I am sitting in my apartment and it is really hot inside and outside..my table fan is running continuously for past few days! These are one of those days when Philly’s temperature crosses 100 F. I know what all of you must be thinking…I am from India and its usually hot there at this time of the year…but its really hot plus the weather is pretty humid here. So…I am sitting in my apartment and I am dreaming about some cold, sweet, creamy goodness (with a lot of calories)…yep! you probably have guessed it right! I am talking about ice cream… 🙂
In my childhood, summer time was always associated with 3 things; summer vacation, mangoes and ice cream! By mid April, we used to finish our exams and start our summer vacation. Our regular day during vacation used to look something like this: wake up-go to play ground-play there all morning-come back-eat lunch-go back to play-come back- eat dinner and sleep and repeat this cycle for one and half month! When I was a kid, ice cream was a luxury item! In all summer we would eat ice cream once or twice. At that time my dad used to buy a family pack of ice cream. (I am not sure if companies still sell family packs…) It is a big bar of ice cream weighing 1-2 ponds. My mom used to cut that bar in to six pieces and we used to eat it before it melts! I still remember the flavors, tutti-frutti and vanila…I used to like ice cream cones with nuts and chocolate but they were costly at that time! Sometime all of us used to go outside for an evening walk and on our way back home, we used to have ice cream at small shops near my home. On summer afternoons you can hear hawkers in our colony selling Kulfi! This is one more thing that you can get in summer is also my favorite. Kulfi is made of sweetened thickened milk with pistachio, mango and cardamom. This used to be very cheap and we used to love it but my mom used to be concerned about the quality of Kulfi.
When we were in Udgir, my mom had done a two day crash course in ice cream making. One day we decided to make ice cream at home and mom prepared everything related to it. She put the milk, sugar and some powders mixed them together and put it in the freezer to set and told us that it will be ready in 4-5 hours. We were kids and impatient so this 4-5 hour waiting period was real torture for us. I remember that after every half an hour or so we checked our ice cream without realizing that it was only making it take longer than 4-5 hours!
In America, ice cream is much cheaper and available through out the year. My personal favorites are Ben and Jerry’s (because of special connection: They did ice cream making course from State College…Neeraj’s Alma mater) and Haagen Dazs. It is really interesting to know how Ben and Jerry’s started ice cream making. Ben and Jerry, two high school friends, were trying to figure out what should they do with their lives after unsuccessful attempts at college education. Both of them knew that they loved food, decided to start a business of ice cream. Did a correspondence course (5$!) from Penn State University. In 1978, both of them put together their life long savings, took some bank loan and started their own ice cream shop. Soon their ice cream was a huge hit ! In 2003 they celebrated 25 years in the business.
I have tried a variety of flavors of ice creams here…along with the regular mango, vanilla, strawberry, butter pecan, chocolate, I have tried some exotic ones such as coconut, green tea, peanut butter and ginger! Some of my personal favorites are chunky monkey, Haagen Dazs pistachio and coffee. In Philadelphia we have a really old ice cream shop near Penn’s Landing. It is called The Franklin Fountain. I will definitely recommend this place to you guys. Their ice cream is really good. I just want to warn you guys that their ice cream sizes are huge. Once we ordered a large ice cream and we couldn’t finish half of it. We were FOUR people!!!
Recently my friend, Amrita and I were eating at Banana Leaf. We both are foodie and like to try new dishes! Something in the dessert section caught my eyes. It was fried ice cream! So we ordered it. I didn’t know what to expect…It was a vanilla ice cream covered with flour batter and deep fried! They served it with fried banana…It was worth one try…:)
Now a days ice cream has become a lot cheaper and available during all seasons but I will always cherish my childhood ice cream memories!