Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2126239-The-True-Story-of-Ice-Cream
Rated: E · Short Story · Family · #2126239
Response to prompt: "Write a fantastical account of the making of ice cream."
As the Iturbe family finished dinner, Mamá brought little Isabel's favorite dessert, dulce de leche ice cream.

"Mamá!" exclaimed Isabel between bites. "This is so good!" Soon, she was finished, and a perplexed look crossed her face. "Where does it come from?"

"From the market, of course," Papi cut in knowingly.

"Lázaro!" Mamá responded, shaking her head. "She knows that."

Isabel cocked her head at Papi. "So the people at the market make the ice cream?" She squinted at the now empty carton. "Our market's not called 'Helados México,' is it?"

"Since when do you know how to read?" Papi blurted incredulously.

"I'm six years old already," the child patiently told her father. "Of course I can read."

"Lázaro..." Mamá sighed once again before turning to her daughter. "No, mija, the people at the market don't make the ice cream. 'Helados Mexico' is just a brand they sell."

"So do you know where the ice cream comes from, Mamá?" Isabel persisted.

"No, mija," Mamá admitted apologetically. "But I bet Abuelita Juanita might know. We can ask her tomorrow."

The next morning, Mamá and Isabel made the short trip to Abuelita Juanita's. "Abuelita!" Isabel exclaimed delightedly, throwing her arms around her grandmother. "Mamá said you know everything about ice cream!"

"She did, did she?" Abuelita Juanita chuckled. "María..." she began, raising an eyebrow at her only daughter.

"Mami, Isabel wants to know where ice cream comes from," Mamá explained.

"That is so easy," Abuelita Juanita responded with a wave of her hand. "Come, child, and listen."

Wide-eyed, Isabel listened as Abuelita Juanita began her story:

Long, long ago, before there were any markets, there lived a man called Don Isidro. Don Isidro was a traveler. He went all over the world with his dog, Paquito. People everywhere liked Don Isidro because he told funny stories and helped out in all the towns he visited.

One day, in the hot, hot summer, Don Isidro sat down to rest. He had worked all day in the field, taking the peaches off the trees and putting the good ones into a basket. The ladies liked Don Isidro and Paquito, but even Paquito wasn't up to doing tricks on this day. After a long swim in the river, Don Isidro and Paquito spent the night under the stars. And Don Isidro, being a smart man, started thinking: "What if there was something tasty I could enjoy on a day like this?"

As the days passed, and the seasons changed, Don Isidro kept looking for ideas. Then, on the first snowfall of the winter, it came to Don Isidro: He'd make some sort of snow treat. "¡Ay de mí!" he exclaimed one afternoon as he and Paquito watched the snow from a cave.

Don Isidro was a smart man, as I said. So he took a big bucket and left it outside to catch the snow. The next morning, the bucket was full of snow. For some reason, Don Isidro decided he wanted to taste the snow.

"Then what happened?" Isabel cut in excitedly. "Snow...doesn't sound very good." She wrinkled her nose disapprovingly.

"Isabel!" her mother shushed her.

"I needed to catch my breath anyway," Abuelita Juanita told her. "I wonder if anyone here might like some ice cream," she added with a twinkle.

"Me! Me!" Isabel exclaimed.

"Isabel..." her mother sighed. "It's too early for ice cream."

"Nonsense!" Abuelita Juanita sniffed, handing Isabel a small bowl of vanilla ice cream. "Here, Isabel, eat that while you listen." She sat down, cleared her throat, and continued:

Anyway, as I said, Don Isidro wanted to taste the snow. But it didn't really taste like anything, so he was disappointed. It was still winter, so he kept traveling and collecting snow everywhere he went. And then he got to a small farm town. I don't remember the name, mind you.

Everyone wanted to know what type of silly person collects snow in a bucket and carries it around with him. Don Isidro bowed to the mayor, Doña Manriquez, and told her about his plan to make a snow treat. But that lady laughed in his face. Such a strange one, this Don Isidro. But the other ladies in town liked his tricks with Paquito, so they let him stay.

Soon, all the ladies in town were collecting big buckets of snow. It wasn't long before all the buckets of snow were lined up in a row in the middle of Doña Manriquez's farmland. (Doña Manriquez was the richest woman for miles around.) Anyway, Doña Manriquez had a washtub in her barn. So she told everyone to dump the snow in the washtub.

Next, she somehow got Paquito to bark a folk song to the snow. Naturally, the kids thought this was just too funny. But then Doña Manriquez had all those kids hold hands and dance around the washtub full of snow. Next, all the other ladies in town said a prayer to their Dios over the snow. At the end, the men took the washtub outside and set it under the stars and the crescent moon. Doña Manriquez sent everyone home for the night.

The next morning, at sunrise, the townspeople came back to Doña Manriquez's farm. To their great surprise, the snow was gone. In its place was a strange substance, as soft and white as snow. Just to be safe, Doña Manriquez took a small scoop and poured some of this white substance into a bowl for Paquito. The happy dog licked his lips as he finished this treat. "No more for you," Don Isidro told him sadly.

"He can have what's left," Doña Manriquez nodded. She instructed everyone to bring a bowl and take one big scoop of the cold treat. Once this was done, Paquito licked the leftovers from the washtub. The townspeople were amazed at this new discovery.

"So what do we call it?" Don Isidro wanted to know. "It's white like snow, but creamy like milk."

"Snow milk!" one of the little boys yelled out.

"That's a silly name!" his big sister told him.

"Of course, we must take a vote," Doña Manriquez decided. We will cast our ballots here, in my barn, in one week."

Don Isidro scratched his beard. "You don't suppose we can make this again? Just so we understand how to do it, of course." He had another idea.

"Yes, we must make it again," the townspeople agreed.

One week later, Don Isidro and the townspeople again brought their buckets of fresh snow to Doña Manriquez's. Again, the children danced, Paquito barked, and the women prayed. And again, they left the snow under the stars. But this time, the moon was full and bright. Doña Manriquez once again sent everyone home for the night. In the morning, everyone came back to vote and to see what had become of the snow.

This time, the snow had turned into a thicker white substance than before. "Doña Manriquez, you see the little white flecks, yes?"

"Of course I see them. Your dog can taste test this first, can he not?" She once again took a scoop, but this time, she couldn't pour the white treat. Rather, it kept the shape of the scoop as Doña Manriquez tapped the treat into a bowl for Paquito.

Again, the dog was all too happy for a treat. Once the townspeople saw that this treat was good and safe, they all took turns scooping some from the washtub. As everyone finished, Doña Manriquez announced, "We will now vote on what to call this. Write your idea on a slip of paper, and leave it here."

Since Don Isidro was not one of the townspeople, he got to count the votes. "Who will call this 'milk from the moon'?" he spat. "Silly, these townsfolk." He shook his head as he finished tallying the votes. He would tell Doña Manriquez his idea.

"So what shall we call this new delicacy?" the mayor wanted to know. "Surely the name is not 'snow milk,' I hope," she laughed.

"No, Doña Manriquez. The name is not one that I would have thought of. But the ladies of the town want to call it 'ice cream' because it is cold like ice yet creamy like the finest milk."

"I like it," the mayor agreed. "It shall be called ice cream, then."

"And that's where ice cream came from!" Abuelita Juanita concluded with a flourish.

"So ice cream comes from snow?" Isabel wondered, still not convinced.

"That was many, many years ago," her grandmother explained patiently. "There were no freezers back then."

"I see. Don Isidro was pretty clever, wasn't he?" the child finally smiled admiringly.
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