It’s one of those things I’ve been pining after for as long as I can remember. I hadn’t even used an ice cream maker before I went to culinary school, and there tried out both high (no freezer necessary; the machine does it all) and low (rock salt, ice, outside) machines. It didn’t seem to matter all that much which machine we used—the results were always smooth, luscious ice cream. Maybe this is because all ice cream makers are created equal and you either pay more or less, or maybe it’s because any ice cream with the words “ice cream” in the name makes me happy.

Here’s what I knew when I bought my machine: I wasn’t going to spend much, and I didn’t want it taking up a lot of space. I love the old fashioned looking machines, wooden with a crank you can use for about two minutes until the novelty wears off and you plug it in. They’re so Waltons-esque. But dealing with the salt and the ice up here where we have no ice maker other than cube trays negated the romance of that machine.

I went to one of my favorite sites for kitchen gadget comparisons and went for their recommendation on an inexpensive machine that makes great ice cream. Their only drawback on the Cuisinart Ice Cream, Sorbet and Frozen Yogurt Maker was that the ice cream comes out a touch soft and may need additional freezing, depending on how hard you like it. That bothers me not at all. I was always the kid who stirred my bowl of ice cream until it was soft and smooth—still frozen, but less cold and hard—every time before I ate it anyway.

Receiving the machine was like getting bonked in the head. Why’d I wait so long to get one? It was so not a big deal selecting then buying an ice cream maker, especially when the stakes ($50) weren’t that high.

Must be I enjoyed the pining after, the longing, the “someday I’ll do it.” Little did I know that couldn’t hold a candle to churning out small batches of what my nephew calls “free ice cream!” on a whim.

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