Thursday, July 22, 2010

LEMON ICE CREAM

POSTCARD FROM FLORIDA


Sitting in my brother’s Florida kitchen I can watch out the back window at my two sons splashing in the pool like a couple of kids. The water’s surface is littered with floating tubes and blow-up rafts as two lanky figures cannonball into the deep end and throw pool toys as hard as they can at each others’ heads. A mother’s worry never abates even as they age; 20 and 22 now and they still act like grade-schoolers as I cringe each time one or the other crouches up on the edge getting ready to pounce as his brother swims by. All I can do is close my eyes and sigh. But after being apart for these past 4 months they seem to be enjoying each other’s company and I feel a warmth and a comfort as I watch them chat and laugh together. I only wish that boys didn’t need to express their brotherly love through so much roughhousing.

Having fun, wish you were here... xoxo

The last time I was back here with my family was for Michael’s funeral. Ten months have passed yet he has once again brought us back together. This time around we will be going through his things, divvying up his belongings, getting rid of everything that we aren’t able to drag back across the state or across the ocean to our own homes. A person’s lifetime floats in front of us, an entire life reduced to packing cases and piles of furniture, cardboard boxes and suitcases. He loved collecting beautiful things, unusual things and it is heartbreaking to think that these objects he so cared for will be scattered to the wind, snatched up by people who never knew him, never knew the thought and love he put into caring for each painting, dish or lamp. I comb through boxes of old family photos looking for hints of the past, childhood memories and emotions, and events long forgotten push their way back up through the thick haze of time and I smile sadly as I think of him. And then every evening as we gather at Andrew’s house, as the boys splash around in the pool, as the grill is fired up and the Wii golf turned on, discussion of Michael melds into more immediate concerns and life goes on and we move ahead.


Such a trip tinged with so much sadness also has its joys. This is the first family vacation the four of us have taken together for years. The boys laze around until lunchtime and then jump up and start to complain that there is nothing to do, begging to be brought to the mall to shop or to Uncle Andrew’s to swim. They clamor for game night – and JP cringes, fearful that someone will force him to actually sit down and play a board game. JP disappears to the beach for a morning walk and then drags his teen sons out again in the evening for a swim. Delis and diners, bbq joints and seafood restaurants lure us with their now-exotic flavors and the American grocery store, that Aladdin’s Den of mystery and delight, calls to us more often than we would like. Outside, the steam rises from the sidewalks, the air is heavy and the sun stabs at our skin. Palm trees sway in the slight breeze, sand peeks through the harsh grass in the front lawn and lizards dart across the cement walkway before scuttling back into the shade. This strange, savage environment never ceases to amaze us, this place where man is in a constant battle of control against the wild harshness of the flora and fauna: a stroll down the beach and we are faced with man-o’-wars and jellyfish while rumors of sharks just offshore send shivers up our backs and we step out of the cool water as it laps up around our ankles; the sharp rocks hiding underneath the water bite like sharks; the fleas and tics have poor Buster going mad; the heat is unbearable, pushing at us each time we step out the back door! But this is the land of my childhood, the sizzling summers of my youth and I feel like I’ve pulled on a comfortable old pair of sneakers, a familiar worn pair of jeans that I know so well, that feel just right.

They say that we can never go home again, but I am not too sure about that. I drive through this town that I knew so well and although I now feel like a stranger the memories of a childhood come rushing back as I pass Susan’s house and remember the slumber party in the tent in her backyard, or Shay’s house and think of that grade-school birthday party. I pass in front of the old elementary school and laugh thinking how many old friends I have found again all these years later, the stories and laughter that we share now each time we meet. TV blaring, ceiling fans swirling lazily overhead, air conditioner humming and I slip back into an old life as comfortable as if I had never left. Yet here I am with my sons, adults themselves now, and feel a stranger visiting a now strange land. Michael’s dog Buster rubs himself against our legs begging attention then flops down splay-legged on the cool tiles and we think of all that has passed, how life has changed for each of us and we laugh as tears well up in our eyes. I can’t wait to get back home to France. And I wish I could stay here – home – forever.


A little ice cream now and then is the one respite from Florida’s unrelenting heat, a little cold ice cream to cool and revive. This is a recipe given to me by my friend Clare when she visited us this summer and I absolutely love it. Smooth and creamy, tangy and sweet, it is the perfect summer cooler and a snap to make. And no ice cream machine needed.


LEMON ICE CREAM


1 large, juicy lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream, chilled


Chill a medium-sized glass or pyrex bowl and the beaters from an electric beater.

Combine the lemon zest and the granulated sugar in a food processor or grinder and whiz for a minute or two. The zest will be very fine and the sugar a very pale yellow.


In a large mixing bowl, combine the lemon zesty sugar with the milk and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice from the juiced lemon.

Whip the chilled heavy cream in the chilled bowl with the chilled beaters until thick and stiff peaks hold. Gently fold the whipped cream into the lemony sugar milk until completely combined.


Pour the mixture into a loaf pan or plastic container, cover and place in the freezer. Stir the ice cream after about 2 or 3 hours and allow to firm up, several hours or overnight.


41 comments:

Bonnie said...

I loved this post. Life is so hard sometimes and sweet as well. Hopefully your brothers "things" will find new homes where they are loved. It sounds like you have some beautiful childhood and family memories to hang on to.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Mmmhhh, lemon is one of my favorite ice cream flavors! Your ice cream looks so delicious! A wonderful post.

Cheers,

Rosa

Lora said...

Beautiful ice cream and a gorgeous emotional post.

Heavenly Housewife said...

How lovely and refreshing.
Always remember the good things daaaaahling and life will be sweet :D
*kisses* HH

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I can imagine it's very emotional to return somewhere for the first time since losing your brother. It's good you have so many happy memories there as well.

Lovely ice cream, I adore lemon. That's one of my Marimekko napkins from the prop swap too!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Jamie you are home! Well at one home anyway. Strange how things are new and old at the same time.

The lemon ice cream is beautiful! I think I'll go tackle some ice cream today.

Laura

Clare said...

Ah Jamie, you know I'm thinking of you xxx

And I made this ice cream this week again, but swapped the lemon for blueberries (found at the back of the freezer after picking them last year). Just as nice, but not quite as grown up... Hugs!

DebbieK said...

Isn't it amazing how just being back "home" again especially after living around the world in multiple places, can stir up so many vivid memories, of people, occasions,feelings? No doubt Michael is smiling up above watching all of you together loving his "stuff". I was smiling reading about your boys as my girls recently have reunited(without the rough-housing) and I see the same kind of bonding and sharing after long absences apart. We must have done something right :) Enjoy all the moments at "home"...soak it all in.

RV said...

It is such a emotional thing to be back to a place where we grew up...Wishing you all to have lotsa fun and enjoy this vacation. Lemon flavored icecream sounds yumm never tried this flavor...

Deeba PAB said...

You touch my heart with your posts Jamie, so much emotion and connect! Am glad you are in Fl again, and am sure you're gonna have a wonderful time. Love this ice-cream; been waiting for it long. It's luscious and creamy... and tangy! Can it get better then this? WOW!!

Madhuli said...

hugs to you..and have a good vacation

elra said...

Yummy, I love lemon so much. I might make this. Thanks jaime :)

FireintheBreeze (Brittany) said...

You're writing is stunning; the figurative language makes me feel as I'm right there. Family truly is priceless, and as for the recipe..it's wonderful and encapsulates summer into a delicious spoonful of icecream bliss!

MeetaK said...

what a heart moving post. i knew that this trip was going to be hard on you but i am also glad it is bringing much joy. i loved meeting your mum yesterday she's so adorable. hang in there jamie and in the meantime we'll keep you busy behind the scenes with our nonsense M. talks and pictures!

lovely ice cream recipe. citrus when it's hot always works!

lisaiscooking said...

There's something lovely about visiting home in the summer time. So many fun, summer vacation memories come back.

Lemon ice cream does sound like a great way to beat the heat!

Heather Davis said...

Jamie there is too much in my head & heart to comment on this properly. Reading your words, well they touch me so. I have spent 20 yrs with those feelings of coming "home" and yet it's not my home anymore. It's such an emotional time. Not wanting to miss a minute of it, trying to absorb everything in, and sometimes wondering why it can't last forever. I hope this journey helps to heal and restore x

Barbara Bakes said...

I'm loving the new look. I think I would need a lot of ice cream this time of year in Florida. I think I need to try this ice cream this weekend.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Love this beautiful bittersweet post. Life is bittersweet and this ice cream exemplifies it beautifully Jamie!

Oh BTW love the new site design! :)

dining room tables said...

I thought I know all the flavors of ice cream. I think I am wrong. I have never tried that lemon flavored ice cream. I can't wait to try it.

shaz said...

Oh Jamie, so many emotions gripped me as I read this post. May there be many sweet memories wrapped up with the sad ones, to take back to France with you.

I don't really get excited by ice-cream, but this one sounds perfect! And no ice-cream machine needed too :)

courtney aka glamah said...

It's great to be home again, but I know how dofficult it is to sort through a loved ones belongings.
On a lighter note, your new 'interior decorating' looks great!. Lighter and easier to read.
Love the idea of a lemon ice cream. Refreshing!

mlaiuppa said...

I actually haven't had lemon ice cream until a few weeks ago. Hagen Daz came out with a new flavor of FIVE and I tried it. Really good.

I've made home made ice cream before and since my parents have a lemon tree I'll be trying this out.

We usually make lemon ice. It's wonderfully refreshing when the weather gets really hot here.

Combine 2 cups water and 3 cups sugar, bring to boil. Chill in refrigerator. Then add 1.25 cups lemon juice, 2 tsp lemon rind, 1/4 tsp alt and 8 cups of water. Process in ice cream maker according to directions.

Wonderful stuff.

I've also made cantaloupe ice, cantaloupe ice cream and even prickly pear ice. (That's made from cactus fruit.)

But I think lemon is our all time favorite. And it doesn't hurt tht we grow the lemons ourself.

Deeba PAB said...

New header and new look. We are truly twins sistah. I got me a new look too, and believe it or not, we are both nearly the same blue! woohoo! It's looking GREAT! Light and wonderful!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Love the header, the icecream and the emotions you capture in this post. Enjoy sunny Florida. LOL

Sippity Sup said...

I know you know my "story" and this post makes me cry and laugh and smile and thank God for the people of this world like you. I'll be in FL in a few weeks I wish we could have times it out to be there at the same time. GREG

Nicisme said...

Oh Jamie, the blog is looking gorgeous, as does the delicious ice cream!
I can imagine how emotional this trip must be for you, and wonderful at the same time. Take care and savour every minute.

Sophie said...

Your lemon ice cream looks truly appetizing & luscious too!

I have the same paper napkin of the yellow & green flowers of Marimekko!

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM,...!!!

Many hand waves from Brussels!

Valentina said...

Beautiful post. It is sad and at the same time it has a positive energynee. Life goes on, and we need to move on.At least that it how I interpreted it. oh lemon ice cream..it is the personification of summer in my opinion. what could be more refreshing?

tspegar said...

beautiful, simple, lemony ice cream! i love it! thanks for always opening your heart to all of us... you are a doll.

Sari @ Cook Your Dream said...

What a lovely and touching post Jamie! Have a wonderful time in Florida.
Love your new blog design, so fresh and clean! And the ice cream looks delicious and definitely refreshing. I'm gonna give it a try soon. I make ice cream very often as it's so hot outside. :)

Lo: the girl with the heart said...

I have to say, I love your whole blog. The ice cream looks delicious!!

Lisa said...

Jamie, first offf..I love your new layout, so bright and sunny like you :) Secondly, what a beautiful write up. Your imagery is so outstanding, I can see and feel everything through your writing. I too believe that you 'can' go home again, maybe not to the extent we'd all like, but close. You have gone home - and even though Michael is not there physically, he's there in all of you..his spirit kept alive by the lovely memories of him. *hugs*

Finally, your leon ice cream is the perfect 'ending' to this summer filled entry of happy, sad and nostalgic. I can imagine sitting by the pool with you and enjoying the cool, slightly tart and sweet creaminess while chatting breezily - no cares in the world at that moment. Ahh..life really is feast!

OH, almost forgot - I have an idea for a Mactweet theme. Will email you :)

UrMomCooks said...

Lemon anything is so yummy! Ice cream is a great idea and sounds so delicious right now! My daughters and I luv your blog. Come visit us sometime - we included you on a list of blogs we recently discovered and want to recommend! Thanx for a great blog!

sanjeeta kk said...

Lovely to be here. Like th erecipes and the presentation. Following you for more of such delicacies.
best wishes.

Mary said...

Life does go on, but we never forget, Jamie. For as painful as it is, his things are nothing more than that. He will continue to live in your memory, and while it may not seem so now, it does get easier with the passage of time.
I hope this day finds you well. Blessings...Mary

Colleen said...

Sweet Jamie, beautifully written in that wonderful style that you possess, a style of writing that makes the reader feel and experience with you what you are experiencing and writing about. How precious that is to me. That I can feel what you are feeling. The euphoria of being home in the summer, the memories flooding back, happy ones, sad ones, reliving a life that has sped past too quickly, longing for one no longer there, that sorting through of possessions.....so so difficult to do. And then loving and being with those who are there, seeing the bonding of the boys, hearing their raucousness and loving them! Thinking of you sweetheart, and wishing I could stroll along the beach with you and sit somewhere and savor the bittersweet icecream with the bittersweetness of life. Sending you a hug from Cape Town. Love you xx

Colleen said...

PS I meant to say, I love the new look of your blog. Your son is doing a brilliant job here :o) xx

Apples and Butter said...

I am sorry for your loss. What a beautiful way to come together and remember a life.

Junglefrog said...

I can imagine how feeling of sadness and also happiness are surrounding your florida visit... It must be hard in a way to have to go through Michael's things...
Your icecream does look absolutely gorgeous and did I tell you already that I love the new look of your blog? Beautiful!

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

What a beautiful post, Jamie. Kind of like the ice-cream - both sweet and tangy. I often look at all the stuff that I like to accumulate and wonder what on earth will become of it one day when I am gone. It iwll never have the same significance for other people as it has for me. I remember after the death of a good friend a couple of years ago, receiving a parcel from his sister containing a few things that were now totally meaningless to anybody except me: a stone ornament that we'd bought together; a book of poetry that I had put together for him; and a photo album of a holidya we'd taken together. Isn't it funny what retains emotional meaning and what does not.

asiangrrl said...

What a bittersweet post, Jamie. The lemon ice cream is the perfect complement to this tribute to your brother.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...