Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Calendar -- Holiday Foods

My grandfather was an owner of the Jo-Mar Dairy in Salina, KS, and one of our family's Christmas food traditions stems from that...sort of.  The dairy used pewter ice cream molds to make colorful holiday treats; vanilla ice cream was molded into holiday shapes and then painted with food coloring. I'm told that they were beautiful, but very labor intensive.  By the time I came along, the dairy no longer sold molded ice cream for the holidays, and my grandfather had brought some of the molds home.

For many years, we tried, and mostly failed, to make molded ice cream at home.  The molds were individual serving sized, so there wasn't a lot of mass to the ice cream, and the difference between too cold to pop out of the mold and to warm to hold the detail was a pretty small temperature band that's hard to find in a kitchen already warm from cooking a holiday dinner.  I'm sure that having small "helpers" added to the challenge, as well!  Still, it felt special to have them, even if they didn't stand up properly or have totally crisp details.

In 2003, we tried again.  Success!

Of course, nowadays, those molds are collectibles and people are warned not to use them for food because of lead concerns.  Pity.

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