During my childhood it was a requirement in my family that reunions or summer cookouts had homemade ice cream on the menu. I remember the agonizing wait for the flavorful and brain-numbing concoction. The wait was even more agonizing if the host had the hand crank type of freezer, which I seem to remember the adults finding this humorous, not so much for us kids. Thankfully, my parents had an electric one.
While my mom would prep the ingredients my dad would search for the orange bucket freezer in our basement or garage. Once found he would clean it, give all the accoutrements a test run and then wait for my mom to finish the soon to be morphed cream based elixir, usually mixed with strawberries fresh from a farmer's market.
Dad would pour the mixture into the metal canister, attach the electrified paddle and then let my brother and I help fill the bucket with ice. On one occasion we filled it so fast he didn't get a chance to tell us about the salt layers. That bucket was emptied and we started again, this time layering course salt with the ice until the top of the canister was buried in a miniature glistening, chunky glacier. (I always thought it hilarious when some unsuspecting kid, obviously a virgin to the chemical aspects of the homemade ice cream process, would run up and grab a piece of ice thinking he/she could quickly quench their thirst during our hide & seek games only to have to run into the house for a chaser.)
After it was properly assembled my dad would do the honors of plugging it in and making sure the motor assembly could freely rotate in the ice. After some final adjustments the crunchy hum of the motor shifting the ice and salt would play in the background of our family's summer soiree like some carefully chosen play list.
I guess sometimes it's as much about the process as it is the end result, which by the way, was always worth the wait.
Did you celebrate National Ice Cream month? Or enjoy some fantastic flavor? Share it with us all here. Right now my favorites are still on the menu at Jeni's with Salty Caramel at the top of my list. Hoping they will be at the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio again!!