Celebrating moms, ice cream ‘n summer days

  • Contributed

    Was the ice cream cone actually invented on Kauai? The columnist wants to know. Here, strawberry ice cream rests temporarily in one.

The world turns fast: Here we are, not quite two full weeks into May and we’ve celebrated May Day, Lei Day, the National Day of Prayer and, just yesterday, our moms on the capital “O” Official Mothers Day.

While browsing an amazing retail display of phalaenopsis orchids in splashes of pastel colors (said to be a favorite gift for moms) trying to choose one for a friend’s birthday, I thought how the colors mirror butterflies and flowers painting our gardens now — both so visually pleasing while yet ephemeral. Perhaps their short-lived fragility adds to the loveliness.

I turned nostalgic, wishing my husband and I still had our moms alive. While each of our mothers left us behind many years ago, we hold our trove of memories and retain our deep love, respect and admiration. We celebrate that we still have daughters, daughters-in-love, thanks to sons who have married, and granddaughters.

Here, I get the visual image of “Mother Ginger” (translated from the French, Gignone), a special piece Miss Sarah Tochiki coaxed from the musicians after many rehearsals of the Kauai Community College musical groups. This music comes from one of the lesser-known “Nutcracker” pieces by Tchaikovsky, one that when enacted on stage features a mother wearing a skirt from which emerges tot after tot after tot from its voluminous folds — well, you “get” the picture.

Whether we come from a large family or have one or two siblings or, perhaps, are only children, the fact remains that we each have been birthed by a mother and don’t need the calendar’s official holidays to spur us to honor and celebrate the fact of that gift of our lives.

June will be “bustin’ out” before we know it, and the summer season. For us sea-level-living thick-bloods comes the moment of stowing our tights and hoodies, and kicking furry moccasins to the back of the closet. Out come tank tops, shorts and light cottons, bathing suits, sandals and flop-around rubber slippers, and just plain old bare feet in good touch with the earth and, hopefully, with sand between the toes quite often as we enjoy beach days.

Summer sun and fun — and ice cream — to my mind are often natural pairings. The cool, inviting words, “ice cream,” set my mouth to watering. Perhaps this is because I didn’t taste ice cream until I was 5 years old.

This was chocolate ice cream served in a frosty aluminum bowl in Singapore, when my family was en route from India to Burma. I remember I longed to lick out the last swipe, hating for the taste sensation to end.

In blazing hot Mandalay at that post-WWII time, there was no refrigeration. So it was years before I experienced ice cream on my tongue again. Once in America and equipped with a refrigerator-freezer, you can be sure ice cream became a staple. While living in Ohio, we acquired an aluminum, old-style, crank ice cream machine.

I set to learning how to produce the creamiest of homemade ice creams for summertime occasions. At that time, I had four willing children to take turns cranking out the frozen dessert. Not only that, but they helped me pick what flavored the creamy vanilla — blueberries, strawberries and peaches in Ohio’s summer orchards — part of the unforgettable memories for this lucky mother, now grandmother.

Recently at our local market we discovered a rendition of the smooth, Italian, pistachio-and-almond-flavored, tri-flavored ice cream — spumoni — and enjoyed it fully to the last nutty, fruity scoop. With the carton now rinsed and recycled, I’m hoping to replace it for another round. However, like my take on music to which I choose to listen, whatever ice cream we have available right NOW tends to become my favorite.

Cones, of course, are another natural pairing with ice cream. Your “Green Flash” can’t leave the subject of ice cream without divulging a related fact stored in mind some time back that the ice cream cone was supposedly “invented” right here on Kauai. It seems a leading lady citizen of yesteryear dreamed up a cookie-wafer that could be rolled to hold ice cream, I believe for a YWCA social.

Now, after seeking more information on Wikipedia, I question that. It seems French cookbooks as early as 1825 described how “little waffles” could be rolled into a cone, and how Mrs. A.B. Marshall’s 1888 “Cookery Book” contained a recipe for a “Cornet with Cream.”

Her almond cones (cornets), however, were oven-baked instead of pressed between irons. I wasn’t surprised to learn that the ice cream cone went mainstream at the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904. But I was surprised to read that, in 2008, the ice cream cone was adopted as Missouri’s official state food. (Hopefully, the cones containing what they’re supposed to!)

Whether you prefer waffle, sugar, cake or pretzel cones, or pre-filled Drumsticks or Cornettos (or your ice cream served unsullied, in a cup), perhaps one of you, Dear Readers, can let me know if you know more about this particular Kauai claim to fame. And to you and the keiki, children, you love and know, happy summertime.

•••

Dawn Fraser Kawahara, author and poet, made her home on Kauai in the 1980s. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live with books, music and birds in Wailua Homesteads. Shared passions are travel and nature. The writer’s books may be found in local outlets and on Amazon. For further information, emial her at tropicbirdpress@gmail.com.

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