Ice Cream Social

I grew up going to church ice cream socials, eating casseroles, cakes, and ice creams from generations-old recipes. Some of those things weren't too tasty (I have a particularly strong memory of some dis-GUST-ing meatballs), but some flavors from those rambling dinners stay with me. One that comes to mind (and one I'm going to try very soon) is a particular kind of ice cream that was made by one of the parishoners at my grandparents' church when I was little. The texture was airy, but a little icy. Not so rich that you couldn't eat three bowls, but so tasty that you couldn't not eat three bowls. Preferred flavors at those socials were vanilla (naturally), strawberry (always made from hand-picked strawberries, most likely), and butter pecan (heavy on the butter).

Ice cream is a habit that seems to follow me around from place to place. During my three happy years in Northampton, trips to Herrel's or Bart's (incidentally, Bart's was the scene of my most spectacular - and hilarious - lack of inhibitions ever. It resulted in such a shock that my dearest friend was accidentally punched in the face by another of our friends. I'll tell you that story someday.) were nearly daily occurrences (featured flavors: oreo mint, Caramel Heath Bar). On the days we didn't go there, we went to Davis (and later the Campus Center) for mudslides (mint chip ice cream - some chose coffee, oreos, chocolate syrup, blender).

I spent a year in Hamburg, where they are rumored to eat more ice cream per capita than anywhere in the world. Needless to say, I ate a lot of ice cream there (Generally I ate lemon or strawberry, as the ice cream more nearly resembled gelato and those are the superior gelato flavors. Late in the year, however, I discovered Eiszeit, where I stuck to anything with Caramel in the name. Or anything I couldn't identify.)

And now I'm in Boston, which as it does in so many things, resembles Hamburg in the natives' feelings about ice cream. Now it's J.P. Licks (Cake Batter Oreo) or Christina's (Chai or Khulfi) or Toscanini's (Bourbon or Burnt Caramel). When I was a kid it was Lic's all the time (grape sherbert, please, or caramel praline).

You see, I like ice cream. I'm not always in the mood for it, but when I am, absolutely nothing else will satisfy.I've got a whole stack of those old Ice Cream Social recipes that I want to try, but a few weeks ago, I found myself in possession of a craving and a pile of clementines on the brink and I decided to try something new. The result? Delicious, creamy, light, but intensely flavored Clementine-Cinnamon Gelato. (By the way, I'm convinced that orange-cinnamon is the next Great Flavor Combination.) It's like being smacked in the face by a bag of clementines, but liking it and asking for more. It's like drowning in a sea of clementine and preferring the juice to air. It's an avalanche of clementines and, rather than run for cover, you stand there and wait to be bowled over. It's not subtle, but why should it be?

I suggest trying this while you can still get your mitts on some good citrus. You might come out the other side slightly battered and orange-stained, but you'll thank me. I promise.

Clementine-Cinnamon Gelato
  • ~8 clementines, pureed and strained
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 t egg white, beaten until foamy
  1. Mix everything but egg together until blended.
  2. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Fold in the egg white.
  4. Bang all this in your ice cream maker and press go.

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