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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snow brings ice cream memories

Although snow has been scarce this winter, snow still has been on my mind, and snow  brought to mind  something I really enjoyed in my younger years--snow ice cream. The fact is, I still enjoy it.
Sometimes March produces some big snows. They don't last long, but long enough for ice cream.
Growing up, ice cream was a real treat. It was something very special. 
We had no refrigerator. We felt lucky to have an ice box, but the old ice box wouldn’t keep ice cream very long. So, the only time we had ice cream was when we went to town. On Saturday night, we would walk downtown for the band concert at the courthouse square. 
While the band played, popcorn was sold from the popcorn wagon. That was a real treat as well, and it was really special to get ice cream at the drug store. I remember we sat on wire back chairs and ate the ice cream from dishes that had little paper liners. It sure was good.
In winter there were no band concerts and fewer leisurely trips to town, and less chance for an ice cream treat. But there was snow ice cream.
When that first measurable snow came, Mom usually would make a bowl of snow cream. It tasted great, and as I grew older I was able to make the tasty stuff. However, my duties usually related to gathering the white stuff. Someone often chuckled and added, “Don’t get any of the yellow snow.” I may not have been very old, but knew they were telling me to get clean snow and avoid any area the dogs had used as an outdoor restroom.
Later, when we were fortunate enough to have a refrigerator that had a freezer, it still was fun to make snow ice cream.
Most of the recipes for snow ice cream are quite simple, but there are a few variations.
The simplest, and the way I recall making it, requires only four ingredients. That is one cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar and four or five cups of clean snow.
Mix together the milk, vanilla, and the sugar. Stir this mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add the snow to your mixture, stirring constantly, until it is as thick as the ice cream. Enjoy.
Some recipes add one beaten egg. That makes it a bit richer. Some call for separating the white and yellow of the egg, beating, and then adding together. Others even call for cooking the egg mixture a bit. And then some add a dash of salt.
My cousin, Janet wasn’t big on white milk, so she would add other flavorings to the ice cream.
Keeping it simple seemed fine to me. 
One of the good things about freezers these days is you can even save some of your snow ice cream and eat it a bit later.
The EPA or some organization probably today says the snow is full of all sorts of toxins, but go for it. Enjoy it. You won’t be eating that much anyway.
Snow and those old memories also brought back the thought on snow angels. I suspect some kids still make them.
If you have youngsters around, encourage them to make some snow angels and gather snow for ice cream the next time we have a fresh snow. Take out the camera, and record some fun memories.
Guess, I’m still a kid at heart. I like snow, and would love a bowl of snow ice cream, although today it would have to be with artificial sweetener.

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