Sunday, September 11, 2005

love and ice cream

I once had a relationship that revolved almost entirely around frozen confections. We ate popscicles together on our work breaks. We stopped for ice cream on the way home. We met at 7-11 for for slurpees that were excessively cheap in celebration of some store anniversary. We worked together one summer mowing lawns, and in the context of sweaty summer days and hard physical work, ice cream can quickly become associated with romance. The relationship, of course, didn't last past summer.

And it's not so unreasonable, this association between love and ice cream. Sarah Machlachlan got it--that a love better than ice cream is really something. And Eve Ensler's latest metaphor for female empowerment is ice cream. Vanilla ice cream, she says is the food that most resembles mother's milk, and so depriving ourselves from it is like severing ourselves from our own genesis. It's suprising that ice cream hasn't been employed more extensively as a metaphor; it is, after all, a powerfully evocative substance. But perhaps it's better to keep ice cream away from metaphor, art, and poetry. The results can be disastrous, as evidenced by Kurt Weill's "Ice Cream Sextet" (which you can listen to a clip of here, if you dare).

This summer, suffering from a lack of love, I decided to buy an ice cream maker (this one from Cuisinart, which I highly recommend). And I have come to the conclusion that sometimes--only sometimes--ice cream is better than love. There's something wonderful about gathering up ingredients and transforming them into lush, cold magic in less than 1/2 hour. I've made green apple sorbet, apricot sorbet, banana gelato, a chocolate ice cream that about did me in (I had to give some of it away, it was so daunting), chocolate sorbet (inspired by Tara's enthusiasm for Trader Joe's sorbet), and coke slush. Is it terrible to admit that the coke slush was my favorite?(a can of coke, 10 minutes--amazing)


Blogger tara said...

Oh, I totally want an ice cream machine. Tell me, though, once and for all, what's the difference between ice cream and gelato? This question has long plagued me.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Sally said...

I have the same ice cream maker. It's much fun--and there's something very delightful about being able to make your own ice cream :)

10:08 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

My ice cream maker, a Donvier model that involves freezing a "space-age" bowl-shaped cylinder for 24 hours and then hand-cranking it (a turn or two every five minutes), has not been the thrilling device I anticipated. There's no room to keep the big thing in the freezer permanently, so it's rarely ready when I get a hankering to make my own ice cream. In a recent Cook's Illustrated, their reviews dissed the Donvier and said it's not worth spending your money on (good thing mine came from a yard sale). But still, what it makes is good, and cold, and sweet, and I can put whatever I want in there.

7:08 PM  

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