Number One Wife

My father and I made ice cream again yesterday, this time vanilla.

It went rather swimmingly, but I was a bit too involved in the process to remember to photodocument. We started off by making the custard, first bringing cream (2 cups light cream) and a vanilla bean (1) to an almost boil, and then removing the vanilla bean and pulverizing it to a fine grain before adding it back in (through a fine strainer to remove big particles). After the cream had cooled for a bit, we stirred it slowly in with an egg yolk (8) and sugar (1/2 cup) mixture (beaten until it was pale yellow and a little stiff) and then cooked it over a double boiler until it had thickened. We took it off the heat, added a cup of cream, and put it into the fridge to cool.

After it had cooled sufficiently, we poured it into the ice cream canister and churned it for the rich, creamy, vanilla-rific results. This was a very eggy ice cream, with a strong vanilla feeling about it. Essentially fantastic. A little difficult to describe, since it was unlike any vanilla ice cream most of my readers have had.

So we brought it into town to share, bringing it to the house of the Girlfriend, because she was doing some work on her building. When we arrived, she was nowhere to be found, so we shared the ice cream with her handyman, who was very grateful for the creamy break in his day.

After we washed up and were ready to head out to further adventures, she returned–some friends of hers had come up from Los Angeles and she had taken them to see Mendocino. She introduced us to them in a flurry of Mandarin and English.

“This is Mr [Lee],” she said.

“A pleasure to meet you,” I replied, extending my hand. “I hope you had a nice drive.”

“And this is Mrs. [Lee],” she said, introducing me to an older woman.

I offered my hand as well and she took it in birdlike wispy fingers for a brief moment.

“And this is Mrs. [Lee],” she said, introducing me to the other woman of the party.

“Everyone here is Mrs. [Lee],” my father said.

“Tee hee,” said the Mrs. Lee.

“And this is Mr. [Lee],” she said, introducing me to the youngest of the party.

“George,” he said when I shook his hand.

We broke out her bowls again and served ice cream to all.

My father and I talked to the George about learning Chinese and dumplings while the Girlfriend talked to the others–Mr. Lee and his two wives. Number One Wife passed on the ice cream, but everyone else ate with glee.

Apparently Mr. Lee makes heavenly bao tze. I’m jealous, as I am fairly certain I could live on dumplings alone if life offered the opportunity. Sometimes it seems tempting to marry into a family of dumpling makers just for the side benefits.

After the ice cream had been seriously diminished, the guests continued on their way North, the Girlfriend helping Number One Wife into the car while Number Two Wife climbed in the other side. I never did learn their first names.

[ice cream]