Let's face it, we all scream for creamy dreamy ice cream in August. Though for some it’s a year round pleasure (or food group). For me, this part of summer represents last licks. I’m not a huge sweet-eater but indulging Memorial through Labor Day is darn right de rigueur. Even if it means a few days of fasting, summer would be a little soulless without ice cream.
My remembrances of ice creams past go way back, to homemade fresh Jersey peach. We used the crank bucket and rock salt during summers down the shore (i.e. Ocean City, New Jersey: a dry town but with homemade fresh peach ice cream who needed booze – especially at ten years old.).
Last fall I worked on the cookbook Ice Cream Adventures, Stef Ferrari’s love letter to ice cream. Stef’s credentials are many but most significantly she’s known for Hay Rosie Craft Ice Cream of Brooklyn. And I was looking forward to it.
The photo shoot was out of town and the schedule was demanding: somewhere between 50 and 60 images during the week-long shoot. Then on Day Two I was blindsided by a full blown, knock down case of the flu. Shivers, fever. The only thing I could manage to get down my throat all week was chicken broth. The smell of those creamy decadent flavors was nauseating. The sticky feel of it dripping off my hands, almost intolerable. I thought my once Proust-like passion for ice cream would never return.
I don’t know how many scoops of cold, sweet, rich, drippy ice cream 50 shots equates to but it’s a lot. And flavor combinations were all over the map from Strawberry Pop Tart and Pale Ale to Tomato Feta Swirl and Cacio e Pepe.
On a cookbook shoot of this size, you can’t go on hiatus for a few days. Too many players, props, ingredients and recipes prepared, plus all of the equipment and the rental space. So the show goes on and the food stylist is typically the driver. You scoop, hope for drips in the right spot, the photographer gets the shot and we all move on to the next. In this case, despite the out-of-bodyness of it all, experience kicked in, my awesome assistant and friend Cindi Gasparre stepped up and we got our pretty shots.
Ice Cream Adventures is a terrific book and there’s no better time to crack it open than now. It’s full of “I want to eat you, lick you” shots and off-the-wall, recipes. It’s a beautiful, deliciously different book. I think the whole team is pretty proud of the work we did.
Fast forward to this summer when my husband, son and I road tripped to Toronto where we find ourselves on Ossington Avenue waiting on an hour-long line for Bang Bang Ice Cream, a local artisanal spot that draws patient crowds of ice cream lovers nightly.
So, I’m not only eating ice cream again but willing to walk the walk and wait the wait to get to the good stuff. (Should any of you Americans scouting a potential move north this election summer find yourselves at Bang Bang, I recommend the orange cardamom in a fresh baked profiterole; it is sooo worth it!).
Stef Ferrari says “Ice cream is optional but always advised”. Whether it’s homemade, a pint of Ample Hills, Thai rolled or a waffle cone from your favorite Pennsylvania dairy farm (hello, Merrymead Farm!), for me summertime just screams ice cream.
Get yours while it’s still hot.
Photos by Tina Rupp & Props by Stephanie Hanes