Ice Cream Story Time!

If you felt a whole lotta’ shakin’ goin’ on you must have been at the Capitol Hill branch when it finished its summer story time series the end of August.  It was the perfect way to welcome the warm weather and to head off into the furlough.  Over a hundred and twenty-five kids and their adults joined us to say good-bye and shake, shake, shake, themselves some ice cream. 

Daniel Tilton, adult/teen services librarian, who had done a cooking program with the children’s librarian at New Holly branch, suggested to Carol Edlefsen, children’s services librarian, that they team up and provide an ice cream story time as a way for him to get to know the story time families and to close a successful Summer Reading Program. 

Carol read “Should I Share My Ice Cream” by Mo Willems where we find elephant asking if he should share his ice cream with pig.  The consensus of the group, as you can well imagine, was no but the book ended somewhat differently.  Then Daniel gave a very short history of ice cream and finally we got to making the ice cream itself.  This is the baggie method of ice cream making and it is as deliciously easy to make as it is to eat. 

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup of milk or half and half – we used whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons rock salt
  • pint-sized baggies – we used Ziploc
  • gallon-sized baggies
  • ice cubes

How to make it:

    • fill the large bag half full of ice and add the rock salt
    • put the milk, vanilla, and sugar into a small bag – seal the bag
    • place the small bag inside the large bag of ice and salt – seal
    • shake the bag until you have a solid mixture – it takes about 5 minutes
    • wipe off the small bag – it gets salty – then open and enjoy!


    It was an easy, delicious, and fun method in which to say good-bye and more than one person thanked us for our first annual ice cream story time!

~ Photos courtesy of Darren Ng and Sophia Tsang

What I Made: Rich Chocolate Ice Cream. Mmmm. Jealous yet?

Seattle is home to a thriving DIY culture.  As part of an occasional series of posts, we feature hand-made items created by staff at The Seattle Public Library and the library books, CDs, and DVDs that showed them how to do it themselves. We hope you’ll draw inspiration from their creations and check some of the many great how-to resources the Library has to offer!

So the hubby and I got an ice cream maker for our wedding.  Despite the fact that neither of us has ever made an icy treat more complex than a popsicle stick in a paper cup of frozen orange juice, we were pretty excited.  We were already planning our future as handcrafted ice cream vendors a la Whidbey Island Creamery when we made our first batch – which promptly failed to freeze.  Some cursing and a few hours in the freezer later, we did manage to salvage something vaguely ice-cream like.  Hmm.  Maybe sticking to a recipe would have helped. 

Luckily, the more-ice-than-cream initial batch was still delicious enough to prompt a second attempt.  When I saw 500 ice creams, sorbets and gelatos: The only ice cream compendium you’ll ever need on display at SPL, I knew this little pink confection of a book had obviously been written and placed on the shelf solely for us.  Armed with the recipe for rich chocolate ice cream, a bar of Ghirardelli and a lot of determination, we resumed our battle with the ice cream maker.  Just a few minutes into the freezing process, it was clear that this batch was going to be fantastic.  Thick, creamy ribbons of frozen chocolate began forming almost immediately.  After our first attempt, which had stubbornly remained vanilla-cinnamon soup after half an hour in the machine, this felt like nothing short of a miracle. 

Needless to say, the final result was delicious.  Even when I was licking the bottom of my bowl, though, I wasn’t done devouring the book – with glossy, colorful pictures and drool-worthy recipes, it’s food for the soul all on its own.  Maybe you’ll see my creamery some day after all. 

I’ve seen (but haven’t tried) lots of other gorgeous ice cream recipe books – have you found any that you love? 


Viewing history with a tightly focused lens

I think I’ve spotted a trend in the History publishing world.  The days of sweeping, sprawling sagas that cover a vast canvas appear to be over.  This is the day of the mono-history (to coin a term), the history of a single invention, food, natural resource or other singular item.  The titles below are in no particular order.

Salt: a world history, by Mark Kurlansky – Published in 2002, saltKurlansky’s history of the world’s most important commodity is probably the best known mono-history and the only one to appear on the best-seller lists.  I found it fascinating and inspiring. Kurlansky seems to enjoy mono-history because  Salt followed another monohistory on a critical food commodity Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World and he followed up with The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell.

A Splintered History of Wood: belt sander races, blind woodworkers and baseball bats, by Spike Carlsen – The title alone intrigues.  The book is obviously  the result of a passionate involvement with wood.  It was incredibly informational, just a bit scary in spots (the story of  Ludgar the War Wolf, an enourmous catapult that took 55 Continue reading “Viewing history with a tightly focused lens”