Yesterday we had our first major snowfall in several years; it amounted to about four inches of snow here at the house. The snow was so perfect--light, powdery, fine-grained--that I made my first 21st century bowl of snow ice cream this morning. Couldn’t wait until after breakfast, because I didn’t want to chance the snow softening or turning mushy as the day warmed. The recipe may have been a bit different from my childhood--fat-free Smart Milk, splenda, and vanilla flavoring--but the taste and the memories were exactly the same.My memories of my first bowl of snow ice cream are vivid but imprecise. I know we lived on Plymouth Road in Garden Lakes prior to Kimberly's birth, which dates it somewhere between 1959 and 1961. My guess would be the winter of 1960, which was cold and snowy. Regardless of when it was, I remember the event itself because it struck me as so amazing: ice cream was falling from the sky!
I know now that it was only snowflakes that fell from the sky, but it seemed miraculous to me that Mom could take something that fell out of the sky, add a few things that we always had in our house (milk, sugar, and vanilla) and come up with ice cream unlike any that I had ever tasted until that time. And what made doubly miraculous was that, when we finished up that bowl, Mom was able to go outside, gather more snow, and make more ice cream!
There was something about that ice cream--its slight soupiness combined with a grain that made it creak against my teeth when I took my first bite--that made it a unique treat. I appreciated it even more because I knew even then that this wasn't something I could have whenever I wanted; it was a treat that could only exist when the weather was just right, and in Georgia that was quite rare indeed.
I've had snow ice cream maybe a half dozen to a dozen more times since that day--and every time, I still remember my childhood amazement as mother turned snow into ice cream before my very eyes!
Others make richer snow ice cream, adding condensed milk, eggs, or other extra ingredients. Perhaps it makes for creamier snow ice cream, but it's not the snow ice cream I grew up with.