May 28, 2008

Ice Cream Truck Organized For Indian Orphans

I recently read a small but heartwarming news article. It didn't make the national headlines and there was no big fuss made about it but it was the kind of charitable act that warms the heart and I wanted to share it with my readers.

Jesse Oddy was born and raised in India but now lives in Cumbria (England, UK). Whilst on a holiday in India, she visted an orphanage and was so struck by the poor quality of life of some of the children that, on returning home, she determined to raise money to help those same children. "Curry Aid" as she calls it has since raised around $40,000.

This year a donation was made by a British couple who specifically asked if the money could be used to give the children some ice cream. So Jesse dutifully organized for an ice cream truck to visit the orphanage one evening - to the absolute joy of about 40 children who had never tasted ice cream before!

"They all lined up to experience for the first time the taste of ice cream. They had never eaten anything so cold before. "

You can read the full story here

Now that's what I call an unusual charitable donation! Long live the magic of the ice cream truck.

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May 24, 2008

Memorial Day & Barbecue Recipes

The last weekend of May is a long holiday weekend in many countries - but interestingly enough for different reasons.

For example, in the USA the last Monday in May is known as "Memorial Day" - an official national holiday to commemorate US men and women who have died in military service. This year the holiday is on Monday 26 May - a day when many Americans will also get out the barbecue sets because the holiday is also widely recognised as the "official" start to the barbecue season. It is the end of May after all and the weather is usually ideally suited to families and friends getting together.

There will probably be a few barbecues in the UK as well as it's a holiday weekend there - but for an entirely different reason. The last Sunday in May is called "Whitsun" or "Whit Sunday" (another term for Pentecost, a prominent feast in the Christian liturgical year). The term apparently derives from the Middle English term "whitsonday" and Olde English "hwīta sunnandæg" which means White Sunday.

So if you live in a part of the world where any of these celebrations and holidays are taking place this weekend, you are very likely getting together with other people - being invited out to dinner by friends or family or possibly playing host yourself with a barbecue or even a formal cooked dinner. If you are looking for some recipe ideas, here is a great resource for fish and seafood dishes. For dessert you might like to try a light and fruity ice cream sorbet. My lemon sorbet is easy to make yet deliciously refreshing on a summer's day.

Whatever you do this holiday weekend and whether you are cooking or not, try and enjoy your time with family and friends. After all, "these are the days of our lives" ....

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May 14, 2008

Ice Cream Sodas

Say the words "Ice Cream Soda" to most people and instantly it will transport them to a different world! It could be fond childhood memories or a favorite movie memory or simply that they have always loved an ice cream soda and will never tire of it.

Apparently it's not clear who exactly came up with the idea of mixing ice cream with carbonated water or soft drink but it's probably 1 of 2 people - Fred Sanders (Detroit, USA) or Robert M Green (Philadelphia), both back in the 1870's. Whether either of them knew the 'science' of why the combination works so well is not clear, but, as I understand it, when you mix ice cream with carbonated water or a carbonated drink, a scientific reaction takes place triggering the creation of large bubbles of carbon dioxide.

One of the first, popular ice cream sodas was the Boston Cooler - a mixture of vanilla ice cream and ginger ale and believed to have been served as far back as the 1880's in Detroit. I must admit that the flavors of vanilla and ginger do blend together well so it's not surprising this ice cream soda was a favorite for many people.

The ice cream soda became so popular at one time in fact that it's claimed it was banned in some parts of the USA on 'holy days' and lead to what we now refer to as the ice cream sundae. Which leads me onto another term that I love! I have always enjoyed making ice cream sundaes and my dear old Dad's favorite is the Knickerbocker Glory. Follow the link to see how I make my favorite one, called 'Shelagh's Knickerbocker Glory'.

Ice cream is such a fascinating subject then I never tire reading about its many facets. If you're like me and find this sort of thing interesting you might like to read more on Wikipedia - ice cream soda page ~ Knickerbocker Glory page.

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May 2, 2008

Ice Cream & Bluebells For May Day

As this wonderful picture (courtesy of my good friend Mary Spain) shows, the bluebell woods are blossoming at the moment which, hopefully, means that summer is just around the corner. The approaching May Day holiday is of course an affirmation of that - according to tradition, the celebration of May Day is to mark the beginning of summer.

Believed to have originated in Roman times when there was a festival of Flora (Roman goddess of flowers & fruit), May Day affords us all the opportunity of appreciating the wonderful world around us.

Here are two suggestions of how to celebrate flowers and fruit over this May Day holiday weekend:

  • Flowers - venture out into the countryside if you can with family or friends. Find a bluebell wood perhaps or visit a special country garden open to the public.

  • Fruit - after your refreshing day out in the country, return home to makesome delicious homemade ice cream. Try one of my top 10 ice cream recipes such as Butter Pecan Ice Cream.

Whatever you do over this holiday weekend, if possible take a little time to relax and appreciate the world around you and the people closest to you. After all, that what celebrations are for!

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