Ice Cream for Dinner and Other Delights

icecreamOne of my favorite childhood memories is ice cream for dinner. Nothing else, just ice cream for dinner. One sweltering night during the un-air conditioned summer, my mother declared it was too hot to cook and we’d just have ice cream. I don’t know what got into my nutritionally-minded mother, but the ice cream dinner became a yearly delight and a treasured memory. For one night of the year we could eat as much ice cream as we wanted, complete with toppings of every kind. For that one night, anything was possible.

I love the memory of the ice cream dinners, of course because I still love ice cream, but also for the sense of magic and possibility they brought. Ice cream dinner said every day doesn’t have to be the same, and amazing things are possible. What better setting for creativity? So, for today we’ll thing about family fun with ice cream.

1. Of course, the first suggestion is obvious. Have an ice cream dinner. Or breakfast. Or a dinner featuring you family’s favorite food. Just make sure it is an unlikely enough choice to preserve the spirit of magic in ice cream dinners.
2. Make some ice cream and get ready for some science at the same time. This website has five different suggestions for making ice cream at home, from ice-cream-in-a-baggie to ice-cream-in-a-can. Take a look and try one. Or try them all. Want to be inspired? Take a look.

3. You’ll notice all the ice cream making options entail surrounding the ice cream mix with a combination of ice and salt. Wonder why? Here’s a site with a bit more explanation. What combination of ice and salt will give you the best results? Try different amounts of ice and salt, and different kinds of salt (table salt, rock salt, course salt) and see which gives you the lowest temperature. After you’ve determined the best mixture, you might want to try making ice cream again and see if your results change.
4. I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! But maybe screaming isn’t the only option. How about an ice cream song? There are some ice cream songs on YouTube (even one with sad looking cones singing the alphabet some) but nothing I loved enough to share with you. I just know you can do better. Imagine a song to the tune of “You are My Sunshine”—“You are my ice cream…..” Or if you are counting calories, maybe you can swear off ice cream to the tune of one of Taylor Swift’s many breakup songs? If you write one, I’d love to post it.
5. What is the favorite ice cream flavor of your friends and family? Do a survey and find out. Writing surveys is trickier than you think. If you give multiple options, be sure there is a place for everyone’s favorite. You could ask about specific flavors or more general categories. Here are the results from one group of young students and here’s one from an older more statistically-minded group.

Bonus Activity: Once you have your survey results, think about how you could use them to invent a new ice cream flavor that is sure to be a hit. Invent a new flavor and an appealing package. Think about how you could sell it to a company. What would your friends like? Strawberry chocolate chip? Salty cinnamon? Mango pineapple? Yummmm.

As always, we’d love to hear about your ice cream experiences.


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