Friday, July 4, 2014

Why Handmade: Ice Cream

by Lynn Mohney of Prunella’s Workshop

Morse Code Bracelet by Lush Beads Industrial

Happy Independence Day! How will you be celebrating the Fourth of July? I think of today as a day of hot sun, swimming, barbeques, watermelon and fireworks. Families and friends join to have a rocking good time with music and fun. It’s a day of relaxing and partying. And of course, one must not forget the ice cream.

Chocolate Gelato print by The Patterned Peacock

My favorite flavor growing up was strawberry. Now I tend to lean towards black raspberry with dark chocolate chip, or anything with mocha. The kids prefer chocolate. I have always preferred my ice cream to come from small farms where the ice cream is made fresh by hand every day; however, only recently have I considered the significance of this. I remember days as a child running out to the ice cream truck, my tooth fairy in hand. Who didn’t enjoy an ice cream sandwich as part of their school lunch. (I’m not sure schools still allow that!) Never considered at the time, how chock full of preservatives those manufactured prepared food really were. Just some (but not all) ingredients on a popular ice cream truck favorite: Tapioca maltodextrin, propylene glycol monostearate, guar gum, monoglycerides, carboxymethylcellulose, carrageenan, and natural and artificial flavors. Yummy. The ingredients in homemade ice cream? Whipping cream, half and half cream, sugar, and flavor of your choice. There are variances, of course. For example, some flavors are custard based and have egg, but you get the picture. You can pronounce the ingredients. Does this mean we never get ice cream from the neighborhood truck? Of course not.

What does ice cream have to do with handmade arts and crafts? Perhaps very little. However, it does illustrate a perk to purchasing from a person who actually made the item you are purchasing. By hand making ice cream daily, the crafter avoids unnecessary preservatives and fillers our bodies don’t need. We receive a fresher product, which never sat on a semi to be delivered from the manufacturer to different distribution centers, only to eventually get to your ice cream man, school, grocery store, etc. When we buy handmade crafts directly from the creator, we have access to more information about the product. We know who made it. The artisan can specifically explain what materials were used, and where and how they were obtained. Try asking your local department store who made their products, and how it was done!

Please See, one of a kind mixed media encaustic collage, on canvas, by Jessica Burko

Many artists have moved to using recycled and/or repurposed materials when available for their work. Where handmade ice cream is better for our bodies (OK, maybe our bodies don’t need ice cream ever, but it is a nice treat) handmade crafts can be better for the environment. While we may still like to run out to the ice cream man, and there are times when the department store is just the way to go, we should try to go handmade when ever we can!

4th of July, original mixed media collage by McDonald Mixed Media

What are your plans for the holiday? Are you going to see a firework display? (There’s something I wouldn’t want to do by myself!) Maybe light up the grill for a barbeque? I’ll bet you are thinking about a nice big ice cream cone by now. What flavor?

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