When I think about summer I think about backyard picnics, yummy food and strawberry ice cream under my grandma’s fruit trees. I’ve told you a little about my sweet grandma in this post on Heirloom Apple Rolls, but there are so many more stories so scroll down.
There’s just something so magical about old fashioned strawberry ice cream during the summer. To me it’s a reminder of the summer vacations spent at my grandma’s house in Jerome, Idaho. All of the family would gather at her house under the beautiful fruit trees that had perfect branches for climbing and hiding. We’d pull out long tables, bring out delicious foods and listen to Grandma’s stories while her homemade ice cream churned.
This photo reminds me of grandma. I know, it’s a little more dark and modern in many ways, but it’s almost as if it’s the distant memories that have been tucked away in a dark corner waiting to be pulled out and enjoyed with perfect clarity. Grandma’s house was peaceful, quiet and safe. Her stories were always about herself and her life, and 10 times more wonderful than any fairytale. In fact, as I look at the strawberry ice cream I feel pulled into the past listening to one of my favorite stories, the one with her in the outhouse. You see, Grandma is a shy, tenderhearted woman who married a practical jokester with a heart made of pure gold. I often hope that he is watching over me and I’m grateful that one day we will be together again.
But, let’s get back to the outhouse…
“Putting the war behind us and learning to adjust to our new way of life was not easy for either of us. Meal time was especially hard. I worked so hard to please him with good meals. I baked bread and tried to cook tasty foods that I knew he liked. We would just get our plates filled and I’d wait expectantly for him to tell me how good it tasted. Suddenly he would turn white and get up and leave the table. This always left me shaken and in tears.
Much later he told me whenever he looked at a plateful of food he could see all those hungry people in Europe that he had just left. He could not even take a bite. Oh that horrible war! Would he ever be able to forget and be happy again? I also had some lessons to learn. Slowly I learned that laughter is the prescription for healing mental wounds.
For some reason I never wanted anyone to see me go to the outhouse. I’d wait until my husband went out into the field before I would go down that path to the outhouse.
One morning I heard the tractor start up and head for the field. I hurried down the path and just got seated when I heard the tractor coming back to the yard. ‘He must have forgotten something. I’ll just be quiet and he will never know where I am.’ The tractor got louder and louder and I still sat there silently. I peered out through a little crack and saw the bumper of the tractor push up against the door.
‘My gosh! What is he doing? Has he lost his mind completely? Will he really push me over?’ He started rocking that little building back and forth. ‘This is not a joke. He is crazy!’
I knew it was time to break my silence. I stood up and let out a blood curdling scream. As I peeked out the crack of the door I saw those blue eyes twinkle and his shoulders shake with laughter as he backed off and headed for the field. ‘What a creep!’ Now I had no secrets at all. He knew I had to use the outhouse just like everyone else.”
I love that story. I love what a darling lady Grandma was and is. Recently I attended a dinner with Land O’ Lakes where we talked about vintage recipes and bringing them back to life. I guess that’s where this post came from. A place of the past that I’ll never let be forgotten.
Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream
- 1½ Cup Strawberries, smashed
- 2 cups whole milk
- 5 Large Egg yolks
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup cream
- dash of salt
- Heat the milk and berries gently over medium heat until very hot, but not boiling.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light in color.
- Slowly add 3 tb hot milk mixture to the eggs while whisking. Pour all of the egg mixture into the pan. Gently cook over low to medium heat, until it starts to thicken and reaches 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
- (Don’t let it exceed 180 degrees, or it will curdle. If you don’t have a
- thermometer, cook until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of
- a wooden spoon.)
- Pour into a clean bowl and add the cold cream.
- Chill until completely cold.
- Follow your manufacturer instructions to make the ice cream, then store in a tight lidded container until you serve.
- Scoop out the ice cream into dishes and serve with smashed strawberries
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