Made Ice Cream

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

Sunday, August 2, 1914:  Went to Sunday school this morning.Besse and Curt came out towards evening. They brought ice and we made ice cream.

I couldn't find an old photo of chocolate ice cream, but here's a picture of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce that was in Lowney's Cookbook (1912).

I couldn’t find an old photo of chocolate ice cream, but here’s a picture of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce that was in Lowney’s Cookbook (1912). See this recipe in a previous post: Hundred-year-old Recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce.

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

mmm. . . Ice cream and cake sound good.

It’s weird, but I have a vague sense of changing technology and transportation across the 3 1/2 years that I’ve been posting the diary entries.

Grandma’s family often made ice cream on Sundays when her married sister Besse and her husband Curt came to visit. However, I think this is the first time they had ice cream during the summer.

In the past they always made it during the winter when ice was readily available. I think that they got the ice out of animal watering troughs or from the creek. For example, on January 22, 1911 Grandma wrote:

Went to Sunday school and church this morning. Made ice cream. That is my sister made it and I assisted. I got the ice. Besse and Curt came out this evening. Just when Ruth and I were having a little spat all to ourselves.

(Grandma sometimes had ice cream during the summer at a festival—and once at a friend’s home— but never at home.)

Besse and Curt lived in nearby Watsontown. My take is that technology and transportation were changing—and that it was easier (or at least less expensive) to get ice during the summer months in 1914 than had been back in 1911.

24 Responses

  1. Love this entry as Helena sounds happy with life.

  2. Great observation about the changing technology.

  3. I believe I will make some this week.

  4. Some of my earliest memories are of having an “ice box” to store perishables, and even after we got a refrigerator we referred to it as an icebox.

    I checked Wikipedia for “ice” and it has a nice history showing that it was harvested and stored as early as 400 BC. Storing ice throughout a summer may seem hard to do but the secret is not merely in the insulating properties of containment, but in geometry. Simply put, the larger the volume of a mass the less the ratio of the surface area is in relation to it, and ice melts only at its surface.

    I believe that early ice storage typically was in underground cellars lined with straw.

  5. Mmmmm, my friend took me to a new ice cream place yesterday where they make their own ice cream. I had Maple/Pecan and she had Salted Caramel… MMMMMMMM
    Diana xo

  6. I remember sitting on my best friends porch waiting for the iceman to give us a couple of pieces when he delivered to her mother. (My mother was lucky to have a refrigerator.) It was my Uncle Emil who owned the ice company. I have often wondered about the details of the ice house where he stored his ice once it was collected in the winter. I suppose I’ll be learning more about it as I proceed with writing “My Father’s House.”

    • Ice companies played such an important role years ago. Your uncle’s story sounds interesting, and like it might add interesting contextual information to “My Father’s House.”. The History Channel webpage has some information about an entrepreneur in MA who harvested ice and shipped it around the world.

      • I don’t know what happened to my earlier thank you for caring about “My Father’s House,” but thanks again for the link. Fascinating story! Ending about 1930 – just about right in family history. Based on our story, people obviously didn’t go immediately to electricity. The ice delivery to my best friend’s house had to go well into the mid 1930s.

  7. It’s fun to make ice cream :)

  8. Interesting observation about ice being more readily available. Sounds like a fun family gathering.

    • One of my best memories of a gathering that I really enjoyed was time time we made homemade ice cream, and everyone took a turn turning the crank.

  9. That’s great she got ice cream in the summer when it tastes the yummiest in hot weather!

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