One of my best childhood memories always happened during the family gatherings on my grandmother’s farm. There was, of course, the large dinner with wonderful food, but after the feast came the real magic. That was when my uncles would haul out the wooden barrel that would be used for making the best ice cream on the planet. There was nothing to plug in, just a silver cylinder in the middle, surrounded by rock salt, and a large hand crank on the side. Each member of the family would help with the cranking over the course of what seemed like hours to me, but was, in reality, less than 25 minutes. I remember my excitement when the cylinder was opened, revealing the glorious ice cream inside. Suddenly, there was no longer a kid’s table, just people of all ages sitting wherever they landed in the hot summer sun, enjoying a bowl of the best ice cream on the planet!

It wasn’t until I was older that I ended up cranking the ice cream for any length of time at all. As a little kid you would just get to turn the handle a couple of times, usually with an adult helping as well to avoid a pause in the steady circular motion. Ice cream was serious business and nobody wanted to mess things up. But getting to participate in the making of something so wonderful, was part of the treat. I’m convinced it made the ice cream taste better that way. The wonderful anticipation and the idea that it takes a village made it more special than anything else we ate that day. It was rare to get a second helping as most of it was gone in the initial pass, but it always felt like eating pure gold, so I would take small bites, hoping to make the moment last just a little bit longer. But, as with so many things from my childhood, there came a point in time the moment changed.

Modern technologies came along to replace older, inefficient ones and life was made “easier” for everyone, or so the commercials always said. I’ll never forget the day it happened. Nobody was gathering outside in the typical fashion and so I asked my grandmother when we would make the ice cream. She told me it was being made and would be ready shortly, pointing at something whirring in the kitchen sink. I looked over to see what appeared to be a plastic pink alien spaceship. When the alien was finished, the lid was opened and everyone came and hurriedly grabbed a scoop of ice cream, returning to conversations they were already having. The ice cream just didn’t taste as good that day. It turned out my favorite ingredient wasn’t the fresh cow’s milk, sugar, or vanilla, it was the little bit of time spent together as family. Everyone had a role and the end was a celebration! But the flavor of the experience had changed. And I’ll always miss that taste of real homemade ice cream.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle:  Indian Yellow, Carmine, Opera Rose, Burnt Sienna and Ultramarine Deep. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
 Day 18 - #WorldWatercolorGroup Homemade Ice Cream Strawberry Old Fashioned Glass White Background
Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

29 replies on “Homemade Ice Cream

  1. went thru similar ice cream making experiences…loved that it had a bit of girt or something not quite all creamy..it meant it was home made that way….we often sat on the side porch waiting….also one of the big deals was going out for an ice cream at Howard Johnsons or Geo Ross’s on hot summer evenings….your drawing is so very good !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh gosh I have just lived through your memories, I feel quite sad now that technology ever evolved, so many similar memories just like yours have been lost through labour saving gadgets, what is strange is these gadgets save time, but we seem to have less family and friend time, what’s happened?…..the lesson is learned through your grandmothers ice cream, but we can’t change and get it back, but find new ways to bring family together. I do however think I would enjoy the ice cream whatever way it is made, and yours looks scrummy yummy. Hagandaz creme brûlée 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca! 😃💕 Yeah… I don’t really understand how all these things to make life easier managed to make us feel like we have less time than ever! Some days I wish we could go back, but yeah… those days are gone. Going to make it a point to have some ice cream with friends and family soon though!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We never had an ice cream maker when I was little, but husband and his sister shared stories with me about how he and his 7 siblings would take turns making ice cream. It sounded just like your story. Time well spent. I did have one of the more modern ice cream makers and loved it. My roommate and I would experiment with flavors and add-ins and then letting our friends try them at potluck dinners at our house. Those were good times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds lovely! 😃💕 Yeah… it’s fun to experiment with flavors. I tried a few, but keep coming back to vanilla as my favorite. These days, all in the little KitchenAid attachment, but still make it for friends when I can! (it’s actually the only thing I know how to “cook”😊 LOL)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Well, you know that I can’t possibly relate to this, Charlie😉 but I can certainly enjoy the doodlewash, and story. How sweet all of this sounds. And I’ve no doubt you’re right – making your own, be it ice cream, Snickerdoodles or whatever, really does make for a far tastier treat!

    Liked by 1 person

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