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Archive for the ‘ice cream’ Category

Here’s another ice cream recipe, and one that is quite different from the earlier recipe for Perfect Vanilla Ice Cream. This one has no cream or eggs but uses gelatine (read more about how it is produced from animal parts here) and custard powder (which I’ve commented on here).

It also calls for the use of an ice cream churner. I wonder how many Singaporean families in the 1950s had one of those? Unlike the modern electric ice cream makers, traditional ice cream churners would most likely have been like this one. As Wikipedia explains,

These machines usually comprise an outer bowl and a smaller inner bowl with a hand-cranked mechanism which turns a paddle, sometimes called a dasher, to stir the mixture. The outer bowl is filled with a freezing mixture of salt and ice: the addition of salt to the ice causes freezing-point depression; as the salt melts the ice, its heat of fusion allows it to absorb heat from the ice cream mixture, freezing the ice cream.

The churners available in Singapore were quite possibly very similar to the ones available in India. The Tribune from Chandigarh tells us that

In India, ice cream was initially made at home from pure buffalo milk. By the turn of the 18th Century, an ice cream machine was developed for home use. You can still buy the stuff. It’s a wooden bucket with a central aluminum jar and a churner. For preparing ice cream in the machine, you have to put milk, essence and sugar in the jar. This container is then placed in the bucket full of ice and a little salt. After churning for about 45 minutes, the ice cream is ready. Though not as smooth as the one available in the market, it is delicious.

Like the Indian news article, grandma’s recipe calls for the addition of ‘flavouring essence’. Indeed, a Google search of ‘flavouring essence’ throws up mostly manufacturers in India. The flavours could be lemon, strawberry, mango, almond etc. A visit to a specialist baking supplies store should provide you with these items.

Ice Cream

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I was just saying, I knew grandma had a recipe for ice cream somewhere… :)

This is another one of the many McCall’s recipes grandmother wrote down. Check out the rest here.

In my previous posting, I wrote a little bit about the background of commercial ice cream. I was surprised to discover the wide range and easy availability of commercially-produced ice cream by Cold Storage in Singapore as early as the mid-1920s!

My grandmother enjoyed ice cream very much and we usually had a tub in the fridge, but for grandma, it always had to be served very very cold and hard. Melting and soft scoop ice cream gave her indigestion she said. Mocha and coffee were her favourite flavours.

Most ice cream recipes I have come across involve taking it out of the freezer at intervals for beating several times. This recipe has a special trick for making “smooth as velvet” ice cream without the need for re-beating! This tip for saving time and energy would have been very welcome for busy housewives :).

The history of housework and technology in the twentieth century is largely about the amount of manpower needed to maintain the desired lifestyle for a household (such as eating fancy stuff like ice-cream). As technology historian, Ruth Schwartz Cowan, writes in More Work for Mother: The Ironies of Household Technology from the Open Hearth to the Microwave, new technology didn’t necessarily eliminate the need for human domestic helpers for housewives. In colonial Malaya (or present-day Singapore/Malaysia), modern technology or not, paid household help was, and still is, very common.

Vanilla Ice Cream

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This is one of the only pie recipes here with instructions for making the pie shell. It’s basically a shortcrust pastry using vegetable shortening (such as Crisco, see my comments here.)

Giveaway sign of an American recipe: the word ‘Jell-O’. In Singapore, we’ve always followed the British usage – ‘jelly’.

Also, the inclusion of vanilla ice cream. From the sound of it, one is expected to have ready-made commercial ice cream available. I’m amazed to read on this page about the history of ice cream that commercial ice cream production began as early as 1851, in Baltimore, USA. (See also here.) For commercial ice cream to be sold in the tropics, refrigeration was all important, and of course this depended on the generation of electricity. Cold Storage supermarket got its name in the days when refrigerated foodstuffs were something special. As company website says,

Established in 1903, Cold Storage was the child of the Industrial Revolution and Pax Britannica, when Singapore was the “Clapham Junction of the Eastern Seas”. Together with electricity and refrigeration, it allowed European agents of change – the colonial civil servants, merchants, miners, planters, traders – to acclimatise to living in the tropics. It can thus be said that if there were no Cold Storage the modern history of Singapore would probably be quite different.

As early as the 1920s, Cold Storage in Singapore was already mass producing ice cream for sale, not just at its own retail outlets, but also at local provision stores and cafes. You can see from the following ads (published in the Malaya Tribune newspaper in from 1925 to 1929) the names of places where Cold Storage ice cream was available, as well as the fact that there were many varieties including Eskimo Pie (1925), Neapolitan (1929), and vanilla, strawberry, lemon, coffee, tutti-frutti, pineapple, banana, maple nut, raspberry, cherry nut, chocolate and fruit salad flavours (1929)!!

Cold Storage ice cream 1925

Cold Storage ice cream 1925 B

Cold Storage ice cream 1929

No wonder grandma always had a penchant for cassata ice-cream, layers of different flavoured ice-cream a bit like Neapolitan. As a child in the 1970s, I remember she would always order cassata for dessert (and I hated the bits of fruit inside the layers :P — only peach melba no nuts no cream for me, thank you).

I’m sure grandmother has a recipe for ice cream somewhere in her notebook…. and here it is :).

Date Nut Parfait A
Date Nut Parfait B

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