Yesterday, I stayed home from work with what turned out to be a migraine. Usually when these hit, I can't read or watch television, so I have to find simple, uncomplicated tasks to perform when I'm not trying to sleep it off. I decided that I'd clean out the freezer a bit.
Ice cream is the worst. I like ice cream, but I don't eat it that often. I prefer chocolate, but I keep vanilla on hand for the dogs. I'd allowed a couple of partial containers to get a bit freezer-burned, so I dragged them out into the sink to thaw. This was a national brand that touts its "natural ingredients", so I expected it to melt into a milk-like consistency so I could pour the contents out before throwing away the cartons.
About three hours later, what I had was a viscous, gelatinous semi-solid glop that sort of scared me. So I guess that's what all these rosins and stabilizing agents do...if the milk used is skim (this wasn't diet ice cream) it probably needs something to give it a little body, but this bordered on ridiculous. This wasn't food; there was a reenactment of The Blob going on in my kitchen sink!
Ever since my parents put me in SFU's nutrition class behavior-modification diet in grad school, I've been an avid label-reader, but I just didn't realize how much gummy crap there was in this ice cream or what it actually did under certain conditions like, say, melting. If it won't melt to a completely fluid state, my first thought is that it's just this side of indigestible. Being from the country and having taken part in more than one church ice cream social in my lifetime, I know that most ice cream should be comprised of the following: milk, eggs, sugar, and flavoring, with rock salt and ice used in the ice cream freezer's outer compartment to bring it to a solid state.
Nowhere in my experience does a homemade ice cream recipe include, say, guar gum. There are some things we just weren't meant to eat, people, and I strongly suspect that guar gum is one of 'em- where would you even GET guar gum for home cooking? Oh, wait. You don't need it when you make your own.
Dr. AiredaleParent worked for the FDA as a manufacturing inspector before he went to med school- that means he's the guy who checked for rat poop and spider eggs in food and drug manufacturing plants. He can still quote the permissible insect particulate matter percentages for ketchup off the top of his head, so you can imagine that I've heard a lot about what's in our food. My favorite teacher, Marie Bloyd, also insisted that I read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, the novel that galvanized Teddy Roosevelt to push Congress for regulatory oversight of the food and drug industries. After reading it, I hit Dad up with about a million questions...which is how I was able to gross out one of my least-favorite English teachers as she prepared to wolf down a hamburger.
I also cook, which is why all these bizarre expanders and stabilizers offend me. If I don't know what an ingredient is, chances are most other people won't either. It's food, not a chemistry experiment! After the pet food protein scandals, one of my Airedales developed a skin condition related to grains in dog food, so I also started reading dog food labels really closely (I switched to an expensive grain-free brand that's made mostly from duck and brown rice. Yes, my dogs eat better than I do). If I wouldn't eat it, you guessed it, people, I'm not gonna feed it to my dogs. Little did I realize when I reached that conclusion that this would include ice cream intended for humans. You learn something new every day!