Every family has its own mini subculture. At least mine does or did. Throughout my childhood we shared a few habits and traditions that helped knit our family together. Traditions like:
• Presents on Christmas Day, not Eve. I think my sister, brother and I were a little envious of the kids who opened their presents on Christmas Eve.
• We always stayed on the beach until the very last possible moment on Labor Day, before heading back to the ‘burbs. We were never envious of the kids who left a few days early to shoe shop and buy notebooks.
• Chips with lobster – I was shocked the first time I had lobster at someone else’s house. They served potato salad and not chips. It seemed positively barbarian.
The list goes on and on. We still follow a lot of these little habits but not all.
There are jokes and stories that no gets but us. No matter how hilarious we find them and ourselves, no one else seems to. And finally, there is the language thing. Yes we speak English but we have a few special words to describe this or that. For example:
• We never had leftovers; we had Slusser’s Delight and breadandwithit. Although, there was never any bread.
• After a long, busy day, we were known to have a sinking spell. When that happened, we didn’t put on our jammies, we got into our nonni-nunus and relaxed in front of the television.
• And our favorite ice cream was filled with fun chippies<.em>.
We discovered fun chippies soon after we began spending our summers on Pleasant Lake. Mass market and chain restaurant ice creams paled in comparison to the homemade delights at the Grey House. There was no gum, no Arabic, no stabilizers or fillers. We’d grown up on Howard Johnson’s ice cream. Heck, my grandmother went to school with the original Howard. His chocolate chip and mint chocolate chip ice creams were filled with miniscule specks of chocolate. They had nowhere near the charm of the Grey House’s fun chippies.
At the time, they were a novelty, a far cry from Howard’s specks and the big, fat flakes of imitation chocolate in cheap, supermarket ice cream. For all our fascination, fun chippies were nothing more than the mini morsels that Nestlé now sells in supermarkets from coast to coast. And nothing less than real chocolate. The Grey House threw them into a bunch of different ice creams – vanilla, black raspberry, mint, coffee and chocolate. Not just yummy, we thought they were adorable.
We thought our nickname was terribly clever. I’m not sure who in the family coined it, probably my sister Brenda. To this day, we don’t understand why it never became a part of the local language along with frappes and jimmies. Alas, fun chippies never appeared on the Grey House menu. Or on any other menu for that matter.
My mother was always watching her waistline and had to be cajoled into taking us out for ice cream. However, Dad took personal pride in New England’s claim as the Ice Cream Eating Champions of the World. On hot summer nights he would shout out to anyone who would listen, “Who wants fun chippies?” Feet pounded and doors slammed and in a matter of seconds kids and dogs were packed into the back seat of the station wagon and ready to go. Fun chippies were the perfect way to end an already perfect day in paradise.
The Grey House and its ice cream window closed years ago, but you can still find old-fashion, homemade ice cream stands scattered across New England. Why not visit one real soon!?!
Blackberry Yogurt Ice Cream with Fun Chippies
Want to get the good old fashion taste of a New England ice cream stand, try making your own. Enjoy!
Makes about 1 quart
1 quart nonfat plain yogurt
1 pound fresh blackberries
1 cup half & half
1/2 – 3/4 cup (to taste) brown sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons Framboise* (optional)
1/2 cup (or to taste) mini chocolate chips
Put the yogurt in a colander or sieve lined with a clean dishtowel or coffee filter and drain for several hours or overnight. You should end up with about 2 cups of yogurt cheese.
Put the blackberries in a blender with about 1/2 cup half & half and process until smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.
Put the yogurt, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, Framboise and remaining half & half in a in a bowl and whisk to combine. Slowly add the blackberry-cream and whisk until smooth. Chill for at least an hour. The mix should be very cold.
Transfer the mix to an ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In the final few minutes, slowly pour in the chocolate chips and continue to process until the chocolate chips are well integrated into the ice cream. Transfer the ice cream to a plastic container and freeze for up to one month.
If the ice cream comes out of the freezer rock hard, put it in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes. It will soften a little and be easier to scoop.
* Framboise is a French raspberry liqueur.
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One Year Ago – Brown Sugar Yogurt Gelato
Two Years Ago – Red Pepper Dip
Three Years Ago – Grilled Chicken, Shallots & New Potatoes
Four Years Ago – Barbecue Chicken Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
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