I “wrote” this post while waiting in line for ice cream—in the rain and 90 degree heat. Even so, I had a blissful feeling, knowing I was about to indulge in one of the fondest pleasures of childhood.
The first ice cream I recall came from High’s Dairy, a chain that sold milk products throughout the Washington area. You could also pick from the 3 flavors of ice cream. I’ll not bother to mention them; you know which they were.
Ice Cream on a Stick
Happily, the Good Humor man delivered curbside each afternoon during the summer. The white clad, visor-capped driver creeped slowly down the street in his white, refrigerated truck.
Before he rounded the corner, the clanging bell was enough to send kids scurrying indoors in search of a nickel. I had a 25-cent-a-week allowance, a good wages for a kid in those days. But I’d invariable spend a dime for a Captain Marvel comic book, leaving me little opportunity to splurge on Good Humor treats.
I was especially intrigued by the change dispenser the driver wore attached to his belt so he could quickly handle the coins given him from our dirty, sweaty little hands. Five cents would get you a popsicle and 10 cents an ice cream bar on a stick.
Popsicles temporarily tinted your tongue—a much admired side effect of the colorful treat. But whenever possible, I opted for the 10 cent Creamsicle, a vanilla ice cream bar coated with orange sherbet.
Nectar of the Gods
In the 50s, the home-churned ice cream maker hit the market, which meant the homemaker—that would be me—could made the recipe for the guys to literally turn into ice cream. My favorite then—and now—was a custard-based recipe featured in the Woman’s Home Companion cookbook.
An easier version, the Philadelphia-style base, had no eggs and required no cooking. But I preferred the cooked custard base; It was smoother.
Cooking the ingredients was messy. The cumbersome ice and salt treatment needed for churning required constant attention. Clearly, there had to be a better way.
Making It Easier
Then along came the electric ice cream maker. Our family invested in a White Mountain, the cream of the cream. (Pun intended :-)) Some said electric made wasn’t as good as the hand turned, but that was soon dismissed as nonsense.
My old, White Mountain is packed away somewhere, but I don’t intend to take it from its final resting place. Today my daughter has a countertop device that perfectly crafts the creamy dessert with minimal effort and cleanup.
When I’m feeing nostalgic, there’s always Sia, a flavored ice made here in St. Louis, that reminds me of the old-time popsicles, but much improved and in a cup. What’s more I find Central Dairy in Jefferson City and Ted Drewes in St. Louis to be quite satisfying.
Time marches on.
Freda Shen says
That creamsicle was my all-time favorite and still is. Partly because that’s not something I can make at home with my own (now donated) ice cream maker. I have a favorite childhood memory of my father and his male friends, all sitting in our basement trying to make a living in this new country and surrounded by coconuts they were cracking. They had figured out that Americans really like ice cream and thought a coconut ice cream flavor could be the next big hit. Unfortunately, they were ahead of their times.