Summerscream 2006

Last night was the 2nd annual Summerscream, a backyard balcony bash for which we require our guests to arrive hungry for ice cream and ready to work. Yes, you heard right, we put our guests to work churning their own ice cream.

Each year we’re faced with a difficult decision: Do we offer plain ice cream with a toppings smorgasbord or a fancier flavour with fewer/no toppings? (And no, you can’t have a fancy flavour and many toppings in my world.) These first two years, we’ve opted for the former both because I’m a bit of a purist and because plain ice cream seems – if not the most likeable – the least offensive. Plus, as I was reminded, vanilla’s a flavour too.

The tried and true Lutz family vanilla ice cream recipe contains (in descending order of quantity, but not importance) milk, cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. To kick the flavour up a notch (and because I love the little black specks), I deviated slightly this year and substituted vanilla bean for vanilla extract.

Topping options – of which I delightedly partook of all – included fudge sauce, caramel sauce, brownie bits, crumbled Willowcrisps, chocolate-covered mints, fresh sliced strawberries, peanuts, toasted coconut and maraschino cherries. (Thanks to K. for the Willowcrisp and mint additions.) Based on what was left in the bowls at the end of the evening, I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. Strawberries were the most popular topping for the second year in a row.

  2. All things chocolate were a close second.

  3. People can take or leave peanuts and toasted coconut, or at least only want small quantities of them.

  4. Maraschino cherries are too fluorescent to be appealing.

  5. Caramel sauce is, surprisingly, not a crowd favourite. Although, as K. so presciently remarked: “People think they don’t like caramel sauce on ice cream, but they really do if they would just try it!”

So Summerscream has come and gone once again and our ice cream maker, having done its annual duty, is back in the closet preparing for winter hibernation. Thanks to Mother Nature for holding off on the rain until our last guest had left for home and thanks to all the usual suspects who were in attendance and made this year’s Summerscream a real scream, indeed.

Until next year.