July is the perfect month to be known as Ice Cream Month. The hot sticky temperatures certainly lend themselves to the consumption of ice cream.
I grew up in a community that had an independent ice cream manufacturer. Many in the community were employed by this company. They did not sell ice cream by retail, but you could make arrangements to pick up a large quantity of ice cream for an event, and they would pack it with dry ice for travel.
One of my favorite flavors was a lemon cream that they only made in the summer months. Grandma always brought some home when she did her grocery shopping. There was a wonderful lemony tang as well as a creamy smooth texture. That was the only company that I ever remember making that flavor of ice cream.
We tried to buy local even back then to support the industry that helped support members of the community. People think of that concept as something new and inventive. It is hardly that. We supported the farm community too, purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables from roadside stands.
A short ride to the country yielded delicious cantaloupe in season as well as strawberries, cherries, peaches and grapes.
The local ice cream plant also sold all of the boxed confections that were so popular. They sold popsicles, with two sticks, fudgsicles, creamsicles, and ice cream suckers coated with chocolate. These were offered in the grocery store by the box or at the corner stores one treat at a time.
My friends and I often walked to the corner store for an icy treat. I usually bought a popsicle or fudgsicle because they were cheaper than the other treats and that was often all the money I had. You could get a popsicle for five cents. I believe the creamsicles and ice cream suckers were a dime. Sometimes we roller skated to the store. That meant we had to take our skate key with us because we had to remove the skates to go into the store.
When I moved to the area that I have called home for more than 40 years I found another ice cream company that was local. Walker's Dairy was known for its IXL ice cream. My husband and his family sent their milk to that dairy so we were allowed a discount on any large amounts of ice cream purchased.
When the Sunday school picnic rolled around tubs of ice cream were ordered. They came packed with dry ice. Yes, the ice cream was even delivered on Sunday if it happened to be a day that the milk was picked up.
There used to be a club known as the Friendly Neighbor Club. The women in the community got together once a month for fun. Some of the former members were later in nursing homes so we took cookies and ice cream to treat them and their friends. Once again we ordered the ice cream from Walker's.
During the Pine Grove Township bicentennial celebration I did some features on industries with community ties. By then the Walker family lived in the township so that was one of my featured pieces. My husband and I visited with Bill and Kay Walker to get information about the dairy as well as the ice cream portion of the business. I called to make arrangements for the interview so the Walkers had time to gather memorabilia. They had milk bottles with their logo, bottle caps, premium glasses and rulers, but the most unique thing we saw were the ice cream molds. Mr. Walker gave me a small pamphlet about their ice cream seasonal treats that I still have in my files. That was one of the most unique interviews I ever did since my husband and his family had such a direct connection.
When I think about ice cream today I think about having to read all of the labels to find out exactly what I am buying. To be competitive they have removed some of the fat and fluffed the product up so that you get less by volume. The size of the package has changed as well. The price has not gone up, but the size of the package is smaller.
Now for some interesting facts that I found: It is said that it takes 50 licks to polish off a single dip ice cream cone, but who can stop at a single scoop? It takes 12 pounds of milk to make a gallon of ice cream. There is something called flavorology. According to the flavor of ice cream you choose, you reveal something about your personality. As I read these they all sounded positive so I guess eating ice cream of any flavor is good.
Cones and dishes are the most popular way to eat ice cream. Sundaes are also popular with hot fudge topping the charts.
Around here we like ice cream floats with root beer, orange or cherry pop. My children remember grandma serving many floats out on her porch after barn chores were done. They even remember the tall thin glasses she used.
When I fed the hayers ice cream was a popular dessert. When I served I cream I usually served cookies to go with it. If the day had not been too hot and humid I would serve homemade cookies, but I always had a package of store-bought ones in the freezer in case it was too hot to bake.
I know that one of the popular diet plans does not include ice cream as a serving from the milk group, but considering that it takes so much milk to make a gallon maybe they need to reconsider their guidelines. Of course, ice cream cannot be your only serving from the milk group.
Stop at an ice cream stand or scoop up some at home. Either way ice cream is a favorite American treat any time of the year.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa.