Sunday, August 21, 2011

"taken to the mat" by the thought of ice cream.....

....and not just any ice cream....homemade ice cream.

tonight after dinner, the k-man reminded me about a place here in nagasaki that i have yet to visit.  it's a restaurant that has milk shakes as one of its specialties.
and no, these are not milk shakes in the traditional sense of the american milk shake that you can get at your favorite hamburger joint or drive-in.
no. the nagasaki milk shake (i think there is even a song about it!!) is made by hand, using a whisk and a bowl that is sitting in ice (from what i can gather by the descriptions i have been given).  the ingredients...eggs, milk, cream, vanilla.... are carefully whisked in the bowl for each customer.
yes. each customer.  these milk shakes are made, one at a time.....after they are ordered....not dipped from a huge container that has been sitting in the freezer for Lord only knows how long.
no.....this is truly freshness at its very best.

as the k-man was telling me about this and how he thought we needed to go and have one....i was suddenly hit by a memory that literally, took my breath away.

the last few weeks have been strange...emotionally strange.
not sure if it's because i didn't go to the states this year for the second year in a row...or if it's because i've been a bit melancholy (for want of a better word) with this whole "i've been here for 20 years" thing that i've been doing a lot of thinking about....whatever the reason, i've been on a bit of an emotion roller coaster. 
 it's not anything to worry about, just something i have to work through.

anyway....there we were, sitting at the kitchen table, the k-man telling me about this place, the boys laughing about something they were watching on tv while they were eating their shaved ices...and it hit me.
a memory.
the sound of blocks of ice hitting a sidewalk.
(actually, the guy next door was crushing cans or something, but still.....)
on the sidewalk.

when i was little, i spent a lot of time with my granny and grandpa.
i loved being at their house....i probably spent more time there than i did at my actual home.

granny had an extra freezer in the room off the the weeks getting closer to summer, she would slowly fill the freezer with milk cartons that had been rinsed out and filled with water.
i don't think she ever threw away an empty milk carton....they would all be saved for making ice.

the ice....was for making ice cream.
though this was almost 45 years ago, the freezer they had was not one you had to turn by hand...
(when i grew older i always thought one of those would have been so much fun!!)...
no, we had a fancy-schmancy electric one.

as granny would get the ingredients ready to make the "soup"

...grandpa would be on the back porch, dropping those milk cartons full of ice...breaking the blocks into little pieces to fit around the bucket in the ice cream maker.

see the counter in my granny's kitchen?

(yeah, that's me...and my mom)
i can remember sitting up there while she put all the ingredients into her big, yellow (with the black flowers or lines or something) glass mixing bowl.  i can also remember being a bit jumpy, listening to the sounds of grandpa dropping those blocks of ice (he was a very tall man with a very strong arm!).  but granny would just pat my arm and say, "he's almost done."

she would carefully pour it all into the canister and put in the paddle.
she would carry it out to grandpa (when we got older, that was a grandkid's job) and the ice cream making was now in his hands.
he would fill crushed ice in around the canister, that had been placed a wooden bucket.
he would then put rock salt around on the ice "to make it melt so the ice cream freezes".

(for a long time, i had a hard time understanding that concept, but soon...didn't really worry about it too much!!)

and then....after making sure the motor was on  correctly, one of us kids would plug her in and....
the waiting would begin.

when the ice began to melt, there was a little hole that cold water used to come out of on the wooden bucket...i remember sticking my finger in that hole and even though grandpa would say "don't put that nasty water in your tastes terrible", i would, indeed, put my finger in my mouth to taste the water...and yes, it was terrible...but i had to do it. i really did.

after a very, very long time...almost forever!! while, the motor would falter a bit....and then.....stop.
the ice cream was done.
oh....such a joyous sound, that silent ice cream maker had!!!
grandpa would bring the canister into the house...and then the game of "who gets to eat the paddle" would begin.  oh, how i loved it when i was the only one there when they made ice cream...that meant i could eat what was on the paddle and i didn't have to fight anyone for it!!!

granny would pull out the paddle and put it on a plate that we never big enough to hold the paddle so you had to eat fast, because if you didn't, ice cream would melt all over the counter.

i love that ice cream.
sometimes, there is just nothing better than a bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream
to make all bad things go away.

there were a few occasions that we had fresh peaches, either from granny's tree or from the produce stand that was south of town.

later....someone got the brainy idea to
put in a couple smashed up candy bars that we all enjoyed eating. 

oh yeah.
totally yummilicious!!!

i know that i can get an ice cream maker (of sorts) here.....i have granny's recipe and i can get all the ingredients needed (except that particular candy bar..i may have to ad lib on that one!!).
it just won't all be the same....for me.  but....i have decided that i will look into buying an ice cream maker.  maybe the memories we make for the boys won't be the same as my memories, but...that's okay.  it's the making of the memories that is important.


i wish for you all, today, a that makes you smile,
maybe even shed a tear or two.
and then. may you make a new memory or two with someone
who is with you today.

happy sunday, everyone.

**all photos were borrowed, lovingly, from Google Images**