Old Lemon Water Ice Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, May 25, 1912: Today was clean-up and get things ready for an expected guest who didn’t come after all. That seems to be the luck.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Who might the anticipated guest have been?  . . . Relatives? . . . Friends of Grandma’s parents? No-shows with no explanation probably were much more common in the days before cell phones and text messages. (And, the Muffly’s didn’t even have a landline phone.)

I wonder if they made any desserts in anticipation of the guests. Old-fashioned Water Ice would have been good on a hot spring day. I’m going to share a recipe for Lemon Water Ice that  I found in a hundred-year-old cookbook.

Lemon Water Ice

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

4 egg whites

Grated rind of 1 lemon

Juice of 3 lemons

Boil sugar and water; cool. Add egg whites beaten until stiff, grated lemon rind, lemon juice. Freeze in ice cream freezer.

(Just to be safe, I used pasteurized egg whites.)

Adapted from Lowneys’ Cook Book, Revised (1912)

The Lemon Water Ice was refreshingly tart and wonderful on a hot day. I’ll make it again—though will double the recipe because it didn’t make very much.

Hand-cranked ice cream freezers were popular a hundred-years and there are lots of delicious-looking frozen dessert recipes in old cookbooks. I plan to try a few more this summer.

9 Responses

  1. That sounds yummy. I may have to try that out with my ice cream maker.

  2. My mother made something like this when I was little, but I don’t think she even used a recipe.

  3. Oh my goodness, that looks tasty…

  4. Today was our first really hot muggy day. So your post really hit the spot. I’m sure I’ll be tempted to try this recipe during this summer. I find that in different places where I have lived, some groups seem to think that just dropping in unannounced is standard practice, and in other places a time to be expected is set before hand. Since I’m pretty much housebound I know what a frustration it is to expect someone and not have them show up…especially when there is a lot of work to be done. And it sounds like your Grandmother was a woman with a lot of work to take care of to keep things in order.

    • It is frustrating when someone doesn’t show! When I was a child growing up on a farm, it seemed like people considered it neighborly to drop by unannounced. But, after I moved to less rural areas, it seemed like people thought it was impolite to just stop by.

      • I think you’re right, Sheryl. I think that on a farm everyone is on basically the same schedule…up at dawn and so forth. In town, everyone has different schedules and so it could prove inconvenient to just drop in unannounced.

  5. The Lemon Water Ice sounds like a wonderful idea for a hot summers day Sheryl. Even though the expected guests didn’t show up, at least the house was clean! :)

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