crave pot roast in summer any more than I long for 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 temperatures soar. For decades, families spent summer afternoons churning homemade ice cream, just as the churches turned to ice cream socials as summer fund-raisers. The sound of the roving ice-cream seller’s bell was a summer sound, and summer trips to the ice house were as often for ice as for beer.

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 approach. Aficionados of the brand have learned their 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 flavors, of course; spiced pumpkin and butter pecan are sheer perfection. When they appear 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 for the end of summer’s interminable heat, 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 .

 

 

126 thoughts on “The Taste of Memory

  1. Great Post. I loved being able to learn more about “the Etheree” and just love the name!! As well as your poem. Here in the Northeast we consume more ice cream than the rest of the country – and we eat it all winter long. “creamies”/soft serve is seasonal.

    1. I once traveled to Etheree’s home town to visit her grave and learn a little more about her. I got run out of the cemetery by some big dogs, and (at least on the day I visited) no one at the high school knew who she was — although a librarian in a nearby town did know the family. Someday, I’ll go back and try again.

      Soft serve in Texas means Dairy Queen. We have the most franchises; Vermont is the only state that has none. Going to the DQ for a ‘blizzard’ is a standard treat; it’s any number of add-ins combined with the soft serve ice cream.

    1. For a few years, our standard Christmas Day dessert was an individual meringue shell filled with peppermint ice cream and drizzled with fudge sauce. I haven’t had one in years, since the Christmas season around here often is too humid for making meringues.

    1. It’s a year-round treat for me, too. Not only that, I was raised in a family that tolerated ice cream for breakfast from time to time: especially in summer, and especially if it was paired with a nice fruit pie.

    1. Blue Bell produced a sea salt caramel ice cream, but I’ve never seen it in the stores. It may have been a very limited production run, or — more likely — it keeps selling out fast. The best sea salt caramel I’ve found is Talenti gelato.

  2. I spent nearly all my teen years working for the Ashburn Ice Cream Company, a local Dallas-based, family-owned company of retail ice cream stores, starting at age 13. To offset the winter slump, the owners would expand their winter flavors to include fruit flavors, such as cherry, strawberry, lemon custard (when those fruits were out of season in the grocery stores), and more decadent chocolate flavors that kids could not resist. During the Christmas season, we also sold eggnog (both ice cream and the dairy kind), and Claxton Fruit Cakes to bring customers into the stores.
    Even with that, I still had plenty of time to study in between customers after the weather turned cold.

    1. If I could find a good lemon custard or lemon ice cream, I’d be ecstatic. The only palatable lemon I’ve found is HEB’s lemon sorbetto. Most are too sweet, or too artificially lemon. One year, Talenti sold eggnog gelato that was delicious, but I’ve never been able to find it again; ‘listed on the website’ and ‘available in stores’ can be quite different things.

      My home town had a locally owned ice cream shop that was full of good things. One of my friends worked there a couple of summers, and thought she’d died and gone to heaven. Their lime and orange sherbets were nothing like what’s sold today. My friend knew their trick, but never told us what it was.

  3. Costco is currently selling two half-gallons of vanilla ice cream for $12. It went for half the price not so many years ago. For whatever reason, the price of ice cream has risen faster than that of milk.

    1. It may be that market forces are at play. A couple of months ago, I stopped by my pharmacy to pick up a refill of my eye drops, and the pharmacist said, “Where’s your ice cream?” When I asked what he meant, he said that a new phenomenon had developed; a high percentage of pharmacy customers were showing up with ice cream, asking for it to be rung up with their prescriptions. As he said, “Apparently the medicinal use of ice cream has turned into a thing.”

      It makes sense. During the enforced lockdowns, a good number of people I know increased their ice cream consumption considerably. Savvy manufacturers and retailers may have taken advantage of that. I’ll say this: given what I did with blackberry cobbler ice cream during Hurricane Harvey, it’s probably a good thing I never stayed home during Covid.

    1. For years, Blue Bell mint chocolate chip was my go-to, except during peppermint and spiced pumpkin seasons. I’ve never been much of a pistachio fan, except when it’s part of a good, authentic spumoni — which I can’t find these days. Even in Galveston, where Italian immigrants ran the first ice cream parlors, it seems to have disappeared. I always loved that it combined the colors of the Italian flag.

  4. I think I have defective genes. I eat ice cream once in a while, but it’s not something I crave. The last one was in May on Grand Manan Island when we were on vacation and Miriam said, “We should get an ice cream – we’re on vacation!” I think the fact that kids were coming out of the store with cones in hand was the stimulation for that decision. In terms of having ice cream at home we never have it; frozen yogurt the odd time, but ice cream never.

    1. To each his or her own, as they say. Even after years of living in Texas and politely accepting glasses of iced tea, both sweetened and unsweetened, I never order iced tea by choice, or make it at home. I just don’t favor it. Odd, I suppose, but there are enough tea drinkers out there to keep the tea manufacturers in business, and water’s always an option.

  5. Another splendid post. Here in rural south central Montana, I have to drive 1.25 hours to the grocery store, one where the ice cream selection is poor. My mother, a Texan from Dallas, loved strawberry ice cream, so I often buy that flavor, in a summer salute to her and all my memories of her. Were I marooned on a desert island for life with only one flavor, it would be coffee ice cream.

    1. Did your mother by any chance know Ashburn’s ice cream? They were in the Dallas area, and another commenter mentioned working in one of their stores when he was a teenager. Improbable as it is, it’s fun to think that he might have served your mother at some time.

      Your marooned-on-an-island flavor set me to pondering; which would I choose? I still haven’t decided, but vanilla bean, with flecks of actual bean, might be it. It would go well with all those tropical fruits. (Clearly, my island wouldn’t be a desert island, even if it were deserted.)

      1. I will ask Buddy, the one remaining relative in Dallas and ask him if he and “Josie” went to Ashburn’s. You and my husband Ron with the Vanilla Bean!

  6. It is true that some foods are difficult to sell out of season, but I often wonder why they are so difficult to buy as well. For example, one could easily make a pumpkin pie out of a can anytime and yet, generally, you can only buy pumpkin pie ingredients when it’s the Autumn.

    1. This is a guess, but I suspect that pumpkin is subject to the same forces that afflict other crops. The season is short, and production sometimes is limited. For example, weather affected the pumpkin harvest in Texas the past couple of years. Fewer pumpkins means less canned pumpkin, and as the year wears on, the inventory goes down. That’s one reason Blue Bell’s spiced pumpkin ice cream can be on the shelves erratically; a higher price for fewer pumpkins makes it less profitable.

  7. Being originally from Germany, I have always associated ice cream with the summer season. We have an ice cream maker at home. When our strawberries and other sweet berries come in from the garden, my wife often makes ice cream. I declare it is far superior to the store-bought one. If you lived any closer, I would offer you a sample, Linda.

    1. And I would accept, with pleasure. Making ice cream was one of our summer rituals — in the days when electric ice cream makers hadn’t yet arrived: at least, that I know of. Getting to turn the crank was a rite of passage, and being strong enough to keep cranking until the ice cream froze was almost enough to make a boy or girl into a grownup!

        1. Isn’t that just the truth? On the other hand, we have some new kids living in my apartment complex, and after I stopped being a little irritated at their noise level, I noticed something else: they were riding bikes, skate boarding, and just hanging out with one another, with nary a smart phone in sight. A sign of hope!

    1. Out here in non-congested suburbia, ice cream trucks are almost never seen, but they can be found in Houston. In fact, I just took a look and discovered that Mr. Softee’s in business on the mean streets! On the east side of town, there are some great places to get raspas: like sno-cones, but different, with wonderful flavors and softer ice. The food truck movement is helping the frozen-treat trucks come back, and that’s a good thing.

  8. Our Paleo lifestyle doesn’t include ice cream, but who follows silly rules anyway? I’m a vanilla girl. Sometimes I’m adventurous and choose cookies and cream. Forrest is the chocoholic. Neither one of us grew up having ice cream very often. It’s still a treat to indulge in occasionally – a little splurge in life. The best ice cream in my life was when my niece and I visited Berlin Germany. On the way home from the train station we’d stop at a little kiosk and have a flavor of the day cone. It was always organic, and just the right amount to take us on our twenty-minute walk home. Few words were spoken. Just a lot of OMG’s, oooohing and awwing. Bliss.

    1. I think there’s a world of difference between a dish of ice cream straight from a home freezer and a cone or dish eaten in a special place or at a special time.There’s a little ice cream parlor a few blocks from me where they make their own flavors, and there are a lot of people who’ll go out in the evening for a walk and an ice cream. It’s not Paris or Berlin, but their outside tables encourage socializing, and that’s as much fun as the ice cream is tasty. They’ve resisted the temptation to expand the menu, too. It’s only ice cream, and it’s made in small batches so they can change flavors as the spirit moves them. It always tickles me to see them with more customers than the nearby Starbucks.

  9. I imagine you are familiar with Blue Bunny ice cream and the Wells Ice Cream Capital of the World in Le Mars, IA. https://wellsenterprisesinc.com/community/ice-cream-capital-of-the-world

    When I was very young, we would stop at the grocery in the small town near our church. We could get a 5¢ cone. There was even a fortune in the bottom of the cone.

    Both my daughters worked as servers at a popular ice cream shop in a Chicago suburb a long time ago. Good memories of that for them.

    We’re going to make some ice cream this week. It might be mint chip or strawberry.

    1. You’re probably not going to believe this, but I never heard of Blue Bunny until my mom moved down to Kansas City and discovered that was the brand her sister preferred. I still haven’t eaten any, as far as I know, although I’m sure it probably landed in my bowl somewhere along the line. Out of curiosity, I checked the online listings for a few of my favorite groceries, and they all carry it. And, when I dug a little deeper and read some reviews, Blue Bunny Vanilla Bean (in the tub, not the pint) came out on the top of the heap every time. Clearly, a taste test is in order, since vanilla bean is one of my favorites.

      In Newton, Hesse’s ice cream shop, just a block off the square, was the go-to place. That’s where we’d stop for a cone after a day of driving around and looking at the corn: if we didn’t land at the A&W for a pork tenderloin sandwich and a root beer float.

  10. Ah, Linda, this Etheree is just splendid! I’ve long been a fan of chocolate ice cream. When I was a kid, we had the mobile ice cream truck that sauntered through the neighborhoods, ringing its bell and calling young and old to its temptations. On a summer’s day, that stuff always hit the spot! Not sure if I’d like pumpkin spice ice cream, but you’re right: its season is almost upon us.

    1. The pumpkin spice is better than you’d imagine. It’s a lightly flavored, cinnamon-and-nutmeg concoction that really does taste like a well-made pie. Actually, it’s better than the pumpkin pies I grew up with, since the tendency back in the day was to make them rather bland. I like mine a little more highly spiced.

      Now that food trucks are becoming more popular, ice cream trucks seem to be coming back. What I really get a kick out of is occasionally seeing a news report about one fellow who still toodles around on his bicycle, pulling a freezer. No fancy truck for him — and he still has a bell.

    1. Have Lucy and Twiggy ever tasted ice cream? Dixie Rose’s vet ‘prescribed’ vanilla ice cream for here once: a nice spoonful every evening. Now, I can’t remember what the reason was, but she and I would share ice cream every evening — although I allotted myself a little more than a spoonful. Other cat owners I know provide an occasional bit of ice cream, too. I don’t know if dogs can have it, but I’ll bet they would like it.

      1. They would love it for sure. They get yogurt in the morning and think it is special. We haven’t given them any ice cream so far. The Producer thinks it is too rich for them..

  11. My body craves foods seasonally as well, which I think makes sense. I loathe heavy meals in summer, favoring salads and lighter fare. In fall, with the drop in temps, I crave carbs that put a layer of fat between me and the cold. Alas, as much as I love dairy, I’ve had to give it up, along with sugar, so there goes the ice cream.

    1. I can’t think of anything sadder than having to give up dairy. If I had to give up sugar, I think I could, but I love dairy products of all kinds: milk, cheese, yogurt — and ice cream! This weekend, I put up a half-peck of peaches. Come winter, there will be summery cobblers, crisps, and pies just waiting for their scoop of vanilla.

      1. I’m envious, I do miss cheddar cheese and ice cream the most, sigh. At least I had years to enjoy it. For a while there, my lunch was a toasted bagel with a thick slice of cheddar topped with salsa. My mouth waters to think of it!

    2. In California there are a dozen brands of non-dairy ice “cream” in the freezers, and some of them are very good — for what they are. They are made with almond or coconut, or cashews… I used to like a soy based frozen dessert pretty well but those are out of favor now. It pains me to mention the phenomenon because I think my favorite food is cream. Are you sure that dairy fat is as much a problem for you as dairy protein? I can handle the fat pretty well. But probably most ice cream is not straight cream; I think they usually have some milk in the recipe.

      1. Thanks, Gretchen. It seems my allergy is to casein, a sugar in milk. Fermentation (like yogurt and kefir) eats a lot of it, but I can’t find a yogurt that is as good as what I make myself, so it is something I have to do. The other big issue is I can’t have sugar at all and darn if it isn’t in just about everything, including ice cream! I’m healthier with my new diet, but I’ve had to change my eating radically. I just have to accept that and know that I’m better for it, especially when I’m looking at a plate of pastries!

  12. I eat ice cream all year around as well, and salted caramel is a favorite. But I use my oven for baking and roasting, even in the summer.
    The White Mountain freezer company is still churning out hand-cranked freezers, it seems (since 1853!).

    1. I’ve been sitting here trying to remember the last time I had the oven on. I’m not sure when it was, but I know it was for a peach cobbler: maybe April, when I started trying to use up last year’s peaches before the new crop came in.

      Hand-cranked ice cream is the best. That little bit of effort gets mixed in with the cream, sugar, and eggs and takes it to a different level. I will say that Talenti gelato has a lot to offer. Their salted caramel is quite good; if you’ve not tried it and it’s available in your area, you might find it worthwhile to indulge.

      1. I had it on tonight! There’s something special about food baked in a cast iron enameled pan. I was amazed no one complained about the heat.

        I’ll look for the gelato you mention. I’m lucky to have a source of gelato locally, made by a person from Italy.

  13. Oh I have ice cream in today’s post too! (Well, I haven’t actually WRITTEN the post yet, but here in a bit). And there’s no bowl in sight. Ha!

    1. Keep a good grip on that spoon — don’t let Dr. M get it away from you! Given some of your lunch and breakfast combinations, I can only imagine what kind of ice cream sundaes you’d create!

  14. Perish the thought of no ice cream in the winter…or sorbet. As cold and snowy as we can get here sometimes, that won’t stop me from enjoying Phish Food or Lemon Sorbet…or just plain vanilla. Mary Beth likes New York Chocolate Chunk or Belgian Chocolate and Klondike Dark Chocolate bars.. We purchased a new freezer last year and half of one shelf, which is a large shelf at that, has a basket filled with pints of various flavors. As a diabetic there are several things I gave up when I learned I had it but Ice Cream will never be one of those unless I go into Diabetic shock and even then once recovered.

    1. I tried Phish Food in the past, and really didn’t favor it, but I didn’t realize B&J makes a lemon sorbet. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it here, but I sure am going to look. The thought of a basket filled with pints sounds pretty much like heaven — lucky you! The one chocolate I really like is Talenti’s double dark chocolate, although their Belgian chocolate’s good, too.

      You probably know that Van Halen did a remake of an old song called “Ice Cream Man,” but have you ever heard the original? On a hunch, I went looking and found it. It’s great — Chicago blues at its finest.

      1. The lemon sorbet is by Häagen-Dazs. I don’t think B&J make a sorbet. The best of that I’ve had was from Bart’s, a local creamery, but they haven’t been making it recently. They had a shop in Amherst where I could get it but that closed. We also like Talenti’s double dark chocolate and Belgian but B&J’s goes on sale more often. I don’t care about whether ice cream is on sale but Mary Beth does even though I pay for the groceries and do the shopping. But when it is I stock up. It’s nice having a bunch in the freezer and a variety to suit the mood.

        I wasn’t aware of John Brim or that he was the originator of the song and actually was not a DLR fan (definitely an Eddie fan) so had only heard the song once or twice on the radio. I searched to find who the musicians were on the recording and didn’t find a listing but the harmonica sure sounded like Little Walter.

  15. Ice cream, so good, good, good! I haven’t had Blue Bell in a while, though I’m very fond of our local, Amy’s Ice Cream. I think the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted was in Portland, Oregon–Salt and Straw and a very close second (maybe even ‘1B’) Red Wagon Creamery in Eugene, Oregon. Great post–what’s for dessert?

    1. Some friends who lived in Oregon tried and tried to get me to try Tillamook, but when I did, it was almost too rich for me — even though I really wanted the hazelnut and salted caramel to be perfect. If I ever come across their Marionberry pie, huckleberry, or Oregon dark cherry, though, I’d give those a try. I suppose they’re relatively limited editions, and probably aren’t marketed here.

      I think we’ve talked about Teo’s, from Austin. Our HEB still has their Texas caramel pecan, even though I don’t see it on any websites. All of their flavors that really appeal are seasonal — like orange/chocolate and pumpkin spice. I’m not quite sure what their “eggs and bacon” ice cream would be; even my curiosity isn’t that strong!

  16. I really like ‘Chocolate Eclair’ ice-cream and a scoop of that along with a scoop of your ‘Pumpkin Spice’ would be absolutely heavenly!

    1. Too bad I can’t drop ship a half gallon of pumpkin spice to you! Your chocolate eclair flavor sounds interesting. It’s another one I’ve never heard of — there’s certainly an infinite variety when it comes to ice cream.

  17. I never thought of ice cream as seasonal, because when I was young ours always came out of the freezer, and that appliance was not turned off in winter. But when I was in Turkey in December at the age of twenty, and tried to find ice cream, everyone looked at me like I was out of my mind. I wanted to taste again the fabulous Turkish style of ice cream that I had eaten in summer years before — but it was not to be found. Ice cream was not sold in supermarkets but only from dedicated little ice cream shops, which were closed.

    A few years ago I tried making my own custom flavors of ice cream at home, using some of the plants in the garden. I planned the project so that the grandchildren would be around to help me eat the quarts of Honey-Lavender, Lemon Balm, and Chocolate Spice that I created. I could talk about ice cream all day! Thanks for providing the prompt and the venue, Linda.

    1. Your memories of your ice cream search in Turkey started me thinking about my time in West Africa. I don’t remember ever coming across ice cream there, although I’m sure the embassies and such had it. On the other hand, I don’t remember missing it, either.

      I did look up Turkish ice cream, and was surprised to read how different it is. Powdered orchid bulbs? Sometimes eaten with a knife and fork? So interesting ~ and the cultural notes in the article are equally so. Now, I’d love to try it.

      Well! ~ after a little poking around, I discovered I can try it. I have to go into Houston on Wednesday, and this ice cream shop is so close to my destination that I can stop by and sample some. What fun! Serendipity strikes again. Thank you for sharing your experience, and giving me a new one.

      1. I’ll be interested to hear what you think!
        It never occurred to me to research whether anyone is selling it nearby. But surely in San Francisco! But – I rarely go there anymore.

  18. Your etheree could be an upside down cone waiting to be filled with scoops of ice cream. I am not a great fan of ice cream but I think I would be more interested if flavours were seasonal.Something to look forward to like the first peaches or the first berries. That is clever marketing.

    1. One reason that Blue Bell got into seasonal flavors in the first place is that they always depended on Texas fruits as additions to their basic vanilla: strawberries from Poteet, peaches from Fredericksburg, pumpkins from the panhandle, blackberries from east Texas. People knew that when their favorite fruits were coming in, Blue Bell would be including them in their ice cream.

      Combined with their willingness to trade on their country and Texas roots, they were almost guaranteed success. Clever marketing? They had some marketing genuises. See?

  19. When I was a teen, we had two peach trees in the back yard, and when there were peaches, mom would make peach ice cream for us to churn. My dad had built a brick barbecue oven on the patio to barbecue steaks (AKA “The Holy Temple” — it was rather ziggurat-like). Of a Saturday afternoon, we’d get a sack of ice, a container of salt and the ice cream freezer down. Mom found a recipe that used apricot nectar as well as slivered fresh peaches and whole cream. It was sheer ambrosia. We cranked until the steaks were done, then packed it to freeze. Steaks on the barbecue, baked potatoes, potato salad and peach ice cream for dessert. That was a real summer treat. That home-made peach ice cream looms large in my legend!

    1. As soon as you said “ziggurat-like” I knew exactly what that outdoor pit looked like. And apricot nectar — or homemade peach nectar, if someone was energetic — made all the difference. You can’t just throw peach chunks into the mix and get that heavenly concoction.

      We didn’t have peach trees, but we had cherries. That meant cherry pies to go with our homemade vanilla — but of course the burgers, potato salad, and baked beans came first. It was the perfect summertime menu. Sometimes, we’d get extra ice and fill up a galvanized wash tub for the watermelon — always served up with the salt shaker close by.

    1. It’s a shame you didn’t get to share in it with him. Of all the wonderful sentences in the world, “My grandpa owns an ice cream plant” would rank right up there.

    1. Who knows? Coconut and pineapple may be the next big thing — but for now, we’ve got peaches, strawberries, pumpkins, blackberries and — pecans!

  20. What a marvelous essay on the joys of ice cream, Linda. Wonderful celebration of the seasons and flavors, liked the conversation in the butcher shop and the vintage drawings. Your narrative style, too, is always a pleasure.

  21. What a delight to consider ice cream seasonal flavors, especially during these sweltering days.
    One of my earliest treasured summer memories was a periodic Sunday drive for a treat of Butler’s homemade ice cream. The best I ever ate then and would be true even now if they were still in business. Their family made the ice cream, my favorite was a black cherry, they sold from the garage across the driveway behind the house. The scene is a photo embedded in my memory from childhood.

    1. Isn’t it interesting how ice cream remains a part of so many memories? We often had a Sunday drive followed by ice cream — and my parents used to talk about the early days of their marriage, when a walk and a nickel ice cream cone were their Saturday night treats. Even when money was tight, ice cream was affordable, and delicious. Black cherry sounds scrumptious; that’s a flavor I’ve never had, but I surely would be willing to try it!

  22. My primary memory of Bluebell, Linda, will always be of eating it in your home. As for seasonal dishes, chili always reminds me of cold and rainy weather. A little cayenne pepper and it is the perfect thing to warm a person up on a cold day.

    1. I totally agree about chili — and some of its variations, like white chili, with chicken and white beans. I did laugh the other day, when I realized a dish called Mexican chicken stew, made in the crockpot, wasn’t spicy enough for my taste. Apparently my midwestern taste buds slowly have been acclimating to the heat of a different culinary climate.

      I draw the line at chili ice cream, though. Even Blue Bell’s been smart enough not to try that one, although a few local independent shops occasionally trot it out. Ice cream should be chill, not chili!

      1. Things I cook in our house have to be in two temperatures, Linda. Hot for me; not hot for Peggy. I’m surprised Liberia didn’t change your preferences. That’s what happened to me way back When I went from being a one pepper person to a 3-4 pepper person. Grin.
        I agree on Chili ice cream. BTW, I gave Peggy a gift certificate to Cold Stone as part of her birthday present. Do you have Cold Sone there?

        1. I’d never heard of Cold Stone. When I looked, I found four locations in Houston, and every one of them is close to a very high end planned community. That explains that!

    1. Even when the memories aren’t necessarily pleasant, ice cream often is involved. I’m remembering my experience with a tonsillectomy in grade school. I was promised anything I wanted after the surgery, and I wanted a huge chocolate malt. I got it — and couldn’t get it down. The frustration of seeing without being able to eat was considerable! The good news is that most memories are more pleasant, as yours seem to be. They do linger — and sometimes emerge in unusual ways, like this little poem.

  23. I noticed the accompanying images for “White Mountain Ice Cream Freezer” . I have one and love it. We love homemade ice cream so much that we won’t buy store-bought ice cream anymore. I like the poem and the story. Brings back good memories.

    1. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that someone is continuing the tradition of the ice-cream freezer: you, and the company both. If I were to purchase one, I certainly would opt for the hand-cranked sort rather than electric. There’s something about being actively involved that adds to the ice-cream making experience; it becomes part of our memories, rather than a chore.

  24. Two of my favorite summer memories are of church ice cream socials (which served only home-made ice cream) and the ice cream trucks which came through our neighborhood almost every afternoon. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but you’re right: ice cream manufacturers do keep people interested their product all year long by seasonal flavors. Personally, I’ll eat it year round anyway…no matter what the flavor!

    1. I grew up with those ice cream socials, too. They were doubly delicious because the ladies would bring cakes and pies to accompany the ice cream. A nice, big slice of ‘Iowa cake’ — moist, and rich with chocolate — always was a special treat. I’ve not made that cake in years, but I still have the recipe. Perhaps I should remedy that!

      The seasonal flavors are a great idea. They’re a way of creating a sense of expectation, even among the folks who generally favor vanilla or chocolate. Like you, I’m willing to try almost everything — unless the carton mentions marshmallow or cookie bits. Too much ‘stuff’ takes away from the ice cream.

      1. Yes! Those ice cream socials always featured home made pies and cakes…I’d forgotten about that. And I’m embarrassed to say that although I love many flavors of ice cream, my favorite is vanilla. Plus, I think you should try making that Iowa Cake!

  25. I love your poem! It’s perfection! Rick and I were talking about summer foods yesterday as we were having lunch, biting into tomato-and-basil sandwiches and saying that it was summer on a plate. So is corn on the cob, black cherries, fresh seasonal fruit, brats on the grill. And of course, ice cream — especially (in the summer) Hudsonville Traverse City Cherry Fudge! Can’t beat it! This poem is a gem.

    1. Show me a person who hasn’t tackled a pint (or even a half-gallon) with nothing but a spoon, and I’ll show you someone who truly doesn’t understand the joy of a ‘guilty pleasure.’ I’d bet that any ice cream with cherries up there would be wonderful; after all, some of the best cherries in the world come from your area. I’ve noticed in the American Spoon catalogue that they often show photos of locally made fudge sauce and cherries atop ice cream. Pretty smart marketing there, too!

  26. Ah, your post brings back memories of hand churned home made ice cream – definitely a summer treat in our clime! I also think of foods as summer, fall, or winter time fare. Roasts, stews, and big pots of homemade soups are definitely winter dishes in my book. But ask my hubby and he will say ice cream is absolutely a year-round treat, so there’s always some in our freezer!

    1. I’m in your hubby’s camp, obviously. The one exception in my practice of keeping the oven off in summer involves cobblers and pies; you have to have something to put that ice cream on top of now and then. But even a dish full of ice cream will do; it’s one of the best and easiest treats in the world.

  27. It’s quite funny because my husband prefers ice cream in colder months. It’s fine but that’s when hot teas are good for me.

    Have you tried the Private Selection brand at Kroger. It knocks the socks off of Bluebell (don’t throw things at me!)

    1. So many people, so many preferences! I haven’t tried any of Kroger’s ice cream, but I can’t remember the last time I was in a Kroger Store. I mostly stick to HEB and Arlan’s now (a local, independent grocer). As for ice cream, I stick to Blue Bell for vanilla bean — along with blackberry cobbler, black walnut, pumpkin spice, and peppermint in season. Otherwise, it’s Talenti in my freezer, or HEB’s lemon sorbetto, which is the best lemon I’ve found.

  28. My family trees all have very deep Southern roots.

    As such, I grew up with the knowledge that ice cream is one of the four major food groups. Similar to Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck if you think gravy is a beverage”. Well, duh.

    From the memory bank: Sunday drive to the dairy for free cones. Fourth of July, Dad brought home the rock salt and kids took turns sitting on the ice cream churn to keep it in the bucket as he cranked the handle. No ice cream on the menu in Syracuse, N.Y. in December. Our landlord in Germany offered to trade a case of beer for a gallon of American ice cream from the commissary. (We gave him a gallon a month for the remainder of our time there. We never ran out of beer.)

    I’ll usually try most new varieties, but always return to the basics, plain vanilla, chocolate. strawberry.

    Only stuff I found totally revolting was “frozen ice milk”, a misguided attempt to market “diet ice cream”. One of the better “exotic” flavors came from Baskin-Robbins – “Pina Colada”. Yum.

    In season, the bowl of vanilla is heaped with ripe peaches, strawberries, blackberries. Last night’s bowl was fresh mango with a squeeze of lime.

    I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

    1. I spent some time trying to remember our joke about the four major food groups. I know that chocolate and caffeine were included, as well as ice cream, but I can’t remember the fourth. I know it wasn’t gravy, though. When I moved to Texas and met chicken-fried steak with cream gravy, not to mention biscuits and gravy, it was quite a revelation. I once had a customer who named his glorious Grand Banks trawler “Biscuit.” I tried for years to get him to name its tender “Gravy,” but he was from Colorado, and didn’t think that was appropriate or amusing.

      I loved the story of your barter arrangement in Germany. There’s something about the treat that appeals to everyone. When I was sailing from Hawaii to Alaska, there wasn’t much shipping traffic, but we did come across a French freighter mid-journey. Their first question? “Where are you going.” Their second? “Do you have ice cream?” When one of our crew responded, “We don’t have ice cream, but we have a woman aboard,” hilarity ensued.

      I didn’t know the source of that saying you quoted about all of us screaming for ice cream, so I was greatly surprised by this!. Of course YouTube served up an original recording!

  29. We definitely eat more ice cream in the warm season than winter, but as one of your readers said, peppermint ice cream is a favorite in December, and “mud” ice cream pie is good any time of year!

    1. I’ve heard about mud pie, but had no idea what it is. So, I went looking, and found this. My goodness! I don’t know how I’ve missed it all these years. I wonder if it’s more common in southern states. Here in Texas, banana pudding holds sway — so much so that there’s even banana pudding ice cream.

      1. Well, this looks really really good! The mud pie we always have has the coffee ice cream in the middle but definitely the chocolate cookie pie crust and topping. Decadent. But I wouldn’t say no to a banana pudding.

  30. I’m not a big ice cream eater but when I do it is usually in the summer. I know that around Christmas I see flavors like peppermint or cinnamon or spumoni for sale, but after that it is candy, candy, candy. People with a sweet tooth will find a way to satisfy it.

    1. I’m envious of your spumoni. That was a childhood favorite for me, but it’s almost impossible to find a good, true spumoni down here — apart from high-end Italian restaurants, or perhaps some shops in Houston. I do love the cinnamon I can get at Marble Slab. In the fall, it’s the perfect companion for apple pies and cakes.

      It’s sort of interesting to me that I’ve lost my taste for candy. I’ve passed several Halloweens and Valentine’s Days with little notice of the frantic merchandising. But ice cream? No advertising needed!

    1. It’s a fun form to work with. Just getting the syllable count right is easy enough, but adding in rhyme and rhythm — let alone metaphor and such — is more of a trick. I enjoy it, although I’ve not written one in some time.

      Most of us put on our extra weight in the height of summer, when getting outdoors is less appealing. From September-May, it’s much easier to enjoy activities that help keep ice-cream butt under control!

  31. I know just what you mean about craving certain foods, depending on the season. Soups, stews, roasts, etc are for winter. Cold ham, salads, garden veggies (tomatoes, cukes, sweet corn, for instance) are for summer.

    I find that, after a few months of eating each season’s foods, I start having a yen for the next season’s foods but the temperature is not quite right yet.

    Now, ice cream? I can eat that all year long, waistline depending. I made the mistake of cutting down the ice cream aisle last week and my eyes were drawn to the Talenti shelf. TWO FOR $7???? I had to force myself to scoot past, empty handed!

    1. Oh, my heavens. Two for $7? How could you pass that up? Out of curiosity, I browsed the online ads, and the cheapest I could find was $5/pint. Even my beloved HEB lemon sorbetto, which has been going for $3.50/pt., jumped up in the past few days to $4.50/pt. — but of course there’s no inflation.You can bet I’m going to be watching for the sales. Buying on sale has its risks, of course: like keeping my spoon out of it.

      We’re in that in-between season right now: the tomatoes and sweet corn are gone, but the urge to turn the oven on for anything just isn’t there. It’s still too hot. But we’ve had a little rain, and more may come this week. The kids go back to school tomorrow, and the days are getting shorter. Relief’s in sight!

    1. Mint chocolate chip is a favorite of mine, too. In fact, the brand I prefer calls theirs “Mediterranean mint,” and it’s so much better than other mint ice creams. It has a nice, fresh flavor, as though they’ve used real mint instead of artificial flavorings.

      It’s much easier to purchase ice cream, and there are some very good ones. But “making ice cream” always brings good memories of family projects. There wasn’t anything more fun than watching ice turn the cream into a wonderful frozen treat!

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