The rituals of summer

I’m starting to write this blog while sitting on my deck and listening to the “Amazing” Worthington City Band concert going on across the street in Chautauqua Park. I’m sure the concert will be over long before I’m done writing, as I likely won’t finish this until tomorrow.

But the concert on the first official day of summer sparked some thoughts about summer rituals, and I wanted to get them down before I lose the train of thought.

The weekly Wednesday night band concerts were always a summer ritual for my parents, and consequently we Rickers siblings. As a youngster, I would play in the park and ponder what candy to purchase from the popcorn wagon while the music was background noise. Both my sister and brother played in the city band during their teenage years; I did not follow through with that tradition, as I did not like the clarinet, the instrument I inherited from my sister and thus gave up before I made the transition from junior high to high school.

My parents, Don and Dorthy, usually made the trek to the band concert on their bicycle built for two — another summer ritual. In fact, I pretty much learned to ride a bike by pedaling from the back seat, Daddon at the helm.

As a kid, perhaps my favorite summer ritual was stopping for ice cream at one of the local drive-ins. I know that a recent post on the “Growing Up in Worthington” Facebook site sparked a debate about which establishment, the Dairy Queen or the Dairy Freeze, was the most frequented.

However, the place I remember best is Karley’s Drive-In, an easy stop for those circumnavigating Lake Okabena back in the 1970s. I particularly remember the twist cones — not just the classic vanilla/chocolate variety, but a different flavor offered every few days. My favorite was vanilla/lime. Yum.
(BTW — the band is now playing the Star-Spangled Banner, so the concert is at an end, but not so this blog.)

A few weeks ago, a similarly tart-sweet frozen concoction tickled my fancy. On one of our Jeep forays through the Iowa Great Lakes, Hubby Bryan and I stopped at a food truck, and I couldn’t resist sampling the strawberry-rhubarb ice cream. It got me thinking: Could I concoct something similar?

The thought stuck with me for a few days, and finally I bought some strawberries. Alas, my rhubarb patch was buried by a concrete driveway a number of years ago, and I could not come up with a source for some tart stalks. So I decided to settle for fresh strawberry ice cream. As the base, I used a longtime favorite concoction from DotMom’s “Mixing & Musing Cookbook” and altered it for berries instead of citrusy flavors in the original. My only regret is that I used half and half instead of whipping cream. If you’re going to make this, go for the full-blown indulgence factor of the whipping cream. It does make a difference.

(Note: This ice cream recipe does contain raw eggs. If you are worried about that, seek out pasteurized eggs or utilize powdered egg whites and leave out the yolks. The beaten whites do add a fluffy texture to the ice cream.)

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

16 ounces fresh strawberries, caps removed and slicedFullSizeRender (15)

1 cup sugar

¼ cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla.

2 eggs, separated

1 pint whipping cream (not whipped!)

Whole milk (about 2 cups)

In a food processor or blender, puree the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Add the vanilla and egg yolks, stirring thoroughly to combine.

Beat egg whites until stiff.

In a large bowl, combine the strawberry mixture and whipping cream. Carefully fold in the egg whites.

Pour mixture into the bowl of the ice cream maker, adding enough whole milk so it’s two-thirds full or to the fill line. (My ice cream maker is a small model, so I processed it in 2 batches.)

Once processed, transfer ice cream to a freezer container and chill until fully frozen.,



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