Intricacies and Beauty of Homemade Ice Cream

Over at the Mises blog, Jeffrey Tucker muses about the concept of what actual “homemade ice cream” is, what it would take to make it, in consideration of the nuances and intricacies of the division of labor. He asks, “is it really homemade?”

Definitely not.

Then there’s the problem of milk. I could buy a cow but that’s a lot of upkeep. I understand that you have to milk one of these things regularly whether you are making ice cream or not. And there’s the problem of feed and waste and many other issues. Raising and keeping this animal healthy might turn into a full-time job, with no time left over for making, much less enjoying, ice cream.

Of course you need refrigeration and ice, without which matters are rather hopeless. It took most all of recorded human history to invent the refrigerator, which only became common in American homes in the 1920s and 1930s, and so it is pretty presumptuous for me to assume that I could construct one on my own. Plus, these things run on electricity, and I thought I had dispensed with that in the name of authenticity. So long as I’m using electricity to store the milk and ice, why not just let electricity turn the crank too?

I’m back to plan A: get a generator. I’ll pretend not to notice the problem of making homemade gasoline to power it. After all, I could use a river (need to get one of those) or erect a giant windmill (prepare for dead bird carcasses to litter up the yard), but then there’s no power on windless days. How about a solar-based generator? Break out the Windex (can I make that at home too?). This is getting expensive.

Of course you need eggs, which means chickens, which I wouldn’t entirely rule out, but everyone I know who has tried to raise chickens for eggs eventually throws in the towel. It is a disgusting job, fully of unexpected headaches, like getting rid of varmints and keeping the chickens warm and buying expensive feeds and dealing with filthy critters and chicken coops.

It’s quite wonderful and beautiful, actually. All of the steps along the way, the people- the specialists, skilled and unique- as part of the equation, engineering the machinery, farming the cows and chickens, mining the salt.

Read all about it here.

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