A Good Old-fashioned Summer Cool-off

“A Good Old-fashioned Summer Cool-off,” New Era, July 1978, 33

A Good Old-fashioned Summer Cool-off

Back in grandma and grandpa’s days they had an incredibly delicious way of cooling off on hot summer afternoons. During the hottest months of the year on those long, lazy Saturdays, the old horse was hitched to the buggy and the whole family would climb in and ride off to a cool mountain or shady glen. Everyone had his favorite out-of-the-way place to go, maybe a meadow by a cold stream or the shade of a willow tree down by the river.

Once there, fresh fruit, fresh milk, eggs, and cream were poured into a crank ice-cream maker. Ice, frozen in the winter and kept buried in sawdust, was chipped into chunks and placed with rock salt into the bucket of the ice-cream maker. (The salt lowers the melting temperature of the ice and aids in freezing the ice cream.) The ingredients had to be cranked for over an hour while ice and salt were added to the bucket to replace the melting ice. The ice cream was ready when the handle became very hard to turn. Maybe it was the fresh ingredients, the effort of turning the crank, or maybe it was the cold, sweet taste on a hot, hot day, but it was great.

Does it sound good to you? Get an ice-cream maker, fresh ingredients, some friends, and find a favorite out-of-the-way place. Then make your own “good-old-days” ice cream. Frozen yogurt, ice milk, and sherbets can also be made with an ice-cream maker. The flavors? Use your imagination; invent your own. Follow grandpa and grandma’s example by chipping the ice into small chunks and adding rock salt to the ice-cream maker. Be sure the container is closed tight and watch the water level so the salt and water don’t get into the ice cream.

Following is a chart to help you in deciding how much salt and how much ice to use.

Size of Freezer


*Rock Salt

Table Salt

4 quarts

20 pounds

2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups

6 quarts

25 pounds

3 1/2 cups

2 1/3 cups

Some extras you may want to add to the ice cream are fresh fruits, nuts, or flavorings like caramel. You’ll know when it’s done—it gets really hard to turn the crank.

Easy Creamy Ice Cream

1 small package gelatin (match the flavor to the flavor of fruit used)

4 cups sugar

4 cups mashed fruit (strawberries and bananas are especially good)

1/2 tablespoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon (2 tablespoons)

1 quart cream (whipped)

1 1/2 quarts milk

Dissolve the gelatin in 2 cups of boiling water. Let it cool. Mix the sugar, fruit, salt, and lemon juice together in a bowl. Mix the gelatin in and pour mixture in ice cream freezer container. Add the whipped cream. Pour in enough milk to fill can (just below the top line of the container). Fold together. Freeze. Makes 4 quarts.

Old-Style Vanilla Ice Cream

4 eggs

2 1/4 cups sugar

5 cups milk

4 cups heavy cream

4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

Add the sugar gradually to beaten eggs. Continue to beat the mixture until it is very stiff. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into freezer container and freeze. Makes 4 quarts.

Custard Base Vanilla Ice Cream

2 1/4 cups sugar

6 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 cups milk, scalded

6 eggs

4 cups heavy cream (for extra rich ice cream use all cream and omit milk)

3 teaspoons vanilla

Combine sugar, flour, and salt in saucepan. Slowly stir in hot milk. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until mixture is thickened. Mix small amount of hot mixture into beaten eggs. Add beaten eggs to the rest of the hot mixture and cook 1 minute longer. Chill in refrigerator. Add cream and vanilla. Pour into freezer container and freeze. Makes 4 quarts.

Grandma and grandpa really knew how to enjoy themselves. But wait! Who says it is only the gentle folks of the 1800s who could enjoy such great tastes and times? In the Ames Ward (Des Moines Iowa Stake) the young people still know how to put together ice and cream and old-fashioned fun.

The young men and young women insisted that everyone in the ward be invited personally to their ice-cream social, and so they began a phone-calling brigade. They then remodeled their cultural hall into an 1800s setting, including a sweet shoppe, general store, jail, claims office, some cactus, and hitching posts. The main attraction was the Oasis Ice Cream Shop where you could buy the “Great Divide” (a “splendiferous” banana split), a “Pie Alamo(de),” a “Golden Nugget,” a “Ghost Two Special,” and a “Flash Flood Float.”

While ward members ate, they were entertained with a talent show. Even the missionaries got in the act with a short skit called “A Typical Day in the Life of a Missionary.”

Two months of work went into the Oasis Ice Cream Shop—two months of work and gallons of ice cream, toppings, nuts, and bananas. The youth did it all themselves—with an adult leader here and there scooping ice cream, impersonating sheriffs, and complimenting the youth for one “very cool” job.

Photos by Laird Roberts