I surprise even myself
It’s not often that I take a bite of something that I’ve made and think, “Holy shit, that’s amazing.” More often I find myself thinking, “Yum, exactly what I was going for.” My husband, on the other hand, can frequently be heard exclaiming from the kitchen table, “OH MY GOD THIS IS THE MOST DELICIOUS (enter name of food here) I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE.”
I think the reason for this is probably twofold: first, I continually taste while I cook, making adjustments and rounding out flavor until I find the right balance. Second, most of the time I know what to expect from the ingredients and I have a good (enough) knowledge of the nuances they will bring to a dish. My husband, however, typically doesn’t know half of what has gone into a finished product until he’s begun eating it. (“I see chicken here, right? And, what’s this green stuff? Is that lemon? Tell me what you’ve done to make this so good!”).
So I was pleasantly surprised – nay, shocked, when I took a spoonful of David Liebovitz’s fresh mint ice cream and loudly exclaimed to my empty kitchen, “OH! MY GOD!” It completely blew me away. I was dumbfounded to think that five ingredients that are, for the most part, kitchen staples – ingredients that I have cooked with and am familiar with – could be combined to create a final product that I couldn’t have dreamed would taste as incredible as it did.
It seemed a cruel twist of fate, then, that I was making this ice cream to bring to a family reunion… meaning that I would only get to savor the tiniest bit of it.
Please know that this might be the only instance in the history of my time in the kitchen that I have not wanted to share what I’ve made. Typically, the knowledge that I’m going to share my food is half of what allows making it to be so enjoyable. I love feeling like I’m sustaining people while making them happy (and good food really does make one happy).
So imagine how… how deflated… I felt when this ice cream was not as big of a hit with the reunion-goers as it was with me. Don’t get me wrong, people liked it. Nobody’s going to complain about a homemade ice cream sandwich (well, there was one person. But I’m choosing to ignore her.). But nobody made the same proclamation that I did upon tasting it.
I have, of course, spent a tremendous amount of time mulling over this. I even grilled my husband. (“Do you really love it? Why didn’t everybody else love it? What’s wrong with your family? Is something wrong with me?” …Yes, I take my successes and failures in the kitchen very personally.)
And I arrived at the same conclusion that my husband did: the thing that made me love this ice cream so intensely is the very thing that caught people off-guard about it. It uses fresh mint. REAL mint. This results in ice cream that is the palest of green hues, herbal and subtly minty, and refreshing without being in-your-face. This is, of course, a stark difference from the mint ice cream that many would find in their grocery store aisles – ice cream that is almost certainly made with processed mint extract and bright green food coloring.
The moral of my long-winded story is this: make this ice cream. Keep it for yourself. Revel in the smooth, rich, creamy, herbal goodness that it is. And when you share it, make sure you prepare people for what they’re about to taste.