Homemade Ice Cream
with a bunkbed and chest in it, another,
smaller and square with two single beds
and a dresser, and the last room was larger
and rectangular. We called that "our"
living room. Along each wall just below
the ceiling were several 3' X 3' window
encasements, each at ground level and
each frame had a turn-latch to open a
window inward, allowing a breeze to
channel its way through the narrow
spaces, fill the rooms and continue out
the cubby holes to the front of the house.
The fragrance of jasmine, gardenia, and
fresh cut lawn came through from the
backyard. The aroma of baked bread,
plum jam stewing, and bacon simmering
in a pot of navy beans made their way
down the furnace vents from the kitchen
There was no other place in the world I
would have rather been than my grandparent's
basement during those summers.
If I got out of bed early enough in the
morning, just before the sun peeked over
the fence along the alley, I could perch
myself on a jelly jar crate, rest my arms on
the window sill, my chin on the back of
my hands, peer eye level across the backyard
and feel the day come alive. I could
hear the hum of a far off highway, birds
singing from all directions, and the quickened
step of my grandmother across the
kitchen linoleum above.
It was now a little after eleven in the
morning. The breakfast dishes had been
cleared and I had long ago left my perch
in the basement and had parked myself at
the kitchen table. I was pushing a spoon
in between the blue diamond pattern on
the table cloth. Mom was preparing her
fresh apple cake. I stopped the spoon at
an intersection between the sugar bowl
and salt shaker to watch while she worked
fervently. She was humming Rock of Ages
and every so often talking to herself.
"Let's see . . . a dash of cinnamon . . . a
pinch of salt . . . a smidgen of baking
soda, a few pecans, a couple a helpings of
flour . . . a lick of vanilla . . . a little oil
. . . and two thingamajigs of sugar . . .
and now just what you apples have been
She flipped the quartered apples into
the batter, stirred several times, poured it
all in a pan, and popped it in the oven. It
wasn't long before the entire house was
filled with the smell of apple, vanilla and
cinnamon. You could now hear Dad's
heavier step coming toward the kitchen.
"Ernest Verne, you better get hoppin' if
you want your ice cream done by sunset.
That was some storm, huh? I thought the
lightning and thunder were going to take
the roof off. Did you call Clinton to take
a look at the leak in the basement?
There's your rock salt on top of the refrigerator."
I revved up the spoon, moved
it past the pepper mill, screeched it to a
halt, jumped out of my chair and scurried
down the back stairs to my retreat in the
basement. "Verne, if you put that much
sugar in there, you'll churn it to candy!"
As I reached the landing I could hear him
walking from where the cannisters were
to where he had set his mixing bowl.
"Ahhh. .. dadburn it Bertha, one more
cup wont' hurt nothin'." Homemade ice
cream was Dad's second favorite love in
the universe. His first favorite stood by
his side every step of the way.
Robert V. Davis is a free lance writer
from Austin, Texas.
Verne's Homemade Ice Cream
21/2 cups sugar (less if you like it not as sweet)
2 cans Eagle brand milk
8 eggs (separated)
2 Tbls. vanilla
21/2 pints whipping cream (Do not whip)
Combine and blend well sugar, Eagle brand
milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and whipping cream.
Whip egg whites to smooth consistency and
fold lightly into mixture. Pour ingredients into
standard ice cream maker (hand chur or
electric) and add milk to fill mark. Follow directions
for your ice cream maker's mixing
time. Fruit may be added during mixing.
Bertha's Fresh Apple Cake
(Hand mix all ingredients)
4 to 6 diced apples, peeled and cored
(squeeze lemon over diced apples)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup oil
Combine these ingredients in a large mixing
1 cup pecans or walnuts
2 eggs (slightly beaten)
2 tsp. vanilla
Mix thoroughly and add to apple mixture
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Combine dry ingredients and sift into apple
mixture. Blend until smooth.
Lightly grease and flour baking pans. This one
does well in a bundt pan. Bake at 325 for 1
hour. Can be served with fresh whipped cream
Bertha L. Black and Ernest V. Davis
were married in 1909. The recipes they
accumulated during their 63 years together
were passed on to their family.
HERITAGE would like to share with our
readers recipes having the flavor of previous
generations. If you would like to share
a recipe with our readers, please send it to
HERITAGE, c/o Food Editor; P.O. Box
12243, Austin, Texas 78711.
Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 4, Number 2, Fall 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45442/. Accessed June 1, 2015.