Just six months ago I was dreaming of summer sunshine, and now I am skulking around in the shadows with the garden hose, swatting at mosquitoes, as I water the hydrangeas and fill the birdbaths first thing in the morning, before the sun gets high. Luke the wonder dog and I walked at eight this morning, and it was already 81°. Sometimes I ask Alexa what the temperature is in places I’d rather be: London is 65° right now.
I bought some popsicles yesterday. Things are never as glorious we remember them from childhood. I remember sticky streams of orange goo running down my arm to my elbow as I sat on the front steps eating a dripping, sweet and cold popsicle. What a treat! Popsicles were hard to wheedle out of my mother. Money for something from the Good Humor truck was even more infrequent. Sometimes I would find a nice stash of quarters in the sofa cushions to buy a sweet Good Humor confection when that Pied Piper truck tooled slowly down the street, ringing bells, luring the other children out from their back yards. We’d stand on the corner assessing everyone’s budget and ice cream novelty choices: cups, cones, sticks, ices, toasted almond, chocolate eclairs, push pops, creamsicles, strawberry shortcake, ice cream sandwiches. It was an American version of Willy Wonka.
The popsicles I bought yesterday were grimly labeled. 45 calories! No sugar added! Gluten free! That’s what we have come to: worrying about Non-GMO popsicles. We have gone to hell in a hand basket. It is summer, and it is hot, and we are going to find sweet, sticky, sugar-laden relief.
There are so many disappointment in life – like discovering that you cannot freeze a snowball in December to throw at your brother in July. Between evaporation and elemental physics, and a mother hell-bent on keeping a tidy house, that carefully-wrapped-in-foil snowball will melt away before you can use it. Plus you might have forgotten it was there. There go your well-laid summer plans.
Another grim fact is that homemade ice pops just don’t have the familiar mouth feel of store brands. Get over it. We are defying the weather and crass commercialism. Sometimes homemade is a little wonky, but that is the price we pay for creativity. I imagine that the ice cream first served at Monticello wasn’t at all like the pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherries Garcia you have stashed, but I bet it was still a blessed relief during an 18th century Virginia summer.
Go out and buy fancy silicon molds if you like. I’m going to use paper Dixie cups.
Trigger warning – this recipe uses sugar: https://icecreamfromscratch.com/orange-popsicles/
I suspect that these might be healthy. If you must be that kind of person. https://www.crystalkarges.com/blog/kids-love-these-greek-yogurt-berry-popsicles
Strawberry ice pops can be your summer jam: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a40095287/fruit-popsicles-recipe/
Of course, Martha would weigh in with something for the Fourth of July: https://www.marthastewart.com/907292/red-white-and-blueberry-pops
Here is a veritable compendium of scoopable ice creams: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/ice-creams-sorbets-recipes?
We don’t want to relive our childhoods, except the sweet memories. A little ice cream in a bowl while watching dragonflies darting around the sun-dappled lawn might bring us as close as we care to those hot summer days. Enjoy your Fourth, stay cool.
“Sometimes life is just what it is, and the best you can hope for is ice cream.”
― Abbi Waxman