PALESTINE — Editor's Note: The East Texan is a light-hearted advice column written with colloquial savoir faire. Need advice on life in our neck of the woods? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear East Texan:
Is it possible homemade ice cream from a hand-cranked freezer tastes better than from an electric freezer?
Cranking in Crockett
You, sir, have indeed discovered a phenomenon known only to a few members of the Baby Boomer generation. Many of us grew up sitting atop a hand cranked ice cream freezer while the dairy ingredients thickened into a rich, sweet, smooth creamy textured goodness worth waiting for on any hot summer afternoon.
The layering went something like this: First, a folded newspaper went over the crank and the top of the ice/rock salt combination. Then a folded towel covered the newspaper and it was upon the towel that the youngster sat.
Now, if the youngster was 8 years old or older, it was their duty to sit on top of the ice cream freezer and also to turn the crank. Reaching the point where the lad’s arm length and arm strength were sufficient to turn the crank became a rite of passage in our family and a huge milestone with no small degree of recognition.
We chipped ice into a No. 3 galvanized tub because we always froze our own ice in empty half gallon milk cartons for two reasons. First, it was cheaper than buying ice and, second, we lived too far from town to drive in just for a couple bags of ice.
Thus, it was on a screened-in back porch, overlooking a field of cotton stretching languidly away from the house in both a southerly and easterly direction, the men and boys chipped ice while the ladies of the family mixed eggs, condensed milk, sugar, vanilla and whole milk.
Making homemade ice cream was and is a family endeavor, and to your question, I truly believe hand-cranked homemade ice cream surpasses all other methods for taste, flavor and creaminess. Certainly, the ambiance of the endeavor brings a family closer together and creates treasured memories.