In the dead heat of summer (yes, we have summer in Minnesota) there's nothing I like more than a little bit of ice cream. Of course, the preferred way is straight out of the carton, with little to no work involved. However, sometimes I get suckered out of going to the store by my sentimentality and instead head straight to the basement, where the storied Samuelson ice cream maker resides. It is old and wooden and very authentic. Don't get me wrong--there is nothing at all romantic about ice cream-making, yet maybe something kind of biblical about the whole process.
You begin with the very basics, tucking the slender pillar into the ice, and pour the few ingredients into the bucket. Everything seems very, well, authentic and rustic and I start envisioning myself as a brave homesteader as I turn the near-rusty handle.
This is where the unromantic part starts. As the daughter of a chef, I've learned to do things the old fashioned way instead of relying on a fancy ice cream maker to do the job for me. All this turning without any result is making me lose my mind. Even when we are at my grandma's house on a steamy 4th of July, and everyone in my sizable family is taking turns, there's always a point where I start to lose hope and believe that maybe the cylinder can't be resurrected from its icy tomb. Will we have to sit out here without the reward of cold, sweet cream?
Yet, suddenly my grandma stops cranking the handle to pull out the cylinder. And what would you know? Out comes out a spoonful of that glorious ice cream that makes all that work a distant memory. Of course, at my grandmother's house, everyone only gets about a teaspoon because there are that many of us, but it's so worth it, which makes me reconsider how romantic making ice cream the old fashioned way really is. Back in Iowa where my ancestors lived on those hot, lonely farms, they worked so hard to make a little something sweet and cold, that I begin to realize what it's all about--good things are worth the effort if done with care, sentimentality and patience. For the recipe for my dad's perfect vanilla gelato, click here.
Evie Samuelson (no relation to Marcus except for a love of cooking and food) is a 14-year-old student born and raised in Minneapolis. Her father, a chef, taught her how to appreciate the sights and sounds of the kitchen, though he sometimes had to have some attitude about it.