By LEON YOUNGBLOOD

It’s from memory, but here’s a simple recipe for snow cream:

Ingredients: 1 to 1½ gallon of clean, preferably fresh snow; 1 cup granulated sugar; 2 cups half and half or light cream; 1 tablespoon vanilla.

BRIAR CIRCLE

Preparation: During or shortly after a snowfall, send somebody out to get 1 to 1½ gallons of clean—clean, mind you!–fresh snow.  You do not want to fetch it yourself because that would expose you to the harsh winter conditions that would rob you of any joy you’d otherwise have eating the snow cream.  Send out the kids, the spouse, grandma, or whoever, and let them get the stuff.  When they bring it in, check to make sure it doesn’t have dirty specks of anything that could compromise its integrity.  If it does, send the fetcher out to fetch again, and if necessary, again, till they get it right.

You should have already prepared the other ingredients: to the 1 cup granulated sugar, you add the heaping tablespoon of vanilla extract, and you don’t want that cheap imitation stuff!  Besides tasting better, the alcohol in the genuine article will help dissolve the sugar, which will make life a little easier.  Then add the half and half or the light cream, two cups of whichever you prefer, or one cup of each—whatever you want to do is fine.  Mix it well, then chill it 20 to 30 minutes so when you add it to the snow, it won’t be so traumatic.  When you do start to add it to the snow, you will notice the snow has likely melted.  Send the kids, or granny, or whoever you sent the first time to fetch more, and tell them to make sure it’s clean, too, or they’ll be doing it again.  When they return, pour the mixed ingredients over the collected snow and stir until it looks right; then, enjoy!  You may even want to share it with whoever got the snow.  This is a good idea, for it may make them more inclined to fetch snow in the future.

It is an established fact, snow cream is good.  Looking back at the last few days of miserable cold, ice and snow of Winter, I hope some of you had the opportunity to make snow cream, for if you did, it is likely your snow cream was the only good thing about it.

Certain persons have tried to convince me that there are many positive things about Winter.  For one thing, Winter is good for your health.  Cold weather makes a person stronger and sharpens the senses; it improves sleep, and does something or other to help you lose weight; it conditions you for other seasonal changes—I will leave it here.  All the times the health benefits of single-digit temperatures were being explained to me, I usually was shivering too hard to pay much attention.  I know there are people who thrive in frigid temperatures.  I am not one of them.

However, there is an aspect to freezing, snowy, icy Winters I do appreciate every Spring and Summer.  Did you know the Oklahoma Redbud, our State Tree, depends upon the sort of weather we’ve just been through for its seeds to sprout?  So do dogwoods, and (my personal favorite) fringe trees.  There are other trees that are picky like this, as well as many native flowers.  Echinacea, Indian blankets, coreopsis, goldenrod and other common flowers need brutal Winters for their seeds to become viable; but who would have thought, on a bitterly cold Winter day, the beautiful blooms we see in Spring and Summer would not be there without the annual big freezes that seem more of an affliction than a blessing?

I’m still inclined to think snow cream is the only good thing about the sorts of ordeals we’ve had with the weather.  However, this Spring when I’m sitting by Doris’ Pond at Briar Circle looking at the dogwoods blooming in the Ouachita wilderness, I will be thankful I’m not the one in charge of nature.  That’s a good thing for all of us, too.  


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Craig Hall
Publisher, writer, photographer and teacher.
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