Updated: Jan 31, 2021
As we inch closer to one year in quasi-isolation, I am fascinated to hear about all of the things people have discovered, or maybe rediscovered, during their extra time at home. People have been really creative, suddenly finding the opportunity to do things they have been putting off, like learning a new language or mastering a favorite family recipe.
As for me, at the start of the pandemic I gathered up a lot of different staples with the thought that I would be baking bread every day or making elaborate dinners since I was suddenly working from home. However shortly after I devised this plan in my head, I also realized that since I owned several sewing machines, it was a no brainer that I should be making cloth masks when there was a dire need for them. Instead of baking bread or learning to make pasta, I was at my machine
every moment outside of my day job hours. For months I would stay up until all hours of the night to get through the requests for over 600 masks that I would provide to frontline workers, friends, and family. As the days got warmer and my husband and son took advantage of our backyard pool, I would drag the machine out onto the patio and enjoy the nice weather as I stitched away. It was exhausting, but really helped me feel like I had a purpose.
During this time, my family (of 38) stayed connected via Zoom calls every other week. Being Italian, of course the conversation always turned to food. I was amazed at all of the things people were making, especially the breads (meanwhile, my barely-used 25 lb bag of flour was mocking me). However the one treat I was most jealous of was the homemade ice cream! I always assumed it would be difficult to make, but after listening to all of the frozen treats they were making, I was determined to try it for myself, so I put an Ice Cream Maker on my wish list. Thanks to my sister and brother-in-law, my wish was granted in July for my birthday, and I was the proud recipient of a Cuisinart Ice-30 Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream maker!
Of course, I immediately got to work and started making some of the typical flavors, such as vanilla, strawberry, and my favorite, mocha chip. It not only was tasty, but it was refreshing to be able to have a frosty treat ready for us in 30 minutes without leaving the house (yes, the pun was intended). I will always love Brighams and my pals Ben and Jerry, but there is something about being able to make it myself and know exactly what fresh ingredients were going into it that makes it so much better.
Sadly, as usually happens, the novelty wore off and the whole milk and heavy cream started to get pushed to the back of the fridge. Each time I tossed out the expired dairy, I would replace it the next time I went to the grocery store with high hopes of restocking the freezer with more deliciousness. I think part of my resolve stemmed from those family Zooms, where the conversation still steered toward food call after call, even 10 months later. So, this morning as I looked at the January 17 expiration date on my milk carton, I did a quick search to make sure it was still okay to use, (as long as it didn't smell funky, it was) and I whipped up a batch of chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips. It may be close to freezing outside, but when my 12 year old asked what was for breakfast, I told him cocoa and dairy, and neither of us felt guilty about it at all.
If you have any good ideas for ice cream (preferably without using eggs....still a bit apprehensive about that), please post. I am now on a quest for a creamsicle recipe to try next.