WRIGHT WAY: Is it really ice cream?
by WILLIAM WRIGHT
Mar 23, 2011 | 4664 views | 0 0 comments | 100 100 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Raised in the city, I never concerned myself with why most country folks call canning fruits and vegetables “canning” when there are no cans involved. I try to keep such thoughts to myself.

Which brings me to my latest embarrassment. Ice cream. My family went to a going-away party for a couple in Meigs County. Blacks, whites and Hispanics arrived with the most delicious foods you can imagine.

Dave, one of the friendliest country gentlemen you’d ever want to meet, brought his vintage ice cream maker to make his famous homemade ice cream. Guess who was standing next to him when he was looking for assistance?

“Sure, why not? I’ll be glad to help,” I said. I knew about making ice cream in the big city. When I was a child and it snowed, we went outside, got some snow, packed it, then poured milk and sugar on it and had ice cream! Right?

Dave asked me to open two cans of sweetened condensed milk and two cans of evaporated milk. But these cans had no pull tabs on top! So I’m looking around and Dave hands me one of those little old-time can punch bottle openers.

I tried to punch through the cans but couldn’t. I honestly thought it was me until he tried, but couldn’t use it either. In the blink of an eye he pulled out a small pocket knife and stabbed all the cans twice!

“William, can you hold those upside down and pour them into that container?” Dave asked.

“Sure!” I said, as I watched him stab a helpless can of pineapples and proceed to carve through its metal lid.

“That’s some sharp knife you have!” I said.

“Never know when you might need it,” he replied, giving me the pineapples to pour in next. I didn’t expect the ingredients to drop hard enough to splash the milk up in my face. But they did!

I’m not looking around because I could just feel the grins of people watching this “city boy” out of his element with a simple task. Dave is rushing a bit to keep up with the food preparations before a blessing is said over the meal.

So he starts pouring crushed ice around the outside of this churning contraption while the milk, pineapples and vanilla extract are stored inside a container. The top of this old ice cream maker won’t stay down so he ask me to put pressure on the top of it while he pours salt on top of the ice.

“What are you pouring salt on the ice for, Dave?” I asked sincerely.

“That makes the ice get colder,” he responded while pouring another layer of ice with more salt around the container as it made this grinding noise.

“Well, let me ask you a question,” I said. “Are you going to pour any ice in the ice cream?” Dave just looked at me.

“I mean, why do we call it ice cream if there’s no ice in it?”

“I don’t know,” Dave said. But the way he said it was almost like saying, “Is he for real?” I was.

“Don’t you think they should call this cold cream since all the cream is really doing is getting cold?” I asked. Dave may have snickered but I think he just ignored me.

“Try not to put your hand over the top of that air vent there, William,” he said.

“But don’t you think it would be better to call this cold cream rather than ice cream, Dave? Oh, wait! (I caught myself) I think they use cold cream on your face, don’t they? ... Dave?”

Dave disappeared. I’m sure the laughing I heard was not about me. But come to think of it, that evaporated milk wasn’t really evaporated! After reading this to my wife, she’s explaining that my childhood “ice cream” was really called snow cream! Oh. OK.

I suppose the next thing they’ll be telling me is that Girl Scout cookies aren’t made with real Girl Scouts.

*For a copy of The Little White Book of Light featuring more than 100 Wright Way columns, visit barnesandnoble.com, booksamillion.com and amazon.com.