August 4th, 2009


Recipe: "Merry Cherries Ice Cream"

Today I spotted some Rainier cherries at the grocery store, so I took the opportunity to make another ice cream that Doug requested. If you like the sound of this one, plan to make it now, because the Rainiers won't be around much longer.

Merry Cherries Ice Cream

1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup diced maraschino cherries
1/2 cup diced Bing cherries
3/4 cup diced Rainier cherries


The measurements call for diced cherries. You’ll need to start with whole cherries – the Bings and Rainiers should be fresh – and dice them right before adding them to the ice cream machine.

In medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until sugar dissolves completely.

Turn ice cream machine ON. Pour in the half-and-half mixture. Set timer for 20 minutes.

When the timer goes off, dice the maraschino cherries until you have 1/4 cup, and add them to the ice cream maker. Then dice the Bing cherries until you have 1/2 cup, and add them. Finally dice the Rainier cherries until you have 3/4 cup, and add them.

Set timer for 5 minutes. When it goes off, turn the ice cream machine OFF. Transfer the ice cream to a container and stir gently to make sure cherries are evenly distributed. Freeze until solid.


This recipe was a request by my partner Doug for an ice cream with high contrast between the base and the fruit, using a combination of maraschino cherries, Bing cherries, and Rainier cherries. The ice cream base turns out a fairly bright pink.

I used fresh Bing and Rainier cherries, and did not macerate them, so that the juice would have less impact on the ice cream base. However, this leaves the cherries with more structural integrity, so it’s important to dice them down into small pieces to prevent them from freezing into rocks. I diced mine by pitting the cherries, slicing them in half, slicing the halves several times vertically, then cutting each slice into several bits.

Maraschino cherries are preserved in a jar. Bing cherries are large dark red cherries with dark red flesh, available through much of summer and occasionally at other times of year. Rainier cherries are yellow with a red blush and have yellow or white flesh; they are very sweet, but only available for a brief time in mid to late summer. So the opportunity to make this ice cream is limited by the availability of the Rainier cherries. Grab ‘em if you see ‘em.

Poetry Fishbowl Open!

Starting now, the Poetry Fishbowl is open! (Net connection was down this morning, repairman has come and gone, so hopefully the connection will stay live through today's fishbowl.) I will be checking this page periodically throughout the day. When people make suggestions, I'll pick some and weave them together into a poem ... and then another ... and so on. I'm hoping to get a lot of ideas and a lot of poems. (The permanent landing page for the Poetry Fishbowl project is here.)

In this online version of a Poetry Fishbowl, I begin by setting a theme; today's theme is stages of life, selected by the audience in a recent poll. I invite people to suggest characters, settings, and other things relating to that theme. Then I use those prompts as inspiration for writing poems.

EDIT: The poetry fishbowl is now closed. Thank you all for visiting.
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Poem: "The Meaning of the Chain"

This poem was inspired and sponsored by talix18.

The Meaning of the Chain

This is the chain that links
mother to daughter,
father to son.

This is the chain of generations,
made up of
the links of our lives.

Yet there are
daughters who are not mothers,
sons who are not fathers.

The world needs also its
maiden aunts and
bachelor uncles.

In order for the chain
to have meaning,
people must be free to part from it.

Poem: "Life Beyond Life"

This poem was inspired and sponsored by minor_architect.

Life Beyond Life

It is disorienting at first,
I confess,
death being as exhausting as birth –
no wonder
it is a thing customarily reserved for elders.
The young have no idea how to handle it.

But an elder knows how to handle anything,
arriving with memories packed as tightly
as sensible spare socks in a backpack.
If nothing in the hereafter is quite familiar,
well, nothing is altogether unfamiliar either.
It is like this, it is like that –
there is always something for comparison.

And there are the people who need looking after,
of course, the kinfolks back on Earth
going about their young lives
and wishing desperately they could talk to
great-grandma, grandpa, mama
one more time.
So you watch them, and you listen to their woes,
and sometimes
you give the world a sharp smack with a stick
to make it behave.

Then there are the babies-to-be,
the souls waiting for birth into the world of the living,
who hover around newlyweds and cry for attention.
Someone has to help them along.
So you bundle them up carefully,
helping them squeeze into flesh as strange and stiff
as a new pair of shoes, asking them:
“Did you remember to pack your talents?
Do you have your virtues?” and then saying,
“Well, go pick some out. Hurry, or you’ll be late.
Your birth is here! Your birth is here!
No, just leave that, I’ll clean up – get going!
You don’t want to miss it.”
It’s not so different, really,
from the first day of school
and you and yours have gotten through those
time and enough.

It’s nothing you can’t handle,
rest assured;
being an ancestor is a lot like being an elder,
only it’s easier to whack the world when you need to
and you no longer have old bones to creak.