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Churning for some homemade ice cream
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With fresh peaches now arriving at produce markets around the region, I thought it was time for a churn of fresh peach ice cream.

This is also the time for a fresh tomato sandwich.

The latter of these is much easier to accomplish by purchasing a fresh loaf of white bread and a jar of Duke’s Mayonnaise.

The original Duke was Eugenia Duke of Greenville, S.C. She performed the miracle of turning lemons and egg whites into a wonderful fluffy sandwich topping. In this sense, the word “miracle” should not be confused with “Miracle Whip,” which is just plain awful and not miraculous.

There has always been a place in my heart for homemade ice cream. About this time of year, there usually was a night during the revival week at church where several non-sinning, well-confessed men would produce a few churns of ice cream in time for the end of that evening’s revival service.

It was important for all those who were in need of spiritual revival to be in the service.

The men responsible for ice cream-making would stand and hand-crank the concoction that most often had been prepared by their dutiful wives. While church folks shouldn’t be given to prideful acts like boasting and bragging, a good churn of ice cream did the bragging for them.

After the last verse of “Just as I am” was finished, folks began making their way to the fellowship hall where the ice cream was just being opened up for serving. There were only six verses of “Just as I am” in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal, but most good revival preachers would have them repeated at least twice. So after 12 rounds of “Just as I am,” we dashed off for ice cream.

When my thoughts turned to homemade ice cream, I found one problem: We did not own an ice cream churn.

I went to a big box store and found that the current popular model resembles the kind of trashcan you would put in your home bathroom. It has an electric motor that comes in colors like pink and vanilla.

It was sad.

I wanted one like the old days with an oak churn held together by hoops, like a barrel.

I found one. It was genuine all the way down to the hand crank. The retail price was $200. I did not buy it.

I was about to give up on my quest when we went to another big box store and there at the end of an aisle was a replica of the churn of my dreams: An oak-looking bucket powered by an electric motor. I thought some Indiana craftsman who makes old oaken buckets certainly must have made it. It was not. Laborers in a Chinese factory made it.

If you buy all of the very rich ingredients that are recommended for peach ice cream, plus the cost of the Chinese-made ice cream churn, this gallon of ice cream is going to cost about $60.

You can buy a lot of store-bought ice cream at the supermarket for $60, but when you’re through with it, there is no material left for your newspaper column.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on

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