Now join me in thanking Nancy Johnson

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I dare say that I bring you some information that you might not know. Of course there are always people who know “things,” but I would be surprised if any reader would know just how much thanks Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia deserves on these hot summer days.

Before I get to Nancy, let me tell you that I went to the store the other day and it was so hot, the loaf of bread I bought was “toast” before I got home! Our neighborhood rabbit that usually hops across the road without trouble took a break in the middle of the road to wipe the sweat off its ears. Then walked the rest of the way. It’s been hot.

It’s been so hot I got a hankering for what I thought was a Southern dish, but found out that it wasn’t just southern, but international. I wanted some ice cream, but not any ice cream; I wanted some homemade ice cream.

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I have a simple mind and I thought that ice cream would surely be a most recent creation; that is, since refrigeration is needed. My simple mind told me that a freezer was needed for ice cream, but I was wrong. All that’s needed for ice cream is ice and cream. Those two have been around for a while.

In my quest to satisfy my curiosity, I Googled (for all you non-internet people, that means “looked up,” as in Encyclopedia) the history of ice cream.

The Book of Ecclesiastes advises that there is nothing new under the sun so I should not have been surprised that the Chinese were eating a concoction of milk and rice, which they froze with ice, way back at least 200 years before our Lord was born. They called it “mice (milk and rice) and ice!” Not really, but you have to admit that slogan is pretty good.

Suffice it to say, throughout history ice cream has had its place. It is reported (by me only) that Alexander the Great enjoyed an ice cream-related desert of ice and honey. During his worldwide conquests, he would stop at the local Dairy Queen right before a battle.

But what about Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia? What does she have to do with ice cream?

I’ll tell you about Nancy but, first, let me say that homemade ice cream is one of the great memories of my childhood. Remember the wooden bucket and the hand churning? As most youngsters, we wanted to turn the churn, but only until our arms got tired, which was about three minutes.

It was like many things that look exciting at first, but then takes too long to actually finish. Most of the time the adults had to finish turning the churn until the ice cream was made. If there is one thing to be thankful for it is the electric ice cream churn.

There’s another thing to be thankful for and that is fresh, Georgia peaches to put in the mixture. Vanilla is the primary flavor, but is there anything that tastes better than homemade vanilla ice cream with fresh and cut-up peaches?

One fellow after eating some said, “I only wish I had removable teeth so I could take them out and slap my gums together.”

Well, what about Nancy Johnson? On September 9th, 1843, Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia was given the patent for the “small-scaled, hand-cranked ice cream freezer.” And now, will you join with me and thank Nancy Johnson?