Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with these books

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 24, 2016

By Marissa Creamer

Rowan Public Library

The hot, hazy days of July make it the perfect month to celebrate National Ice Cream month, as designated by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. He also designated the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day, but why restrict the festivities to just one day?

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes almost 22 pounds of ice cream a year. Vanilla continues to be America’s flavor choice, followed by chocolate, cookies ’n cream, strawberry and mint chocolate chip.

It’s hard to believe that this creamy treat that is so readily available today was once a rare and exotic dessert mostly enjoyed by the elite. This began to change around 1800 when insulated ice houses were invented. Ice cream production increased due to technological advances, leading to wider availability and spawning the American soda fountain shop, purveyors of ice cream sodas and sundaes.

Today we have access to ice cream from every supermarket and numerous specialty shops, but the best way to celebrate National Ice Cream Month is to make your own. A freshly churned batch of ice cream is a great way to bring together family and friends on a hot summer afternoon. Learn how to make delicious ice cream with “Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones” by Kris Hoogerhyde and Anne Walker.

The authors are founders of San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Creamery, which is well known for its small-batch, handcrafted, inventive ice cream, as well as for long lines around the block. Learn their secrets for taking such basic ingredients as milk, cream and eggs and transforming them into a cool, luscious treat. Go traditional or try one of the more creative combinations like Orange-Cardamom, Chai-spiced Milk Chocolate, Balsamic Strawberry , Malted Vanilla with Peanut Brittle and Milk Chocolate, or Honey Lavender. In addition, recipes are included for Bi-Rite’s famed cakes, cookies, crusts and sauces so you can create custom frozen treats.

While you’re waiting for your ice cream to churn, why not stay cool with a good book? “The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street: a novel,” by Susan Jane Gilman, tells the story of a tenacious woman and an ice cream empire. In 1913, little Malka Treynovsky flees Russia with her family, but not long after arriving in America, she is crippled and abandoned by her parents.

Taken in by an Italian ices peddler, she learns the secrets of his trade and begins to shape her own destiny. She transforms herself into Lillian Dunkle, “The Ice Cream Queen,” a celebrated television personality with an empire of ice cream franchises. Lillian’s rise to fame and fortune spans 70 years and is linked to the course of American history, from Prohibition to the disco days of Studio 54. But the conniving and profane Lillian Dunkle is nothing like the motherly persona she has created for the media, and when her past begins to catch up with her, her entire empire is at stake.

These books are available at Rowan Public Library, so crank up the ice cream churn and settle down for a cool afternoon.

Summer reading: Children ages 3 to 5 to rising fifth-graders are invited to participate in On Your Mark, Get Set, READ!! Summer Reading Program at all branches. Programs run through July 28. Cleveland reading program Thursdays, 10 a.m., Cleveland Town Hall, for all age groups.

Olympic Readers: rising first- though fifth-graders, July 25-28, Lee Street theatre.

Get in the Game … READ!: Open to rising sixth- through 12th-graders. All at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, headquarters; Wednesday, East; Thursday, South Regional; July 29, National Teen Lock-in, 6:30-10:30 p.m. Permission slip required.

Adult Summer Reading Program: Exercise Your Mind … READ! Program, July 25 at headquarters. Aug. 8, headquarters, Pass the Torch Trivia and Parade (end of Summer finale).

Summer movie series: Headquarters, Tuesdays, starting at 6:30 p.m. Free popcorn and lemonade served. July 26, “Invictus,” PG13. After Nelson Mandela becomes the president of South Africa, he tries to unite his country by asking the national rugby team to compete in and win the 1995 World Cup championship. July 20, South Rowan Regional, “Ice Castles”  PG13. A young skater with Olympic dreams is blinded in an accident and attempts to overcome the tragedy with the help of her loving boyfriend.

Book Bites Book Club: South (China Grove), Tuesday, July 26, 6-7 p.m. Free, open to the public. We discuss a different book each month and serve refreshments loosely related to the theme. “The Aviator’s Wife,” by Melanie Benjamin. Need a copy? Call 704-216-7731.

Displays: All three branches, lunch box collections and more.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second  language.