Last night while the snow was falling relentlessly, I quietly opened the back door, armed with my dishpan and big spoon. I had two goals—not to attract any attention, and to tear into a heaping bowl of snow ice cream.
When our kids were little, we always made snow ice cream if we got three or more inches of snow. It had to be deep enough that we weren’t picking up dead leaves or grass or pebbles when we skimmed the still-falling snow into our big bowls.
I have a recipe for Snow Ice Cream (see below) that I love, especially if I pour a cascade of chocolate syrup over the mixture.
I should be an ice cream snob. My dad helped develop flavors for the largest local dairy in our area—today the biggest supplier of ice cream in New York City.
Anyway, maybe because of being over-stimulated in my childhood, I’ve ended up with simple flavor preferences. My top three are chocolate, coffee, and chocolate peanut butter. And I’d rather have icy than creamy—probably because the icier it is, the more I can eat. Which is why I start plotting my dessert strategy as soon as snowflakes appear. I’ve never felt stuffed after a bowl or two of snow ice cream—just exhilarated.
By now, everybody laughs at me for my pedestrian ice-cream ways. The kids figure that with pollution weighing down the atmosphere, snow is never clean enough to eat.
Merle, who grew up on a dairy farm, and whose family marked most Saturday nights with a hand-cranked freezer full of homemade ice cream (emphasis on cream), can’t abide any ice crystals in ice cream. If he yanks the lid off his absolute-favorite-black-raspberry, and a few ice crystals shimmer back at him, he undertakes major surgery by lifting off a full inch of ice cream, or washes the whole offending mass down the drain.
Me? I like the extra crunch from a little bit of ice. Which is why I went into sneak mode as I scooped half a quart of snow into my pan last evening. I’m past trying to persuade my compatriots to join me in eating this explosion of cold that shoots sparks through my head. And I don’t need the ridicule from those who prefer creamy. We won’t change each other’s minds.
One tip from a veteran. You gotta eat snow ice cream fast, so if you’re tempted to try this primitive delicacy, line up all the ingredients on your counter before you open the outside door. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with a too-sweet puddle of water. Eaten instantly, snow ice cream shocks while it soothes and then quietly disappears, throbbing and tingling as it goes.
Snow Ice Cream
2 ½ quarts clean snow
½ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup sugar
Mix together lightly.
Eat right away.
How many does it serve? Anywhere from 2-4; it melts fast.
Cover with lots of chocolate syrup, if you wish.