And Then There Were Cupcakes.

Let me tell you something about cupcakes. They make people happy. I know they’re all the rage right now, they’re the in thing to make for weddings, showers, christenings. Or little red chicken Christmas/Paddy’s Day parties. I’m just as guilty as anyone for falling for it and I’m not ashamed. I’m not a fashionable person by any stretch, but I’m all over this cupcake thing. Sometimes I scare myself.

I took a trip to New York City three years ago and Magnolia Bakery was on the itinerary for obvious reasons. I wasn’t a cupcake super-fan at the time. I enjoyed them, but I certainly didn’t plan on hitting the bakery on a weekend and having to line up for twenty-five minutes for a cupcake with dozens of tourists. After all, I considered myself more of a traveler, not a tourist and we all know there is such a remarkable difference. And yes, I’d seen that silly episode of Sex and the City where Miranda and Carrie sit outside and eat pink cupcakes on a bench in Greenwich Village and look all glamourous and gorgeous and all, look at me I live in Manhattan and I’m in the Village eating a pink cupcake. This had nothing to do with me going to Magnolia Bakery whatsoever, I was simply a traveler in search of a treat to fuel my walk to lower Manhattan. Which is why I took the 35 minute detour and the walk down Bleecker Street. Yep. So I’m there on a weekday and the line-up isn’t there. I stroll on into the shop like I own the place, like I’m an eye-rolling New Yorker who knows when to hit the bakery when all the annoying tourists aren’t around. Never mind the fact that I had just walked down Bleecker Street and spent five minutes staring at a block of smoked buffalo mozzarella in a shop window like I’d found the Holy Grail. My attempt to look like a local didn’t work in Magnolia either. When the smell of warm vanilla hit me in the face as soon as I cracked the door to the bakery, I knew I was done for. I gave in. I became a tourist. I knew New Yorkers made fun of us, just as we make fun of them every summer in Cow Head. But this was more important, this was about the food. With wide eyes and a fuzzy feeling in my heart and belly, I bought two perfect cupcakes. They were tucked neatly into a little white cardboard box for me by the lovely girls behind the counter and I stashed it in my bag, deciding to save the treats until after my walk downtown.

Turned out to be quite the event. I chose a park bench away from the tourist crowd at the Ellis Island ferry terminal for the big cupcake moment. I had just been mugged by a seagull who stole my hot dog. No joke, he landed on my head and then made a grab and got away with half (wiener and bun) before swooping off to brag to his arsehole seagull friends. Now I sat alone on a bench, opening the little white box as furtively as I could, wary of being mugged again by the local wildlife. A squirrel the size of a beagle came out from behind a bush and leered at my cupcake. I looked him squarely in the eye and said, “Squirrel, I am a traveler. Not a tourist. I do not feed the animals. And my hot dog was just stolen by a seagull, so eff off.” I guess he figured I’d paid my dues and took off, leaving me alone to enjoy my dessert. Or to go back and get his friends so they could give me rabies and take my cupcakes. I better get this done. One perfect, pink, vanilla jewel. One big bite that left pink icing on my nose and a tear in my eye. It was the beginning of a love affair with cupcakes and a lifelong hatred of seagulls.

And there you have it. I made my first real homemade batch a few months later for an impromptu St. Patrick’s day party at my place (it was impromptu, I was going to eat them all myself)…green icing, tacky sprinkles, the works. The effect was startling. Everyone went nuts for them. Now, everyone was drinking Guinness and homemade wine out of plastic bags (my parties are that classy), and that may have had something to do with the startling factor. But they were gone faster than a Manhattan seagull can steal a hot dog. And that’s pretty goddamn fast. It’s been full cupcake throttle ever since. I’ve made them for parties, for new babies, for the first sunny day of spring when you can finally sit outside and have a cup of tea. And for the record, I think they’re so much more fun for weddings than those ten-tier marzipan jobbies. My sister had a cupcake tier at her wedding reception and although I didn’t get drunk and fall on it like I teased Jade I would, I certainly managed to take a sizeable chunk out of it. Yeah, I was that bridesmaid.

Right, I didn’t know I could talk so much about cupcakes either, okay I did. But there was indeed a batch of happiness made recently that involved a shiny brand new cupcake recipe. I made them for the Cow Head farewell curry, but these things were so great that they deserved a mention just to their sweet little selves. Earl Grey cupcakes with lemon buttercream icing. Not a perfect fit for a dessert that follows a heavy curry supper, but who cares. They’re cupcakes. This wasn’t Top Chef, this was a group of girls starved for curry and cupcake love in the middle of the Newfoundland wilderness. Good thing you could get lemons that day at the liquor store.

I’d heard about these cupcakes a few months earlier from my friend Katie. She’d had a real shit day and a couple of friends had made them for her to cheer her up. They worked. And when she told me about the recipe (I can’t remember when that was, but we were probably at my place eating something) I almost fell off my chair. Then I realized I had the recipe in a cookbook my pal Simmons had given me for a birthday gift a few months earlier; Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery (by Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas, Kyle Books, 2009). The Primrose is in London and by all accounts is to the city what Magnolia is to Manhattan. It’s a gorgeous, gorgeous book, the photos and recipes are unreal. My copy was still in St. John’s but thankfully I managed to find the recipe online. I also had a stash of “Lady Grey” tea (not quite as strong as earl, so I upped the teabag number by one) which was fortunate, because there’s no earl to be had in Cow Head, and a Tetley cupcake would just be weird.

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Icing

Makes a dozen cupcakes (I got about 15…)

1/2 cup 2% milk, at room temperature
4 Earl Grey teabags (or 5 Lady Grey)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (I used salted. Love salted butter, don’t care)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract, optional (yes, please. weird)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp self-rising flour
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

(I didn’t have any self-rising flour so I used 1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour with 1 1/4 tsp baking powder)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and add the teabags. Cover and steep for about 30 minutes. Remove the teabags and gently squeeze to remove any excess liquid from them. Discard the teabags. In a medium bowl, sift together the flours and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (I used a hand mixer) cream the butter and sugar until mixture is smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Add the almond extract if using and mix until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the infused milk, beginning and ending with the flour, mixing until combined after each addition. Carefully spoon the mixture into the cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Bake for around 25 minutes or until slightly raised and golden brown. Cake skewer should come out clean when inserted into centre of cupcake. Let sit for 10 minutes before removing cupcakes from pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with lemon buttercream icing.

For the lemon buttercream:

8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature (again, salted was ok)
1/4 cup 2% milk, at room temperature
1 tsp lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (again, hand mixer), beat the butter, milk, lemon juice, zest and half the sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.

I thought I was a cupcake purist (partial to vanilla, even though I’ve been a chocolate girl all my life), until now. And although I love buttercream sometimes even I (gasp) find it a little too sweet which is why I’ve started making (pink!) cream cheese icing for my vanilla cupcakes; I like the tang of the cream cheese with the sweetness of the cake. But these little Earl Grey babies are sweet and aromatic in a way I never thought possible. The citrus of the lemon buttercream is perfect, it’s just perfect. Don’t dare try to substitute bottled lemon juice, get a real lemon with real zest and you will weep beautiful lemony tears of joy, that’s how good this icing is. Whether you love Earl Grey tea or you’ve never even tried it, give these cupcakes a go. They will make your kitchen smell like a fancy bakery in Greenwich Village or Covent Garden, will leave your friends with fuzzy hearts and bellies and will leave you feeling like one classy little chicken.

Week 34 and 35: A Farewell Feast

Not the last supper or anything, just the last week in the weird eggshell-coloured kitchen. I can’t say I’ll miss it as much as the view from the back step, but there were a lot of great meals and friends made this summer and a lot of empty wine bottles to show for it. A little behind on recipes this week, so I decided to combine them into one last farewell dinner to our sweet Cow Head. It’ll be nice to be able to buy avocados again, but I’d give up avocados any day for a walk on Shallow Bay Beach. I can’t believe I just said that.

The Spice Library survived the summer and amazingly still had punch enough left for two more pots of curry. Earlier in the summer Didi had made a pot of chicken lababdar that slightly altered the state of my thinking when it came to cooking in rural Newfoundland. There will always be cream at the local Riteway (if you get there on Thursday when the dairy truck arrives…you might be pressing your luck by Monday). There will always be tinned tomatoes. If you bring the spices, Cow Head will do the rest. Or you can do the rest in Cow Head.

I wanted to try the chicken lababdar on my own and this was my big chance. I had everything for it except fenugreek seeds. Brown mustard seeds would have to do. Seriously, right? The horror. Lindsay emailed to say she had a trout in the freezer to donate to the farewell feast and could I do something with that? The wheels began to turn, the internet search continued. Yes! I could do something with that! I found an Indonesian trout curry recipe online that I more or less had all the ingredients for except…fenugreek seeds. But I did have ground cloves. Cloves would make me forget about having no fenugreek seeds, anything with cloves in it had to be exotic and excellent, much like the ladies I was having over for dinner. Lindsay emailed back ten minutes later. What she thought was a slab of frozen trout was actually a salmon fillet. Shit, did people even curry salmon? How could I not know this? Google. Yes. Curried salmon recipes did in fact exist. We would use the trout recipe with the fillet of Captain Highliner frozen salmon, cross our fingers and hope for the best. Cow Head’s Curry Night 2011 would kick ass. With or without fenugreek seeds. Goddamn it. Ginger. I needed fresh ginger. There was that massive chihuahua-sized piece Didi had bought in June. Perfect. There was one small piece left, I remembered seeing it underneath the pack of ground coriander. Found it! Jesus, I didn’t even know mould could be that colour. Ground ginger it would have to be. My cheeks started to flush. The ladies would be here in three hours, the chicken was frozen, the ginger was orange and fuzzy and no fenugreek seeds, have I mentioned that? But there were a few bottles of wine and I had spent most of the afternoon making earl grey cupcakes with lemon buttercream icing. If wine and cupcakes didn’t solve all my problems, there wasn’t much hope for the universe. I felt better. I rubbed the salmon in salt and turmeric, left the chicken out to thaw, ate two cupcakes and went to work.

Burst in through the door at 8 o’clock. The ladies were due to arrive in half an hour and that was exactly how much time I had to get the house smelling like curry. For all the panicking I did before I left for work, the two recipes weren’t that difficult. It took a while to get through chopping all the onions and garlic, but I managed to get supper ready a mere a half an hour behind schedule. Quite a feat, as I’m usually the person who invites you over for supper at 7 and gets you fed by 9.

Chicken Lababdar

Adapted from The Creative Pot (

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 medium onions, grated
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, ground
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
500g chicken fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used chicken pieces, bone in)
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp butter
salt, to taste
chopped tomatoes (optional)
chopped coriander (optional)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cumin seeds and fry for a minute or two until fragrant, then add tomato paste and tinned tomatoes. Cook for 6-7 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly, then add ground cumin, fenugreek, garam masala and chilli powder. Stir through before adding the chicken pieces. Cover and allow to cook for 5 minutes, then turn heat down and allow to cook for a further 5-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir cream and butter through, allowing the butter to melt. Season to taste with salt and serve warm topped with tomatoes and coriander. Serves 4.

Indonesian Trout Curry

Adapted from Ahaar (

1 long trout fillet or 2 medium
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 inch cube ginger, finely chopped
1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chilli
6-8 chestnuts
salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil

Rub the trout fillet with turmeric and salt and set aside in fridge for a couple of hours. Make an X on the chestnuts (so the steam can escape) and roast them in the oven at 250 F for 20 minutes. Let cool and chop them roughly. Heat one teaspoon oil in pan and lightly saute the fillet on each side. Set it aside. Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and dried red chilli. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced onions and saute til they are translucent and then the tomatoes and mix well. Add the rest of the spices to the pan, followed by the coconut milk and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside. Place trout fillets in a baking dish and pour the coconut and spice mixture over the fish, followed by the chestnuts. Bake at 300 F for 20-35 minutes of until fish is completely cooked.

(I forgot to saute the fillet before I baked it. Everything was still delicious, but maybe a quick sear would bring out more flavour. Next time…)

I was missing a lot of the ingredients (I laughed out loud when I read chestnuts). No aforementioned fenugreek seeds (used mustard), no cumin seeds (used ground), no coconut milk (used powder), no coriander (used wild mint), no chestnuts (ha…chestnuts), so needless to say I was running around the kitchen like a little red chicken with her head cut off. In my haste to get the house good and smelly before the girls walked in I chopped the onions and tomato for the salmon, forgetting that I had to thinly slice them. I wasn’t going for aesthetics (lies) but cursed myself for the one simple step I actually had control over and still didn’t do. This curry might be going the way of May’s dandelion green disaster.

But it worked. It worked beautifully. The labadar was mild and creamy and the fish was fragrant and had just enough heat to flush your cheeks. You could eliminate the dried red chilli if your guests are sensitive, but mine weren’t scared. The salmon worked, it worked really well, but I’m anxious to try a fish that’s not quite so rich that will compliment the heaviness of the coconut milk. It’s not as heavy as cream obviously, but I think salmon is better left a little simpler, not so dressy (this is, however, coming from the girl who cooked a salmon fillet a while ago in bacon and rosemary). You know what I mean. Try it with the trout. Try it with the chestnuts. And for the love and honour, try it with the fenugreek seeds and let me know what I’m missing.

Gluten-Free Polenta Potato Pizza

Try to contain yourselves. I realize that’s an awful lot of P’s and an awful lot of excitement squeezed into one little heading. Whenever I mention potato pizza, people look at me like I’ve said potato breakfast cereal. It puzzles me. Think about your favourite things. If two of them aren’t potatoes and pizza, it might be best to move on to another blog. But if they happen to be on your list of favourites, think about putting one on top of the other (pizza toppings on top of a baked potato, shit I think I’m on to something). See? It just makes sense.

Much like cell phone technology, Koreans are way ahead of us when it come to pizza toppings. I lived there for almost three years and potato pizza is a specialty. Right, it’s not traditional like kimchi or anything, but you know what I mean. Koreans have sort of taken pizza and made it their own…a potato pizza will come with bacon and a potato wedge on every slice. Turns out carbs plus carbs equals unbridled happiness. You’d think that North Americans would have figured that one out ages ago. No sir. So imagine my excitement a couple of years after leaving Korea when I found potato pizza in Canada. I was visiting my friend Candace in Whitehorse (one of my favourite places, I almost moved there, I just love it) and we were at a little cafe downtown. Written on a chalkboard menu on the wall: “Rosemary Potato Bacon Pizza” I think the earth moved that day. Or at least I shifted on my axis a little. It was a mini-pizza, it was smoky, herby potato-y, it was perfect. I’ve been making it ever since and still never get sick of looking at my friends earnestly and saying, “You’ve never had rosemary bacon potato pizza?” I roll my eyes skyward, I place my hand on my forehead. And then I watch while they take their first bite. It’s like watching someone taste chocolate for the first time.

And then there are my gluten-free pals. Years ago the idea of not being able to eat the stuff horrified me. I met my first gluten-intolerant person over ten years ago (I make it sound like I met a talking pelican)…a little girl who was the daughter of a friend of a friend. This kid was two years old and couldn’t eat wheat. I remember my eyes growing wide and asking her mother, “But what does she eat?” The mom wasn’t phased at all as she explained to me that her little girl loved rice and rice noodles so they cooked a lot of Asian food at home. I was in my early twenties and only just figuring out my own relationship with food. I was amazed that this kid could even exist. Especially in Newfoundland where most of us were reared up on white bread. I still balk a little at the idea of not being able to eat nan’s homemade bread fresh out of the oven, but years later I actually like the challenge of cooking gluten-free. It’s nice being able to cook good meals for good friends who can’t go near the stuff. My friend Nell is such a creative food lover that her gluten intolerance doesn’t phase her in the least. She told me a while back that she loves to use polenta for pizza crust and one rainy day off in Cow Head I decided to have a go. Sandy had the day off too so I knocked on the door to the basement apartment and told her I was going to make us a gluten-free treat. After poking around on the internet for a recipe I found exactly what I was looking for on the sweet little blog,

Polenta Pizza Crust (Adapted from Kitchen Corners)

Bring 3 cups vegetable broth to a boil. Turn off stove and quickly stir in 1 and 1/2 cups cornmeal and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add whatever seasoning you like (oregano, garlic, etc.) but I found the vegetable broth to add just enough flavour/salt. Spread polenta onto a greased pizza pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, add pizza toppings, proceed as normal.

The cornmeal cooks fast and furious so keep stirring and watch for lumps. I generally find spreading pizza crust to be a pain in the ass at the best of times and polenta is no exception. I tried spreading it in a greased pan with a spoon but that was a no-go. Wait for it to cool, put a little butter on your hands and press it into the pan with your fingers, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. Like the recipe says, the crust needs to bake first before the toppings go on (otherwise the polenta will be too mushy) so let it crisp up nice and golden, but don’t expect it to brown up like a regular pizza crust. It’ll look strange, you’ll be worried, don’t fret. Once it’s covered in sauce and toppings, you’ll breathe easier. And before you start anything, make sure that if you’re using bouillon for your veg broth that it’s gluten-free. Or just omit it all together and use boiling water if you don’t have gluten-free stuff on hand, although these days it’s pretty easy to find.

You’ll want to make sure your bacon and potatoes are cooked a little before they go on the pizza. After a few experiments, I’ve found the best way is to toss everything together with a little salt, pepper and olive oil (not too much salt or oil, the bacon will take care of most of that) and roast it in the oven on 375 or 400 for a half hour or so. I like my bacon crispy and potatoes nice and tender, so mess around til you find what you like. Potatoes should be peeled and cut into smallish chunks so they’ll cook through. Bacon cut up however you like, really. I’m absolutely mad for rosemary, I think it’s the earthiest, sexiest herb there is, so I tend to go a little overboard. The first time I made a roast dinner for my sister Jade she asked why there were pine needles in her chicken, so depending on your guests, judge accordingly. Some people just think rosemary tastes like trees. In any case, avoid the stalks, mince it up nice and fine and toss it in with the bacon and potatoes and into the oven.

Once your toppings are pre-cooked, you’re work is done, you know the rest. Sauce, toppings, cheese. Or sauce, cheese, toppings, depending on how you roll. I like a really thick tomatoey sauce, so I make mine with tomato paste, oregano and a bit of maple syrup (just because it comes from a tree and makes me feel better about sweetening things). I only had mozza at the house that day, but I’ve found that a bit of cheddar is nice with the bacon as well. Depending on your oven, 375 for twenty minutes or so.

Lovely. I’d make this again just for me and I eat gluten like it’s 1984. Any toppings will do, but there was something about the potatoes and bacon with this crust that really worked. All smoky and hearty with the cornmeal. You could go vegetarian gluten-free with just the potatoes and rosemary, even though you’d miss the smokiness of the bacon. But not if you used applewood smoked cheddar!! I just thought of that and I’m not going to lie, I’m feeling a little smug and excellent right now. So here’s what you do. File this recipe away and haul it out like magic when you find out that a friend has a gluten intolerance. They’ll be thrilled, and you’ll feel all smug and excellent. Like a nice piece of smoked cheese.

Week 32: Poor Man’s Pudding

This recipe caught my eye for obvious reasons, pudding being one of my favourite words (that and the word unitard). Stick the word poor in front of it (pudding, not unitard) and there’s a lesson in simplicity to be had for sure. Fat-Back and Molasses might conjure up fond memories for anyone who grew up in Newfoundland or Labrador. For anyone else, it probably sounds a bit strange and certainly not like the title of a cookbook. One that, I would venture to say, certainly influenced my generation.

The book was put together back in the seventies by Ivan F. Jesperson, a clergyman working on Fogo Island. With the help of The United Church Women, he managed to collect numerous recipes from Newfoundland and Labrador in a sweet little volume that was originally published in 1974 (Jesperson Publishing).  After many a copy became dog-eared and stained in kitchens all over the province (including the kitchen of my childhood in Wabush) it was finally reprinted in 2002, with several more reprints being released until the most recent in 2010. My roommate Karen bought a copy recently and it was floating around our place in Cow Head. She said she bought it because she just wanted a good recipe for tea buns. If the women in her family are anything like mine, measurements are foolishness. It’s all handfuls and pinches and “until it’s a softish dough” type explanations. I’ve learned to do that with curry, but shamefully still can’t make good white Newfoundland homemade bread. My Nan Porter first tried to teach me ten years ago…I wrote everything down to the exact handful but I’m still too scared to try it without her standing over me. This is where Fat-Back and Molasses: A Collection of Favourite Old Recipes from Newfoundland and Labrador comes in handy. It’s for us children of the seventies who grew up watching mom and nan cook with handfuls and pinches but who need measurements and temperatures.

This little book is a gem. Small enough to fit in a kitchen drawer and it costs about ten bucks to order online last I checked. Everything Newfoundland and Labrador is in here, from tea buns and pea soup to flipper pie and squirrel cakes. No joke, you make them with bread crumbs and potatoes and fry them in bacon fat. They don’t mess around in Labrador. I never killed any squirrels as a child, but my sister and I did fight over the exact number of squares of ravioli in a can, so yeah, we were pretty bad-ass.

Poor Man’s Pudding

(Mrs. Rosalind Fraser, originally from Bishop’s Falls)

Boil 2 cups water. Add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tbsp margarine, 1 tsp vanilla. Mix together 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 cup flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 cup milk.

Put first mixture in casserole dish. Drop second mixture by teaspoon onto first mixture. Bake 350 F for 30 minutes.

Again, a meal in August much more suited to a cold night in January. A few friends over after a show for Nigel’s garlic and vermouth roasted chicken (again, need rehab) and no one seemed too concerned about the unseasonal eating. I simplified things for the pudding a little with my enameled cast iron pot. I boiled up the brown sugar mixture in it (used real butter instead of margarine), dropped in the dough (it’ll be really soft, almost like a batter) and popped the whole thing in the oven. If everything looks like a weird cow-intestine soup, you’re headed in the right direction. Don’t be scared. When it’s baked and gets spooned out into a bowl as a golden dumpling in hot brown sugar sauce next to a scoop of ice cream, no one will complain.

A little shout out to Cow Head wild strawberries. See the chimney sweep’s gelato recipe a few blogs earlier to get the recipe for this homemade ice cream. This one was made with strawberries and toasted walnuts…the berries were picked out on the Head in a bed of thistles by the little red cursing chicken. Cluckety-effing-cluck.

The slew of Fat-Back and Molasses reprints since 2002 says a lot about how fashionable it is to be old-fashioned these days. It’s fine and dandy to be nostalgic and want to re-create the simpler times of your ancestors for a dinner party. But a little weird when you think that a couple of generations back the ingredients for poor man’s pudding might be all you had left in your cupboard to feed your family until the boat came through the ice in the spring. I’m pretty sure that my forefathers and mothers had bigger things on their minds than homemade ice cream (scurvy and tuberculosis), but I like to think they did what they could with what they had (squirrels).