It was a Sunday afternoon. My mother and my sister had gone to a baby shower or a wedding shower. I was at home alone with my dad. It was raining. It was stormy and rainy enough outside that I couldn’t go out and play. My dad would usually have some sort of project going on outside but the weather was too bad for him to be out. He also wanted to spend time with me. It was his idea to make homemade ice cream.
Making homemade ice cream is an outdoor activity. I have seen people put an electric ice cream maker in the sink but our ice cream maker had a hand crank. We were going to have to put the ice cream maker in a large plastic dishpan in the middle of the floor of our kitchen. We were not ready for that yet. First, we had to mix our ingredients.
My mom would normally prepare the mix for the ice cream. Most of the time when we were making homemade ice cream, we had guests at our house and I would be playing with kids. I paid very little attention to what my mom was doing. My dad was usually trying to get the ice ready. My family would fill old milk cartons with water and put them in the freezer to make blocks of ice to use when making ice cream. This was a great way to make ice blocks but then you had to bust them up before you could use them. We had little to no idea what my mom would usually do when she was preparing the ice cream. Our decision to make ice cream was made at the last minute. If we were missing anything, there was a possibility we wouldn’t be able to make ice cream at all. This happening in the early 1970’s when all of the stores in our town would close on Sundays. My dad started looking for all of the ingredients. We had plenty of milk. We also had those little Junket tablets which was lucky because the package also had a recipe. Those were the only two ingredients that I knew for sure were included. Researching this story, I have seen recipes that use evaporated milk and others that use corn syrup. I’m sure that the recipe we were using was the most basic recipe possible. As far as I knew, the ingredients were just milk, junkets, sugar and magic. I know that the recipe we were using called for vanilla because my dad said we didn’t have any. This was not going to stop us.
What would you consider an acceptable substitute for vanilla? I would consider another flavor, wouldn’t you? Knowing my mom, I think there might have been some chocolate flavoring somewhere up there in the kitchen cabinet. I did not help my dad select what he chose as a substitute. At the time, I did not realize that his selection had very little flavor and what flavor it had was sort of bitter. But the food coloring would look cool, wouldn’t it?
Yes, we used food coloring as a substitute for vanilla. How much food coloring do you add when substituting for vanilla? I don’t think it really matters. What matters is putting enough in to make it look really cool. What happens when you add a lot of all of the colors in the package? We were hoping for a nice rainbow striped effect. What we got was a turquoise swirl effect.
Part of the fun of making ice cream was everyone getting to take turns with the crank. I was still young enough at the time that I wasn’t very much help. I could really only crank at the very first when it was relatively easy. But I didn’t have very much endurance either. Since it was just me and my dad, he ended up doing most of the work. In addition, he didn’t have the benefit of the ice cream maker sitting on the ground. It slid around in the dish pan as he hand cranked the concoction until it was done.
We tested our experiment. I don’t know if you can accurately call what we made “ice cream”. It might be best described as frozen turquoise milk. My mom and sister tried some of it when they got home but most of it remained uneaten. My mom put the rest of the dessert in the door of the freezer in a clear plastic container. Every time we went to get ice from the freezer, we would see the leftovers. Think it remained there until we moved to another house.
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