Vanilla, strawberry, or cicada?
No commercial ice cream equals what my family churned with milk and cream from our cows and eggs from our hens.
Perhaps the long anticipation intensified the flavor. We had to go to town to buy a block of ice, bring it home covered with an old blanket, and run to the barn for cattle salt while my father put the ice in a burlap sack and beat it into small pieces with the flat side of the ax. The half hour or so it took to churn the ice cream by hand seemed like hours. So did the time it had to set before we could eat it.
My mother always made vanilla. We topped it with chocolate syrup or whatever fruit we’d picked: strawberries from our garden, blackberries from fence rows, peaches from our tree. Wonderful.
No one every thought to add cicadas, but that’s what Sparky’s, a local ice cream parlor, did two weeks ago. The 13-year cicadas emerged from the ground and local gourmands gave their recipes to the local newspapers. The crew at Sparky’s like to come up with original flavors, so staff members brought in specimens from their yards, boiled them, and developed a recipe.
The newspaper announced cicada ice cream would be available the next day. I wasn’t tempted, but so many other people were that the flavor sold out immediately. Before capturing cicadas for another batch, Sparky’s checked with the health department. Oddly enough, the local health code doesn’t cover the preparation of cicadas. The department didn’t ban cicada ice cream. It didn’t encourage selling it either.
Sparky’s decided to retire the flavor. I suspect the cicadas harvested from lawns lacked the outstanding flavor of our freshly picked fruit.