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A Different Kind of Ice Cream

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A Different Kind of Ice Cream

These unique frozen treats have a secret ingredient.

by Visakha-devi dasi

1985-01-07

How many brands of ice cream are there? Yet despite the great variety, the ingredients don’t vary much from one brand to another, nor does the finished product. Of course, each company does something a little different that supposedly makes their brand distinct and special. But ice cream that’s been prepared for Lord Krsna and offered to Him with love and devotion stands above all others.

Why this is so can be better understood if we consider a certain pastime of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu (Krsna Himself, who appeared in India five hundred years ago in the role of His own devotee to teach love of God through the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra). According to the Vedic text, Caitanya-caritamrta, once when Lord Caitanya went to see the Deity of Krsna in the temple, the Deity’s servant offered Him prasadam, food that had been offered to Krsna. The prasadam was so wonderful that its aroma alone, to say nothing of its taste, would fill one with spiritual ecstasy. Lord Caitanya tasted it and was fully satisfied. He considered, “Where has such a taste come from? Certainly it is due to the food’s having been touched by the nectar of Krsna’s lips.” Understanding this, Lord Caitanya felt the spiritual emotion of ecstatic love for Krsna.

He bade farewell to the servant of the Deity and returned to His own quarters, constantly remembering the prasadam He had tasted. That evening, when He sat down with His personal associates in a secluded place to discuss the pastimes of Krsna in great jubilation. He gave shares of the Deity prasadam to everyone present. As they savored the uncommon sweetness and fragrance of the prasadam, they were struck with wonder.

Lord Caitanya said, “The ingredients that made this prasadam are all material. Everyone has tasted these material substances before. However, in these ingredients extraordinary tastes and uncommon fragrances exist. Just taste them and see the difference in experience. Apart from the taste, even the fragrance pleases the mind and makes one forget any other sweetness besides its own. Therefore, it is to be understood that the spiritual nectar of Krsna’s lips has touched these ordinary ingredients and transferred to them all their spiritual qualities. . . . Now taste it with great faith and devotion.”

So, as Lord Caitanya pointed out, the ingredients of prasadam—sugar, cream, nuts, flavorings, and so on—are material; everyone has tasted them before. But prasadam, because Lord Krsna has tasted it, is spiritualized food. It transcends ordinary food. And this brings us to the missing ingredient, the “ingredient” that distinguishes the ice cream of Lord Krsna’s cuisine from ordinary ice cream.

The missing ingredient is devotion. Lord Krsna, being perfect, complete, and without needs, does not taste just any old ice cream. The consciousness of the persons preparing and offering the food is very important. Those who prepare the food for the Krsna Deity in the temple are devotees, so their motive is to satisfy the Lord with their service. They know Lord Krsna does not become hungry like ordinary persons and that He docs not actually require their food. But they also know that He nevertheless enjoys a loving exchange by accepting whatever His devotees offer Him. And whatever the Lord accepts becomes imbued with spiritual qualities and will benefit greatly whoever tastes it. The devotees, understanding the Lord’s deep desire to give this spiritual benefit to everyone, are also eager to widely and freely distribute the Lord’s remnants. Now compare that to the consciousness behind your store-bought ice cream.

Even a beginner in spiritual life ran gather ingredients, make ice cream for the pleasure of Lord Krsna, and offer it to Him with love and devotion. This incalculable quality of Krsna consciousness is missing from ordinary ice cream.

Just as prasadam is not ordinary food, so those who taste it are not ordinary people. Lord Caitanya explained, “Only persons who have the full mercy of Krsna are fortunate enough to receive the remnants of the Lord’s food. This nectar from Krsna’s lips is extremely difficult to obtain, but if one gets some, his life becomes successful.”

Every one of us has the opportunity to taste the nectar of krsna-prasadam. Why miss this opportunity? Although you and I may not be spiritually elevated and may not understand the spiritual qualities of prasadam, we’ll still appreciate how good it tastes. And the spiritual benefit will come anyway, even without our fully under standing it. What’s there to lose?

(Recipes by Yamuna-devi dasi)

Quick-and-Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 2 hours
Freezing time: 6 to 10 hours
Servings: 8

2 cups heavy whipping cream (36% to 40% milk fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon kewra essence
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

1. Combine the ingredients in a large bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

2. Beat the mixture until it holds firm peaks. Spoon into any metal freezer container and still-freeze until firm; then offer to Krsna. The freezing is hastened by using metal rather than glass or plastic containers.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

1985-01-08A perfect dessert for the summer, when berries are vine-ripened, bursting with flavor and natural sweetness. With this recipe a small quantity of berries goes a long way. Best if made the day before serving.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Freezing time: 10 to 12 hours
Servings: 6

2 cups sliced strawberries, washed and drained
¼ cup powdered sugar, measured then sifted
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
½ cup light whipping cream, chilled
½ cup sliced strawberries for garnishing

1. Combine the berries, sugar, orange juice, and lemon juice in a blender and puree. Beat the chilled creams in a bowl until thick, but not stiff; blend with the strawberry puree.

2. Transfer the mixture into a metal freezer container, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and freeze for 10 to 12 hours until solid. About 1 hour before serving, place the ice cream in the refrigerator to soften slightly. Garnish with sliced strawberries, and offer to Krsna.

Banana Nut Ice Cream

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour
Freezing time: 8 hours
Servings: 8

¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
5 ripe bananas
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons superfine sugar
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup walnuts, chopped fine

1. Combine the condensed milk and cream in a large bowl and chill, covered, for 1 hour.

2. Puree the bananas in a blender or press them through a sieve to yield a puree. Then thoroughly mix the lemon juice, sugar, nutmeg, and nuts into a smooth mixture.

3. Beat the cream mixture until it forms soft peaks. Add the banana mixture and whip lightly. Pour into freezer containers or trays and still-freeze until firm.

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

A recipe for ice cream that is churned by hand or made in an electric ice cream machine. The ice cream melts quickly upon sitting and tends to become crystalline when stored for long in the freezer, yet when fresh, it is an old-fashioned favorite.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 2 or 3 hours
Freezing time: as allotted by manufacturer
Servings: 10

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups light whipping cream
1 cup superfine sugar
1 three-inch-long vanilla bean

1. Combine the light cream, vanilla bean, and sugar in a medium-size saucepan. Heat and stir over medium heat until the sweetener is thoroughly dissolved, or for approximately 5 to 7 minutes.

2. Remove and cool to room temperature. Remove the vanilla bean.

3. Combine the light and heavy cream in a 1-quart bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

4. Pour into the freezing unit and follow the manufacturer’s directions for freezing.

Variation: Fresh Coconut Ice Cream

Prepare as directed, but omit the vanilla bean and add 1 ½ cups fresh grated coconut pulp and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder Churn by hand, or freeze in an electric ice cream machine.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 2 to 3 hours
Freezing time: as allotted by manufacturer
Servings: 10

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups light whipping cream
1 cup superfine sugar
1 ½ cups fresh grated coconut (about ½ coconut)
½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground

Lemon or Orange Ice Cream

1985-01-09Preparation time: 15 minutes
Freezing time: 8 hours
Servings: 9

3 lemons or 2 oranges cup superfine sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream, well chilled
3 tablespoons ice water
yellow or orange food coloring, optional

1. Grate the rind from the lemons or oranges and set it aside. Squeeze and strain the juice from the fruit and combine it with the sugar. Heat the mixture in a small saucepan for one or two minutes, stirring constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved. Then cool to room temperature.

2. Combine the cream and iced water in a cool bowl and whip into soft peaks. Beat in the sweetened citrus juice, grated rind, and coloring if desired. Pour into freezer trays and still-freeze, whisking or beating after about 2 hours of freezing. Return to the freezer and repeat the beating in about 2 hours. Cover the tray and freeze until firm.

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