In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared July as National Ice Cream Month. He also established National Ice Cream Day as the third Sunday in the month, this year on July 18. This is my homage to this wonderful observance! P.S. You don’t have to wait until July 18 to enjoy!
I always wanted an ice cream maker. Back in the days of my childhood, my Dad had an old hand-crank machine that required rock salt and hours of elbow grease to churn out fresh frozen heaven, like homemade peach ice cream with fruit picked from a friend’s orchard in Virginia. I have nostalgic memories of those delicious summer ice cream treats Dad made, with me and my brother standing by waiting with our cake cones and big smiles.
A couple of years ago I bought some friends an ice cream maker for their wedding. They were two lesbians friends of mine, holding their nuptials a week shy of the anticipated repeal of gay marriage by the infamous Prop 8. It was a joyous occasion for them that had been 10 years in waiting. I wanted to get them something special, so I headed to Williams-Sonoma, and despite my personal economic queasiness due to a slippery job at a failing PR agency, I splurged on their gift. It was one of those gifts where “you give what you would want.”
At the wedding, I learned my friends had gone extreme vegan, and they now equated dairy with “cancer food.” I thought, “My gift was a flop!” But in their thank-you note I was relieved when they told me the machine I gave them also turned out to be a non-dairy yogurt maker, so all was not for naught.
Last year, I got another ice cream maker for a couple of my best friends, Roxie and Angie, this time the occasion was Christmas. It was another “gift of the Magi,” because by now my lay-off at my job was imminent, but R&A had always been the best of friends to me, and they deserved the best in return, so I went extravagant and got them a top-of-the-line Cuisnart machine.
When they unwrapped it, Angie, who is the very practical and non-word-mincing of the two, shrugged and said, “Well another appliance to go into storage in the garage.” Keep in mind this is the same friend who exclaimed, “Oh, no, at least tell me you didn’t pay a lot for it,” when I proudly showed her my new hand-loomed wool rug in my family room, which clearly was not to her taste.
While Roxie tried to hush her, Angie asked me, in all earnestness, “Would you use it? Because you should keep it then.”
Really? I thought. I was seriously about to take her up on her offer, but Roxie packed up the machine and assured, “We’ll use it. Someday.”
Angie winked and whispered that I could have it back next time I came to visit their house in Orange County. But when I did go for a visit some months later, the offer was forgotten. I even hinted, saying, “Do you guys really think you won’t use that ice cream maker I got you, because I would definitely use it.”
Roxie, thinking she was being polite, silenced Angie with a look and promised, “No, we’re going to keep it.”
Then I came up with a plan. I was working on a mother’s day gift guide for SheWired, full of great gifts for moms. I’m a mom. I’d love an ice cream maker. I will feature an ice cream maker in my guide! I sent an email to a few manufacturers asking them if they would like to be featured.
Of course, as my mom’s day guide would be written with the two-mom household in mind, that may inhibit some of the manufacturers from wanting to participate. As I have found in my experience doing these gay gift guides for the past few years, some companies will shy away from aligning themselves with the gays (Note: never buy toys from Fat Brain. Real narrow brains working there). But good old Cuisinart – being keenly attuned to what a loyal, affluent and appreciative customer base we the gays are – responded in a flash, offering to send a sample machine immediately and even taking the time to suggest a newer and more feature-loaded model than I had inquired about. (FYI, you can see the final “Two Moms, One Special Day” gift guide at
So I got my Cusinart Mix It In Soft Serve Ice Cream Maker, and I love it! My son’s usual nighttime whine, “Mommy, can I have some ice cream,” is now, “Mommy, please make us some ice cream.” My partner’s whine is very similar.
So now we are enjoying fresh, creamy homemade ice cream whipped up on our own countertop on a regular basis. We’ve experimented with lots of different flavors, and I’ve even become a connoisseur of flavorings, like Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste.
Here’s a recipe:
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 pint whipping cream
1 pint half and half
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
1/8 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients until sugar dissolves. Cover and chill until ready to use. Follow ice cream freezer directions to churn and freeze ice cream. Note: 1 tablespoon Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Extract may be substituted for the bean paste.
Using quality ingredients, such as Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, guarantees the very best product to be placed in a cone, bowl or A LA Mode. So, chill out when the thermometer is climbing, get cranking and enjoy this popular frozen delight.