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Snow Cream Memory

Dan Gibson, author
Copyright 2000

I remember my dad making snow cream when I was a child in the 1950's. We lived in the mountains of Tennessee in the West Robbins community of Scott County. Like most families in Appalachia we were poor. I never knew we were poor because every family lived pretty much as we did. Store bought ice cream was a luxury and very little of it was ever in our icebox. One of my best memories as a child was when we would wake up to a whopper of a snow! Everything would be covered by at least a foot of snow that had fallen during the night. We children knew we would have snow cream when dad would take mom's metal dish pan and wash and rinse it out and dry it good. He would then bundle up and take the dish pan, big spoon and the yard stick and go outside. The yard stick would be for measuring how deep the snow was. We would all guess how many inches of snow were on the ground. Whoever was the closest to what Dad measured would be the one to get the first bowl of snow cream. We would watch through the window as Dad would scoop the snow off the top of the shed or maybe from the top of our old 1947 Ford. By the way, this car was the one Dad taught me how to drive later on. I never will forget the starter button in the floor. You had to press the gas pedal and the starter button at the same time to start the engine. Anyway back to the snow cream. Once dad came back in with the pan heaped high with the snow we children would sit around the kitchen table and watch him perform this miracle. Mom would have the fresh cream, sugar and vanilla sitting on the table. I remember dad pouring a small amount of cream into the center of the pan and begin slowly stirring the snow with the big spoon. He would keep doing this and adding small amounts of sugar every so often. The big pile of snow kept getting smaller and smaller. He would also taste it every so often to see if it was sweet enough. Dad would always know when the snow mixture would come to the right consistency. He would then add a teaspoon of vanilla to it and stir it well one more time. The snow cream was ready! Mom would place the bowls and spoons next to dad. He would dip out the snow cream into a bowl and hand it to whoever had guessed the closest to how deep the snow was. We would all go into the living room and sit around the old, coal stove and enjoy our snow cream. Today when I have a dip of the best ice cream money can buy my mind wonders back to those days when we children could hardly wait for dad to make us snow cream!

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back to: West Robbins Community (this & that)