It is early on a Tuesday evening when I walk downstairs to overhear my husband patiently saying to our daughter, “You know, there used to be a machine that you had to crank to get the ice cream to churn.”
I step into the kitchen to see the tripod set up. Both are looking into the electronic bubble-gum pink ice cream maker watching as it quietly rotates their mixture. Their latest Cooking with Rea and Dad episode involves ice cream and I cannot wait to see what they concoct.
I lean against the counter bracing myself for the “in my day” that will undoubtedly leave my husband’s mouth next, all the while thinking back to the countless summer nights spent sitting around an old-fashioned ice cream maker waiting for my own creations to finish churning.
I spent many summers at my grandmother’s home in northern Alabama. I remember many things from my visits to her home, but the heat of those Alabama summers sticks out in my memory the most.
The humidity greeted you first thing in the morning and escorted you until well after the sun went down that night.
Being from the north, my family and I relied on several inventive ways to keep cool, but my all-time favorite tradition took place at least once every season.
The Old-Fashioned Machine
One night, usually towards the end of our visit, my Alabama cousins came for an after-dinner visit. We all gathered on my Mimi’s red back porch, eager to aid in the art of making homemade ice cream. We voted on which flavor to make and it seemed that peach always won.
She loaded up the old-fashioned machine, complete with crank, the salt, and ice, as us kids fussed over who got to turn the handle first. We took turns cranking until our tiny arms became too exhausted to rotate the heavy handle, and then we sat back and listened to the adults tell stories and laugh as the country frogs sang in the background.
Years later, the old-fashioned machine received an electric upgrade, and the gentle hum of the engine accompanied our ice-cream tradition.
To this day, I make sure to enjoy at least one bowl of homemade peach ice cream every year in honor of those humid summer nights.
Cooking with Rea and Dad: Frozen Hot Chocolate Ice Cream
This new episode of Cooking with Rea and Dad is dedicated to all of us who spent a summer night turning a crank until our arms gave out. We have indeed come a long way.