Some notes about ice!

Well, I could use last week’s column for this week, because not much has changed! The weather is still stiflingly hot, the highs for the day are usually 103ºF to 104º and this is at 3:00 and 4:00 in the afternoon. It’s Saturday, and twice today the sky has clouded over, the wind has picked up and it looked as if we could get some rain…not a drop so far.
My week was quiet, compared to what it has been lately. I only worked the one day in the gift shop and wasn’t too busy, but I did have a pretty good day. My little four-legged friend is visiting for a few days, he always wants either in or out! I am getting plenty of exercise walking back and forth to the doors.
This week, I’ve found out I’m going to be great grandma for the 18th time, and that was just one of the high points of the week. The other on is that I’m going to get to go on a vacation with part of my family and go to NM! I haven’t been in that area in many years and am really looking forward to the trip.
This morning, a group of us that attend the country church, got together and cleaned the pavilion as we will be having breakfast there tomorrow morning after church. We do this on a monthly basis, but this month is special as it is in honor of the saint the church is named after; “St. Ann”, the mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Prior to the pandemic, we usually had Mass in the afternoon and then served chili dogs or some such thing. Now, we will be doing breakfast, and serving various and sundry casseroles, kolaches, fruit, cake, and other brunch foods. I made a ‘Southern Pecan Praline Cake’ for our meeting last week, and it went over well enough that the president of our group requested that I bring it! Luckily, it’s a pretty simple cake to make. Also, I’ll be making a casserole using shredded hash browns as a base with a really delicious sausage sauce over it, as well as some mini-cinnamon rolls. If it turns out as usual, we’ll have enough food for a small army, hope lots of folks decide to come to early Mass!
According to World Book Encyclopedia, the tiniest snowflake or particle of frost imaginable weighs less than a tiny bird’s feather.
The weight of a glacier is in the billions of pounds.
Glaciers, snowflakes, frost and hail stones are all ice and are formed the same way when the temperature of water and moisture in the air falls below 32ºF, or 0ºC.
Salt, sugar, and alcohol added to water lower the temperature needed to freeze it. This is why alcohol is used in anti-freeze to keep car radiators from freezing.
When frozen, the volume of the water increases by 1/11. This is why ice floats in water and also why jars of liquid in the freezer or water pipes burst when frozen.
Five to ten million dollars of ice is sold in the United States annually.
Most of this ice is made in ice plants where pure water is frozen in vats in blocks weighing 300 to 500 pounds.
In some areas of Canada and the northern parts of the United States, ‘natural ice’ is cut from rivers and lakes and stored in ice houses which are made especially for this purpose.
In or around 1800, ice was first shipped from New York City to Charleston, S.C., and during this time clipper ships carried it to many parts of the world including the West Indies.
The first commercially successful ice making machine was used in Florida in 1851.
An ‘artificial ice’ plant was first set up in New Orleans in 1868, and during this same year, refrigerated railroad cars were built; which meant that more areas of the country could have fresh produce and fresh meat.
I’ve given you various ice cream recipes over time, so I’m not including them today, (other than the one for Big Red Ice Cream) but wanted to remind you how wonderful an old-fashioned Root Beer Float would taste on these hot days, also, we’ve also used Big Red to make the same type of float…have fun, stay cool.
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? You can make a Big Read Float this same way, using red soda in place of the root beer! It is delicious.
In case you want to try something different, here is a recipe for Big Red Ice Cream.
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.
This is a fun and slightly different cake to make, my friends and family have always enjoyed it.
Earthquake Cake (aka-German Chocolate Up-side Down Cake)
(Read all instructions before beginning).
1 box German Chocolate cake mix, (along with ingredients to make according to directions)
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
4 cups powdered sugar
1 block cream cheese (8-oz)
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Lightly grease the bottom only of a 9×13 baking pan. Sprinkle pecans and coconut over pan. Mix German chocolate cake according to package directions and pour over coconut and pecans. With mixer, mix together powdered sugar, cream cheese and butter and vanilla. Drop by spoonsful over cake mix. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes.