Ice cream memories

So now we have officially left National Ice Cream Month, which lasted throughout July. It’s rather sad, but at least we can eat ice cream any month of the year. That’s part of the beauty of this treat, because it’s just good almost any time, if you ask me.

Ice cream is a $10 billion industry in this country. That’s a lot of ice cream cones. According to one source I consulted, the majority of ice cream manufacturers have been in business at least fifty years. So there’s another justification to eat ice cream, since when you’re indulging you’re also helping out a small business. Besides, right here in Iowa we have an ice cream capital, so we have to honor that.

One of the most effective, but rather mean, marketing campaigns I’ve been exposed to recently had to be in honor of National ice Cream Month. It came from the New Hampshire tourism folks, who encouraged me by email with pictures to check out what they’re calling their state’s Ice Cream Trail. New Hampshire is so scenic anyway, and then to pair it with ice cream is almost hitting below the belt. I was nearly ready to get in the car to go check it out.

When I was on a camp staff in New Hampshire, one of the prime destinations for a staff night off was Bailey’s Dockside, a local restaurant that literally was dockside, built almost over the water of the largest inland lake on the east coast. The place was the kind with old, mellow knotty pine walls and varnished wooden booths with a patina from years of use. So it was always pleasant to get a window table with one’s friends, order their specialty sundae–hot penuche almond-and watch the big boats on the lake as folks mingled about the dock. It was a completely different world than what this Iowa farm girl was accustomed.

In New Hampshire at the camp ice cream was sometimes a kids’ activity, with hand crank freezers used with ice and rock salt. Sometimes other ingredients were added, like chocolate chips, which I wouldn’t recommend unless you like trying to eat what seemed to be gravel. The kids thought it was really great, but I could never see the point.

Sometimes the ice cream was made in cans that sealed, with the smaller one filled with ice cream ingredients and placed inside a larger can. Then ice and salt were packed between the two cans. Agitation-and hopefully freezing-occurred as the cans were rolled up and down a slope of some kind. Naturally, that didn’t always happen as planned. Sometimes we gave up and just drank the sweet, chilled concoction.

It wasn’t all bad, either. Just like the memories from ice cream.