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« custard class notes & photos | Main | only in california. »

31 May 2005

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Shuna --
Glad you had some time in Marin. Your ice cream story caught me up short at the spot where you describe the sensation of holding the "metal bowl" at Fairfax Scoop.
Somehow eating i.c. from metal serving pieces intensifies the experience by keeping the contents cold and that cool hand feeling intensifies it too. I have strong sense memories of footed metal ice cream dishes on smooth marble counters and tables in Southern "drugstores" and the tall shake cannisters beaded on the outside with icy condensation. Keep thinking I'll get some of those colored metallic dessert dishes from Sur La Table, but they can't possibly beat the plain old fashioned kind.

Kudzu,

Wow, thank you for making such a beautiful comment on a tiny detail! But I understand, it's why I photographed them as well, because I thought that it was a finesse that Fairfax Scoop chose to have those as their "for here" containers.

The most fantastic version of ice cream I ever had was in Sicily. The gelato there is softer than in the rest of Italy and more intensly flavored (and yes, I had the "good stuff" in Rome and Florence but really, it was better in Sicily)

I found the gelato at Sketch to be very similar in style and flavor to the Sicilian, (though outrageously expensive) do you know anything about how that softer texture is achieved?

Amy,

The texture question is a difficult one. For one, it is the perfect temperature of an ice cream freshly churned. I heard once that gelato in Italy is churned by a singular source that comes with a truck to pick up the shop's melted stuff. This could be just one area as Michael Recchiuti told me this story about his family.

Also in Saveur they did a whole issue on gelato and the recipes had cornstarch in them. But I think that this is not exactly the case as I could not get a single one of those recipes to work at Citizen Cake...

I imagine that a big part of the different textures in dairy desserts in Europe has much to do with different cows and very high butterfat content in the milks and creams. The "terroir" one might say. Which I agree with, after spending some time in Ireland where the milk from my uncle's cows is thick and creamy.

What Americans want and force from our cows is very different than what most small European countries do.

Wow, Shuna... as always, another beautiful and evocative post!

I adore ice cream. Really. And I keep telling myself that this summer, I'll buy the ice cream maker. Then, each summer rolls around and I try to lose the pounds I've packed on in the winter.

But, you've inspired me, and I just ordered my very first Ice Cream maker!

The reference to eating ice cream in "drugstores" reminds me that I've wondered, off and on, how a particular (now almost vanished) combination of functions came to be: you went to the "drugstore" to get medicine (including having prescriptions filled by a licensed pharmacist), buy postage stamps, and order sundaes and sodas and milk shakes. And when I was a kid, this was so ordinary that it never occcurred to me to ask the obvious question: WHY?

Kudzu:

I've got plenty little ice cream dishes, I'll give you some once you're squared away.

Shuna;
Glad to see you got out of town. I also see you're venturing to Santa Rosa soon. Have a wonderful class.

Fatemeh,

Excellent!! ice cream makers everywhere, that's what I say! My dad and stepmom used to make vanilla ic sometimes and we would all take turns with the crank. Hard work in a tiny NYC studio in the summer, but worth it! Maybe that will be our next class together....

John,

I think that it started with "the country store" that sold everything. And somehow it started with Woolworth's too. I remember going there for egg salad sandwiches and malted's. (My grandmother thought that she could fatten me up with them. Alas I love malteds but remmain a lanky fellow.)

Haddock,

The class will be fun, indeed. A little messy too with all those berries...

Yeah, Woolworth's... there are still a few people who reminisce about the lunch counter at the big Powell & Market Woolworth's here in SF. (I'm not one of them--I recall grilled cheese sandwiches that were like hot, greasy linoleum tile.)

I'm not sure "selling everything" explains why drugstores specifically had medicines (prescription and over the counter), stamps, and soda fountains. I'm working on a hypothesis about refrigeration and official licensing but it's all pure speculation so far.

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