Unlike my sister Bev who never met a gadget she didn’t like ... or want to own, I am generally pretty immune to the lure of that kind of thing. Stuff like hot pots, air fryers, and other space-occupying single-use items that don’t seem worth wasting precious counter space on, or shelf space in the garage for that matter. I was even content with using a hand-held mixer until I received a big, bright red KitchenAid stand mixer as a gift a few years ago, and which now gets used on a regular basis.
But then last week, in a relatively minor way, that changed. Here’s what happened.
I was on the phone with my daughter Kathy when she casually mentioned the sorbet she had recently made.
“Sorbet?” I chimed in. “You made sorbet? No fooling!” And so she proceeded to tell me how really easy it was with the nifty new ice cream maker she had received as a gift this past Christmas.
I had previously read that you could make stuff like that by just freezing a big can of, say peaches, and then pureeing it in the blender, all of which seemed kind of sketchy to me, so I had never bothered trying it. But this was different.
You just put the heavy, thick-sided bowl of the machine in the freezer for at least 24 hours, then you make a simple syrup (so called because you simply heat sugar and water until the sugar is completely dissolved), cool it, and add it to 4 cups of pureed fruit. Pour it into the previously frozen bowl of the machine, making sure the thing is first turned on or it won’t work, and voila! In just 20 minutes you have sorbet. You read that right. Twenty minutes!
“No fooling!” I again replied, questioning her about exactly what kind of sorbet maker it was and wanting to know all the details of its operation again.
First thing next morning I Googled it and placed an order online and then messaged Kathy with the happy news.
My phone rang almost immediately. It was Kathy.
“Cancel the order!”
“Cancel the order!”
“Cancel the order, right now,” she persisted, finally telling me that otherwise I would find myself with two machines. “I ordered one for you right after we spoke yesterday. It will be delivered in two days.”
After she talked me through the process of canceling the order because I am too much of a low-tech monkey to know how to do it on my own, we then discussed how best to store the 1.5 quart of sorbet once it was made, since experience had already taught her that run-of-the-mill cheap plastic storage containers weren’t up to the job. Quickly back online again, I ordered a pair of genuine one quart ice cream containers with silicone lids guaranteed not to crack when frozen.
The machine arrived on Tuesday afternoon. The ice cream containers came in on Wednesday. Thursday was “D-Day” ... “de day de sorbet would be made for de first time.”
My sister Bev and her husband had already been invited for lunch and to play cards. Homemade peach sorbet would be a surprise dessert to go with the spaghetti and meatballs that were already on the menu. Fingers crossed I began the process.
As I already mentioned, the simple syrup was a no-brainer. Two bags of peaches, frozen from fresh the previous year, were taken out and thawed, then pureed in the food processor. Directions specifically stated that absolutely no more than 1.5 quarts should be added to the bowl, so the peaches went into a measured container and the syrup added to precisely the 48 oz. mark. Then, the machine was turned on, the peach stuff was carefully poured into the bowl, and as the liquid slowly began turning to slush, Bev’s little red car pulled into the driveway.
Halfway through the process we sampled a quick taste. Midway through our first game of Hand and Foot, the timer went off and the sorbet was done.
It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Sheer peachy perfection as it melted on my tongue and gave me a serious case of brain freeze as I reveled in the pure pleasure of it all.
As we speak, there is still another quart of it in the freezer and I am already looking forward to what to try next. Strawberry ice cream, I’m thinking, made with the beautiful, sweet, sun-ripened berries picked at a local farm by my daughter Kathy last summer.
Although I realize I won’t be making ice cream very often once the novelty wears off, I feel certain that my ice cream machine will more than earn the space it will occupy in storage between uses.
Rhea Bouchard Powers is a writer from Cumberland.