This diary¹ entry intrigued me:
1929 Thursday January 10
Nice day. Roads were drifted full again. LAS met here today. Not very large crowd but not so bad for the roads. Took in over $5. Snow started to blow about 4:30 and had another blizzard all night again. The wind blew just terrible. Francis, Ruth, and Oscar were here and spent the eve. We made ice cream and played cards. Jack Nolte died this noon. Mama is better.
The new year really wreaked havoc on the midwest in 1929. The diary entries for the first two weeks of the year consistently speak of snow, blizzards, blistering cold days, illnesses, and death. Just a few days before this entry, the diarist was supposed to play “for Mrs. McMullen’s funeral but couldn’t get there” for all the snow. But more than seven times in that two week period, they ended the day making ice cream.
It sort of puts life into perspective. Things happen. Days can be difficult. People die. But you visit friends. Play some cards. And have what fun you can.
Here’s a modern version of a recipe they may have used in 1929, in case you’d like to live dangerously and have your own snow ice cream the next time the white stuff accumulates.
Making Simple Vanilla SnowCream
- Chill the following ingredients (and your bowl) in a refrigerator or covered outdoors if you live in a sub-zero climate so the snow does not melt: 1 cup (250 ml) milk, ⅓ cup (80 ml) granulated sugar, 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract, 1 pinch of salt
- Whisk the milk, granulated sugar, vanilla, and salt together in the large bowl.
- Gather about 8 cups (half a gallon) of fresh snow and mix it in immediately with the vanilla mixture. Time is crucial as you do not want the snow to melt. Mix until you have your desired consistency of ice cream. The ice cream should typically be fluffy and not runny.
- Make sure you inspect the snow thoroughly as you don’t want any debris.
Do you wonder how Rose managed during her winters? Who they visited? Who they knew that might have been sick? Or near death? How she could possibly do laundry (and hang it on the line to “dry”) in sub-freezing weather?
And whether or not she liked ice cream?
Perhaps she’ll share some of her secrets with us soon.
¹from The Diaries of Lottie Price, 1914-1986