Now, I realize it's very unlikely that this recipe was invented by my grandmother. And it's also very probable that it wasn't passed down from her, but I do remember going to her house in the summertime and eating homemade ice cream. She was really cute. She would get so excited in the kitchen when she was cooking for us. Sometimes she would have saved some snow ice cream from the previous winter....Now remember, I was young. The story was that since it didn't snow in our part of Mississippi, she would save some snow ice cream for us to eat when we came to visit. In my childishness, I imagined that all snow fell in drifts of colors and flavors. One would go outside in the winter and gather a bucketful of vanilla or strawberry snow ice cream to save for the coming year. I'm convinced that's why we tell our youngsters not to eat yellow snow....if it's yellow it must be lemon flavored, right?
The photograph I found was stuck in an old album. It's the only picture I have of Gramma Mills. She didn't still look like this when I loved her.
This is what she looked like when my grandpa first loved her, for on the back of the photograph, it says in a lovely script,
"Bertie on our first date"Did my grandpa know *on his first date* that he was going to build a life with this woman?
For the last 20 years, the Lawndale Art Center has hosted a Dia de los Muertos exhibition inviting Texas artists to create a retablo, a small oil devotional painting. This precious photograph of my grandmother and what it signifies---the beginning of a life and love that is a huge part of the reason that I even exist---was the inspiration for the retablo I'm painting.
The plan for this piece is to have the Gramma Mills part in black and white (as shown below) to indicate life from the past. Then I plan to paint the background in color to show that love flourished and grew, and is still growing from this first date. The whole "family tree" aspect of the retablo will be suggested by a tree in the landscape. The finished piece will be auctioned in The Retablo Gala and Silent Auction for Lawndale Art Center on October 26. (I might need to buy this piece back.)
Mills' Homemade Ice Cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 can condensed milk
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 cartons whipping cream
1 pint half and half
2 cups milk - more or less - fill to line in machine
Ice and lots of salt
Also drain water as it turns