A little while ago I decided to attempt the creamy and delicious world of frozen-cow-mammary-excretion-making, more commonly referred to as ice cream making. (If you were thinking that I used something from the other end of the cow, seek help fast. Also, look up “mammaries” if you have the chance.) This piece is an account of my experience and the pitfalls that I have encountered.
Making ice cream is a lot like sex: there is a lot of foreplay and only about 5-20 minutes of actual work, depending on consistency. Now, I know it’s been a while for me, but from what I remember about the act of love-making, you need two or more people. The same goes for the ingredients that normally go into ice cream. For those who don’t use people for sex and decide to go the “alternative route” the concept still applies, somewhat.
Sex between two people, it’s beautiful. Between five, it’s fantastic.
– Woody Allen
Ice cream making isn’t just mixing milk and sugar, getting it cold enough to resemble play dough and then eating it. However, if the ice cream you’re making begins to look like play dough, you may have fucked up somewhere and that is saying something, because, unlike sex, making ice cream is — almost — idiot proof.
“Does your wife smoke after sex?”
“Well then you’re not doing it right.”
– Unknown Author
Remember to check the best before date on the ingredients you decided to use in your mix. Alternatively, if you want to just wing it, then here are some checks that could help confirm the safety/suitability of your products.
- The milk should not be lumpy. (Visual check)
- If the milk smells like yogurt, make peace with the fact that you’re making frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. (Olfactory check… Now go and consult Google on “making frozen yogurt”)
*** Warning: When deciding to Google any subject, stay on the first page: anything after that should be viewed in privacy — or on the computer of a co-worker you don’t like***
- The cream should look like cream; if it’s gone lumpy, you’re probably better off making butter instead. (Visual check)
- Eggs, usually two or three will do. Some recipes call for more or fewer eggs, some require only the yolks, some require the whole chicken.
Erotica is using a feather, pornography is using the whole chicken.
- Sugar. Basically, the insect count of your sugar is in direct opposition to the consistency of the ice cream down the line, your personal predilection for bugs notwithstanding. All things being equal, if you somehow find milk, sugar and cream in a survival situation and you make ice cream from all of it, then who am I to critique the texture of your creation?
- Flavour is possibly the most important ingredient in ice cream, from the most “vanilla” of flavours, to the more questionable ones like, orange and toothpaste. I shit you not, I found this rather unique flavour on the internet (and we all know what a bastion of truth and sanity the internet is). For those of you feeling adventurous, consult Google on the more fringe flavours out there. (Refer to the warning above for Google search-related activities. Look for the bright RED font.)
Okay, so now we’ve gone through the basics of what you’ll need. Let’s get to how it’s made. The Discovery Channel show How It’s Made covers this subject very well and in a really cool way too. But unless you’re able to buy what looks to me like a rather large and rocket-science-degree-required-to-operate-this machine, don’t stress. For the amateur ice creamers amongst us, there are more affordable and also easier options available. We will be heading into the Google again for this section. (I am confident that the emotional scarring you’ve worked through by now, thanks largely to searching terms like “frozen yogurt” and “ice cream flavours”, will have helped you learn your lesson. For those slow learners like me, I’ll be writing a piece on things never to Google in the near future. You’re welcome.)
Assuming you’ve found your way to any one of the multitude of ice cream maker suppliers, the one tip I can give you is this — don’t go big. You’re here to learn, not reinvent the wheel. Even the smallest maker will produce more ice cream than any two people should eat in a single sitting.
Now, I know there are those amongst you who are “champion brain-freezers”, but let me burst your bubble right now and save you from learning the hard way. Your first batch of ice cream will very probably taste like sweet frozen milk. Most of the ice cream makers you can buy will come with a set of recipes to get you started, try them out first. Rinse and repeat those recipes until you feel comfortable to start going off-script.
As a parting thought, remember that making ice cream is supposed to be fun, so don’t be afraid to just dive in. If you end up covered in cream and cookies, take a breath and remember that, like having sex or drinking wine, the more you do it, the better it gets…
I’ll try anything once, twice if I like it, three times to make sure.
Good luck !!!