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                               Rod Aydelotte photo
Sam Hastings (from left), Helen Hastings, Penny Edens, and Bessie Baxter dish up sweet treats at the Lake Shore Baptist Church ice cream social.

July 2002
Homemade ice cream a sweet delight

By Marla Pierson Lester


Some people remember sitting on top of the old ice cream freezer, their weight holding it in place as someone else cranks the handle. For others, it’s the unmistakable whir of an electric freezer on a humid back porch — or the tantalizing sight of freezers lined up one after another at the annual ice cream social.


Even today — with more and more brands at the grocery store — the lure of homemade ice cream remains strong.


“Part of it, I think, is that it is different. It has a different consistency. It’s just very good and sort of special in that way,” said Steve Gardner of Waco . “For some of us, there is a lot of nostalgia tied up with it.”


Plus, homemade ice cream doesn't have a predictable taste like one might expect in store-brought brands.


“I can give you a recipe, but any two batches I make will not be exactly the same,” Gardner said. “Like anything else that is handmade, homemade, it doesn’t have the mass-produced quality to it.”


On the farm in McGregor where Nancy Mitchell was reared, all the makings were readily available.


"We had our own milk and cream and all that stuff. We had chickens and eggs," she said.


And each summer, her mother would make ice cream for her father. "My daddy loved homemade ice cream," Mitchell said. Once when his leg was hurt, "I would make it about every three days and put some in the freezer" so he always had some, she said.


Even today, she follows the recipe for vanilla ice cream that her mother and grandmother used.


When Gardner was growing up, he would visit his mother’s family in Arkansas during peach season. Relatives would come in to work the harvest, and they'd eat something made with peaches every day. “Ice cream would have been my favorite,” he said.


They made it on the back porch, just outside the kitchen. “Back then, it was something that involved just about everybody,” he said. The women might mix the ingredients in the kitchen, kids then taking over.

“Everybody would want turns cranking the ice cream freezer,” he said. “As the ice cream became frozen and it was harder to crank, it became this sort of manly thing to do, too.” Someone would sit on the towels and newspapers on top of the freezer, with someone else arm-wrestling it until it was done.

Gardner still makes homemade ice cream today, albeit with an electric freezer and primarily for special occasions — one of which is Lake Shore Baptist Church ’s annual ice cream social.


“It’s probably the oldest tradition we have here,” said Catherine Davenport , who has hosted the event for at least a quarter of a century. The first part of each June, church members gather at the Davenports with their freezers, the kids playing, adults talking, most everyone tasting.


“It gets harder and harder to have them because not everybody has freezers anymore,” Davenport said, remembering the days when young couples made ice cream freezers a stock part of even a small kitchen collection.


When the McCully family competed in last year’s ice cream contest at First United Methodist Church in Lorena, they did it the “good way” — with the hand-cranked machine like the ones Nancy McCully knew when she was growing up. It is a summer tradition that doesn’t happen so often anymore.

“We don’t do it like we used to,” she said. “It’s easier to run down and pick up Blue Bell.”

Davenport , with her electric freezer, understands that sentiment.

“If you had to churn it, I wouldn’t want to make it so often,” she said.

For the contest, the McCullys drew on a recipe Nancy ’s older sister came up with about three decades ago and added Oreos. Her kids and a friend began hand-cranking the machine.


“They tired out, so my husband finished it,” Nancy McCully said. The prize was a definite nod to the 21st century — gift certificates to Marble Slab Creamery.

For Gardner , though, part of the attraction of homemade ice cream is that you can’t just run down to the store and buy some. It is reserved for special occasions, like the socials at Lake Shore Baptist. "It’s sort of the whole scene of people getting together,” he said. “It’s just a special night of the year.”


Recipes are plentiful online, and just about everyone you ask has some kind of ice cream recipe. While Penny Edens' peach ice cream is one surefire hit of the social, Gardner has had success with a Jamoca recipe he’s used the last several times.


“It seems to disappear quickly at these sorts of occasions,” he said.


Jamoca Ice Cream

From Steve Gardner

1/4 cup coffee concentrate

4 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/3 cup chocolate flavored syrup

(according to taste)

1/2 pint whipping cream

2 cans sweetened condensed milk

Whole milk (approximately 11/2 quarts)

About 15 minutes before other steps, prepare coffee concentrate. The simplest method is to fully dissolve 3 or 4 tablespoons (according to taste) of instant coffee in 1/4 cup boiling water and chill in refrigerator. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix eggs, sugar and vanilla, and the chocolate syrup, whipping cream and chilled coffee concentrate, and blend again. In the freezer can, combine this mixture with the sweetened condensed milk and add whole milk to the fill line on the can. Freeze according to equipment instructions. Yield is 4 quarts, so scale recipe to your freezer size.


Penny Edens' Peach Ice Cream

8 eggs

2 cups of sugar

1 can evaporated milk 1 tablespoon vanilla

4 or 5 cups peaches, crushed in

the blender

Whipping cream or milk

Beat the eggs well. Add sugar and beat the mixture. Add evaporated milk and vanilla, beating the mixture again. Add peaches. Beat the mixture well. Fill the freezer with whipping cream or milk.


Nancy Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream

4 fresh eggs

11/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

14 oz. can Eagle Brand condensed milk

1 quart Half and Half

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Add condensed milk and Half and Half, mixing together slowly. Pour mixture in the freezer, filling the rest of the freezer with whole milk or additional Half and Half to the fill line. Freeze with plenty of rock salt.


McCully’s Homemade Ice Cream

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

1 can condensed milk  

1 small container whipping cream

Oreos, slightly crumbled


Beat eggs and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat. Add condensed milk and beat the mixture together. In a separate bowl, whip the whipping cream with an electric mixer and fold it into the mixture. Pour the mixture into the canister. Add about half a package of Oreos into the canister. Add milk to the line on the canister.  

Reproduced with permission of
Waco Today, a product of the Waco Tribune-Herald, Copyright 2002


~The tradition continued through 2009. See photos here.~

Lake Shore Baptist Church
5801 Bishop Drive
Waco, Texas 76710

Tel.: (254) 772-2910
Fax: (254) 772-2914


Copyright 2002, Lake Shore Baptist Church, All Rights Reserved