Though I may never have gotten the Easy-Bake Oven I wanted as a child, I did get several different ways to create my very own shaved ice delicacies otherwise known as sno-cones. They seem to be called “snow cones” these days, but back then it was hipper to drop the “w” and form a cool new misspelled word. My very first ice shaving toy was the Frosty Sno-Man Sno-Cone Machine. The commercial for this mechanical wonder boasted the five different flavors you could serve and showed a boy popping ice cubes into Frosty’s head. He then easily turns a red crank, which wasn’t easy to turn at all in reality, and makes ice crystals spew out of a hole in Frosty’s stomach while other little boys looked on, lashing their tongues out at Frosty rather creepily. Yeah, thinking back, commercials were really weird back then. But that was just the beginning, as more amazing ways to make these frozen treats were in my future.
The second way to make sno-cones was the revolutionary Ice Bird which involved a completely different concept. With this little wonder you got a little red and yellow duck wearing yellow earmuffs. This one had a special container to freeze a giant log of ice. You would then start frantically rubbing the bird on the ice block like you were grating cheese until the cup inside was filled up with ice. You could then take the cup out and add the flavored syrup of choice. Red flavor was a favorite and featured in the commercial for this one. It wasn’t really cherry, just red flavored, and looked like a black goo on my black and white television. But what it lacked in flavor, it made up for in the sheer enjoyment of making sno-cones with a cute duck. Like so many things, then and now, the process what so much more fun than the result.
By the end of the 70’s, the ultimate shaved ice marvel was released in the form of the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, which is still available today. In this version the ice spewed out of a doghouse rather than the character itself, which is probably why it was more popular. And, by this point, things had progressed a bit and the commercials showed both girls and boys enjoying the wondrous invention together. This machine was really just the Frosty one all over again with a beagle on top, but it was cooler just because it was Snoopy. It was a blast to create your own edible masterpieces with these things. This was also the closest I ever came to cooking, probably because I should have received that Easy Bake Oven instead. But, it was a blast to make these frozen treats all by myself and though it may not have been a culinary treat like a cupcake or a pie, I still have very fond memories of making sno-cones.
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