Ice cream, movies and radio talk shows.

I’ve had enough of this hot summer. I know that in January I’ll be whining about the cold, but does it have to be 85 degrees and above every single day??  I’ve come up with a few ways to beat the heat and thought I’d share.

My first attempt at homemade banana ice cream.

1.  Make some ice cream or gelato. I’ve been craving Blood Orange Sorbetto ever since I had it at Anthony’s in the Italian Market in South Philly earlier this summer. So, a few weeks ago, I bought an ice cream maker so I could make it myself at home. With the never ending heat, it is the perfect summer for icy treats. Not sure what to make?  Go to the library and check out some of my fave resources for ice cream – The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato & Sorbetto, The Ice Cream Bible, and 500 Ice Creams, Sorbettos & Gelatos. Make a quick stop at the supermarket for ingredients and you’re set.  If you don’t have an ice cream maker, a blender or processor will do, too.

My hot weather friend. Sad, but true.

2.  Stay inside and watch some foodie movies ( ideally, with a big bowl of your homemade ice cream.) My recommendations?  Ratatouille, Chocolat, Tampopo, Big Night, Like Water for Chocolate and Babette’s Feast.

Radio host and author, Lorraine Ranalli. Photo courtesy of The Cape May County Herald

3.  Take an hour to relax and enjoy a radio show. I’m kinda tired of staring at the reruns on daytime TV. How about you?  So grab a glass of iced tea, sit back and listen to the radio (either a real radio or live-stream from your computer or other device.)  A  month or so ago, a  newish friend of mine, Lorraine Ranalli,  began a radio talk show based out of the eastern part of Pennsylvania. Called Cucina Chatter (also the  name of her blog,) the one hour long show is on every Tuesday from 1 until 2 PM.  The show is a mix of cooking and food stuff, humor, coupon tips, and various other bits and pieces.  It’s informative and entertaining.  Lorraine is a well known Philadelphia radio personality and also the author of Gravy Wars | South Philly Foods, Feuds & Attytudes (2009 Folger Ross Publications) a fun read about  Italian-American culture (and she includes some great recipes.). Put Lorraine’s show on your calendar for next Tuesday at 1 PM.

Stay cool and enjoy my ideas for taking a break from the heat!

The Penn State Creamery vs Biochem Lab

Yes, it’s true. Unlike the rest of my immediate family, I skipped lots of classes in college. My most vivid memory of this unimpressive habit was when, instead of going to my biochemistry lab (a super yawn,) I would sneak across the street to the Creamery and eat ice cream instead. As you might imagine, this didn’t help my biochem grade or my ability to squeeze into already too tight jeans.  But if you’ve ever had ice cream from the Berkey Creamery on the Penn State Main Campus, then you can understand why I did what I did.  Looking back, do I regret my ice cream instead of biochem choice?  Not at all. No way.

Although the Creamery has moved into a new spiffy building since my days at PSU,  the ice cream is just as good. I stopped during a recent visit through the State College area and, much to my delight, lots of the flavors were the same as 30 plus (yikes!!) years ago.

Flavors like Peachy Paterno, WPSU Coffee Break, Lion Tracks and Mint Nittany  incorporate Penn State memories into the name of the ice cream, but my favorites have always been two old faithfuls,  Bittersweet Mint and Coconut Chip.

Did I eat this entire ice cream cone? Yes, I did.

Besides serving generous cones, those accomodating folks in Happy Valley will pack half gallons of their frozen confections in dry ice  to take home. Yahoo!  A bit pricey, but oh, so worth it.  The Creamery also sells  top notch cheese, cream cheese, milk and other dairy products made by the Food Science Department.

My advice:  plan a trip to the Central Pennsylvania Festival for the Arts in mid-July and stop at the Berkey Creamery before you leave for the drive home.   Have a cone there and take a few half-gallons home with you.  No class skipping involved!

Exit 286 on the PA Turnpike . . . .

. . . one of the Lancaster exits  . . . and my car automatically turns off the highway, as if it just knows the right thing to do. During the past four years, since my older daughter has been in college in the Philadelphia area, I’ve made countless trips back and forth, and in the meantime, have exploring the hidden gems of Pennsylvania on the way.  A favorite is Lancaster County. Sprawling farms, rural backroads, rustic structures selling squash, tomatoes, whatever is in season. On this trip, I didn’t have much time to spare on my way home, but a stop at Boehringer’s Drive-in (3160 N. Reading Road in Adamstown) could certainly be squeezed in. It’s an old fashioned ice cream place  . . . a mile or so down the road from the now defunct Zinn’s Diner (who remembers that big Amish statue? where is he now?) I got to Boehringer’s at noon and the line for food was extending outside the building.  Lucky for me, there’s a separate window just for ice cream orders.  One of the great things about Boehringer’s besides the creamy, homemade ice cream is it sits near a sweet little  stream complete with ducks. Lots of picnic tables are set up for guests to eat and enjoy.  My favorite ice cream flavors (so far) are banana, butter brickle and black cherry. For a treat and necessary break from the Turnpike,  give it a try.


Adamsburg is the Antiques Capital of the USA  and even for me, who doesn’t give a hoot about Louis XIV chairs or Chippendale tables, a stop at a few shops is always a fun time (and you can walk off the ice cream calories.)  My current favorite is Lancaster County Antiques & Collectible Co-op (2255 N. Reading Rd, Denver PA.)  This store is jam-packed with interesting things. I always find inexpensive old food tins, cookbooks or utensils that tickles my fancy.  They have high priced stuff, too, but that’s not what I’m looking for. Last trip, I bought this  bright blue flour container to use as a lamp stand in my office.

This time,  Prince Albert     ( in a can, just like the jokes), an old vitamin powder jar and some nifty retro coffee mugs caught my eye.

This and That

After just about an hour off the main highway, I was  on my way back home.  Perfect way to end my trip.