Hot and sunny days

Father’s Day was a beautiful day, wasn’t it? Here in my area the sun was shining brightly with lots of clouds in the sky, many of them gray, with the weather forecasters telling us it was going to rain! While we were in the restaurant having breakfast, we noticed a couple of customers come in and they said it was raining. Yep, that lasted about as long as it took them to find a table and sit down and it was gone! Since then, it sort of gets cloudy and then clears up again. There is not as much wind blowing, as it was earlier.
My sister invited me to her home this evening to be with her daughters and also their niece and family who are coming in from Austin. It should be a fun time as they are always interesting to be with especially getting to watch her five or six year old little boy! He is such a sweetie and always really well behaved and quiet.
Thursday the 21st is officially the first day of summer and it is also the longest day of the year. According to my almanac calendar, the day will be 14 hours and 19 minutes long, with the calendar showing the loss of one or two minutes each day following.
The first day of winter, usually December 21st, is the shortest day of the year, and just when the children think it is time for Christmas, the days start getting longer!
Now that summer is officially here, (in spite of the fact that we’ve been having 90ºF plus days for most of the month already), it’s time to start thinking about ice cream, everyone knows the old saying, “You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream”! My whole family loves ice cream. (When the grandchildren were small, their Papaw would take them to the DQ for ice cream, and when he was ‘babysitting” them, sometimes the banana split he bought them was their lunch.) Some of us try not to eat too much due to weight problems. Personally, I’ve started eating frozen yogurt. It is delicious and not nearly as fattening as ice cream and I enjoy it just as much. In fact recently, I purchased frozen yogurt in the ice cream section at the store, and it was nearly too sweet for me, so I started buying the individual servings of yogurt and freezing them. They taste really great; you just have to let them thaw a little bit.
The following article was run in one of my older columns and inspired me to go ahead and write about ice cream for this column.
Almost everyone in America loves ice cream. America leads the world in ice cream consumption, with each American averaging over 24 quarts of ice cream and other frozen treats annually.
Our love affair with this delectable treat began when ice cream made its first appearance in America during the early 1700s. The ice cream cone was invented in 1896 by Italo Marchiony, who sold ice cream from a cart on the streets of New York. (I thought it was invented at the World’s Fair, in the early 1900s.) In those early years, before refrigeration, ice cream and frozen novelties were mainly treats for the privileged and wealthy as ice was rare and valuable.
Today 98 percent of all U.S. households purchase ice cream.
Another “do you remember”, for those of you who may have lived in San Antonio…do you remember the little carts with a man pushing the cart and ringing the little bells, or possible riding what looked to be part of a bicycle and the cart had two wheels, so he didn’t have to walk selling Popsicles and other treats? A Popsicle was a nickel and you could break it in half and share with a sibling or friend!
Also, in San Antonio, when I was a child, sometimes a cart, being pulled by a horse, would come by selling hot popcorn…it was always a treat and always awesome.
When shopping for ice cream and novelties it is suggested that you make the ice cream aisle your last stop. Here in my local HEB, the frozen food aisles are the last ones in the store, and be sure to take an insulated bag with you when you go shopping, along with the regular bags you normally take. At home, store ice cream in the main part of the freezer, not on the door, where it is subject to more fluctuating temperatures. (Note – J – I have purchased several of the bags displayed near the frozen food section at Wal-Mart or HEB and they really do keep the food frozen for a goodly period of time, and also, I receive lots of the mail catalogues that have various types of household items in them and have purchased a couple of cooler bags from this source, they work wonders as they are a little more insulated than the ones you get at the stores.)
A favorite ice cream treat to enjoy: the old-fashioned Root Beer Float or maybe you prefer a Big Red® float, either one is truly delicious.
Root Beer Float
1½ cups vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
1½ cups cold root beer
Put two scoops of ice cream in a tall fountain glass and pour in enough cold root beer to cover. Add two more scoops and top again with root beer. Serve with a spoon and straw.
Do you remember the days of going to A&W drive in on Nogalitos St. in San Antonio, and having root beer floats served in frosted mugs? How about the “Black Cow” on Broadway near Pearl Brewery? Their root beer float was called “Black Cow”, and was also served in a frosted mug. Weren’t those days fun? For a Big Red® float, follow these same directions and use that instead of root beer!
Big Red Ice Cream
4 eggs
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can (large) evaporated milk
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small box (cook type) vanilla pudding mix
1 bottle (2-liter) Big Red soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Mix together eggs, condensed milk and evaporated milk. Stir in sugar and pudding mix and mix well. Add Big Red soda and stir just until mixed. Pour into freezer container and churn until frozen.
Cooked Custard Ice Cream
2 cups sugar
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups milk
4 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 cups light cream (half and half or evaporated milk)
Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in top of double boiler. Gradually add milk, stirring occasionally until thick, about 12 to 15 minutes. While this is cooking, beat the eggs until thick. Gradually stir about ½ cup of the hot mixture into the eggs, then stir eggs into milk mixture; continue cooking, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes longer. Cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla and cream and pour into freezer can. Freeze according to directions with your ice cream maker.
The following recipe is a sure fire hit with the kiddos. It does take some adult supervision but is a real fun thing and would work well at a birthday party or at a VBS session. They’ll make their own ice cream and then have the fun of eating it!
Coffee Can Ice Cream
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chopped fresh fruit (optional)
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a 1-pound coffee can with a tight fitting plastic lid. Put lid on can and seal with masking tape or duct tape. Set this can inside a 3-pound coffee can with a lid. Pack larger can with crushed ice and ¾ cup rock salt around smaller can. Place lid on large can, seal well with tape, just as you did the small can, and roll back and forth on a table or cement slab for 10 minutes. (It can be rolled back and forth between several children, so each one gets to help).
Open outer can and remove inner can. Using a rubber spatula, stir the mixture, scraping the sides of the can. Replace the lid, reseal the can, drain off excel liquid from the larger can and replace small can. Repack with ice and salt and roll back and forth 5 to 10 more minutes. Makes 3 cups ice cream.
Happy summertime, stay cool, wear shades and a hat when you’re outdoors! Hope you enjoy these recipes.