18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Sunday, March 1, 1914:
March comes in like a howling lion,
How it goes out, I do not know.
This month at least is a howler,
Or the beginning is for the winds do blow (fiercely).
Went to Sunday School this morning. This afternoon it began to get pretty breezy and by now the winds are howling to beat the band. We had ice cream. Whether attracted by the scent or not, Besse and Curt came out. Besse usually manages to get out when we have ice cream.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Besse and Curt Hester were Grandma’s married sister and her husband. They lived in nearby Watsontown.
Throughout the diary, the Muffly’s made ice cream once or twice each winter. Today we think of ice cream as a warm weather food—but I guess in the days before refrigeration that maybe it was a cold weather food. It would have been easier to get the ice needed to make ice cream during the winter months.
What kind of ice cream did they make? Maybe they made Black Walnut Ice Cream. The previous fall Grandma gathered nuts after they fell from the trees—and Black Walnut is an awesome old-fashioned ice cream flavor.
Black Walnut Ice Cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups half and half
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla
1 cup chopped black walnuts
In a saucepan combine sugar, flour and salt. Stir in 1/2 of the half and half (2 cups). Stir and cook over moderate heat until thickened. Cook 2 minutes more. Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the eggs, and then add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook 1 additional minute. Remove from heat; add vanilla and additional half and half. Strain to remove any lumps. Chill for several hours. Stir in black walnuts before putting into ice cream freezer.
Follow freezer directions to make ice cream.
Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts. Recipe may be doubled or tripled for larger freezers.
This ice cream turned out wonderfully—and my husband says that I should have doubled the recipe because it didn’t last long enough.
This is one of my favorite uses of black walnuts. The coldness of the ice cream and the robust flavor of the walnuts combine to create a wonderful taste treat.
The first day of each month Grandma included a poem in the diary. For more information see, the following post: