Ice cream cones

“Oh! I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” —Unsplash photo/Brooke Lark

While you have been encouraged not to, you do it anyway. You do it, despite the likelihood of adding inches to your waistline. Yet, many of us will have a dish of ice cream just before bedtime.

As hard as it is to believe, I read that breakfast, is the best time to eat ice cream. I decided to write this column after removing Turkey Hill ice cream from the freezer which resurrected memories of ice cream, back in the day.

“Why no Breyers ice cream?” was the question I asked my wife as I removed the Turkey Hill ice cream from the freezer. Breyers was the ice cream of choice when I was a child; if not Breyers, it was not ice cream. Turkey Hill, introduced in 1954, is a relatively new brand. But there were other brands you might recall from your childhood days. You must remember brands like Sealtest, Hagen-Dazs, Hershey or Jack and Jill. Perhaps Abbotts was a favorite or you were a fan of Dolly Madison, Blue Bell or Blue Bunny.

As I researched ice creams , there were some unfamiliar brands. Brands such as Friendly’s, Colonial or Dreyer’s were among them. Several friends remembered Ben and Jerry’s. Another friend reminded me of Baskin-Robbins. He laughed as he told me that it was around when we were children but no one in our neighborhoods purchased it as it was too costly. If you are in my age group, Dairy Queen and Good Humor must ring a bell. While many associate these names with the ice cream trucks that traveled through their neighborhoods, they did have their own ice cream brands.

I wonder how many of you had mom’s or dad’s ice cream when you were growing up. You may have never had these but our ancestors enjoyed them immensely, back in the day.

Let me use an experience I had some years ago to segue into understanding mom’s and dad’s ice cream. I was in a home improvement store in the suburbs looking for rock salt to put on a path to control weeds. This store had none. I told the salesperson that I had been unsuccessful in my visit to several stores. A person standing nearby suggested that I go to a “neighborhood store” where I would find plenty of rock salt. He explained that neighborhood people use rock salt in making ice cream. Some of you recall families using rock salt to make ice cream. You might have helped using a “churn” to make homemade ice cream.

I have learned that the freezing process is critical in making homemade ice cream; it cannot be done too quickly nor too slowly. Thus, rock salt, the same used to melt ice on roadways and sidewalk is a key part of freezing ice cream as it sets up its rich texture. An online article by Virginia Watson, points out that while frozen desserts have been around for hundreds of years, what we know today as ice cream was not available to the public until factory production started in the mid-1800s. She also writes that the hand-cranked ice cream maker was invented in 1843 and Jacob Fussell opened the first ice cream factory in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1851. Rock salt was used to set up an ice bath surrounding the cream mixture to start the freezing process. You might recall your parents making ice cream by using snow during the winter months. This was truly from back in the day.

Everyone has their favorite flavor of ice cream. My first favorite flavor was butter pecan. I then moved on to vanilla fudge. Finally, I fell in love with plain vanilla and it has remained a favorite. Your favorite might have been cherry vanilla, chocolate, French vanilla, coffee or chocolate chip. Neapolitan ice cream, composed of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry was the favorite of many. I understand that many families purchased Neopolitan to satisfy the tastes of various family members. There are numerous ice cream flavors today that were not available in the past. I have not mention many of these creative flavors but I am sure that you are familiar with many of today’s popular flavors..

Other than eating ice cream from a dish, what were other ways did you consume ice cream? A milkshake must be on your list! What about a banana split or an ice cream float? I loved ice cream sodas. I also loved freshly made waffles with a scoop of ice cream in between. An ice cream sandwich made with two hard, brown wafers was big in my book. A close friend had fond memories of buying a block of ice cream wrapped in plastic that was placed between two cookies. Do you remember the ice cream cake? Then, there was the sundae. Some internet reports state that its name was coined because it was only served on Sundays. Maybe you still yearn for a popsicle or a Dixie Cup? Of course, no mention of ice cream can ignore the ice cream cone, created by accident when a vendor ran out of plates to serve ice cream. For me, the cone had to be a sugar cone with a double dip of ice cream. Do you remember the cone with two sections designed to hold two flavors of ice cream? I have not seen one of these since, back in the day.

As you read what I have shared in this column, I have no doubt that your mind traveled back to those places in our neighborhoods where you purchased ice cream products. Whether it was the neighborhood drugstore, variety store, ice cream parlor or ice cream truck, the memories resurrected may have been so memorable until you blurted out, “I scream, you scream; we all scream for ice cream,” a song made popular by Fred Waring, back in the day.

Kittrels can be reached at backintheday@phillytrib.com or The Philadelphia Tribune, Back In The Day, 520 S. 16th St., Philadelphia, PA 19146

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