About two hours ago, snow began to fall. We have not seen snow since late October when a freaky storm thundered through this area and left us all stunned into worrying about whether winter had something vengeful in mind. Since then, we’ve been going out in sweaters and opening the windows while driving. Buds are out in our backyard.
But since late this morning, snow has been sticking in the field I see out my office window. And, I’ve gotta admit it, I started thinking about Snow Ice Cream. Can’t get enough of it. Here’s what I wrote nearly a year ago about my secret love, when we were having a decidedly different winter than this one.
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. Our freezer at home was regularly stuffed with boxes of ice cream whose flavors were currently in contention for a full-market roll-out. We kids were invited to freely give our opinions of these flavors-in-development.
Merle still smarts from being a guinea pig in our early dating days when Dad would show up with six boxes of ice cream at the end of a meal and urge him to have a taste of each. Too polite and not yet at home enough to refuse, Merle would face a dish full of scoops of peppermint-stick and shoofly-pie ice cream—flavors we had long ago rejected, but which Dad was trying to work off so there’d be room in the freezer for newer ice cream concoctions. (No throwing food away in my home!) Dad was running his own little test on the guy, too, he admits now!
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.
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.