Have an Ice Cream Party

Summer's here at last. The pool's open. The weather's scorching hot. What could be better for an afternoon treat than a big bowl of ice cream? A big bowl of ice cream and lots of friends—that's what! Read on for frosty facts and tasty treats.

Did you know:

-People can get jobs as professional ice cream tasters? You can learn more about this and how to plan your own tasting party in Vicki Cobb's book, The Scoop on Ice Cream.

-To make 750 gallons of rich, chocolaty ice cream, it takes 400 pounds of dried cocoa?

-Ben & Jerry gives the definitive scoop on how two guys started their famous ice cream factory.

-The first ice cream cone was made at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904—or was it?

-Everybody wants credit for ice cream's crunchy companion. Check out its mysterious history in Elaine Greenstein's Ice-Cream Cones For Sale!

-According to tradition, desserts made with ice and fruit juices were enjoyed long ago in Baghdad, China, India, Rome, and Arabia.

-Ice cream made with milk (once called "milky sorbet") is believed to have first been made in Italy in the 17th century.

-Ice cream may have been on the world's menu for a long time, but a carton sure does disappear fast around the house. Have fun doing it yourself by giving these recipes a try on any hot, summer day:

Quick Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe
This is ideal for the kids or anyone wanting something quick and delicious!

5 tablespoons of cocoa
1 can (large) condensed milk
1/2 pint (250ml) milk

Mix together the milk and condensed milk. Dissolve the cocoa in a little hot water. When fully dissolved stir it into the milk/condensed milk mixture. Transfer the whole mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
From ice-cream-recipes.com

Berry Orange Sorbet
Ask for a grown-up's help with the simmering and blending.

1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed raspberries or blackberries
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the water and all of the sugar. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and continue simmering it for about 3 minutes, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool.
Put the berries and the remaining 1/4 cup of water into the bowl of a food processor, and puree them for 30 seconds. Strain the puree to remove the seeds.
In a pitcher, stir together the cooked syrup, the orange and lemon juices, and the seedless berry puree. Pour the mixture into two ice-cube trays, and freeze until firm (generally 6 or more hours). A pitcher or a mixing bowl with a spout will make filling the ice-cube trays easier and neater.
When you're ready to serve the sorbet, chill serving dishes in the freezer, and briefly chill your food processor bowl and blade as well. Then transfer the fruit cubes to the food processor and pulse them, in short bursts, to make a smooth sorbet. Spoon the sorbet into the chilled dishes and serve immediately. Makes about 6 servings. From FamilyFun.com

Can't get off the couch after all that ice cream? Turn off the telly, and turn on to one of these terrific books—featuring flavors for all ages.

For Young Ones

Chuggington: Wilson and the Ice Cream Fair (DVD)
In this collection, the brave young trainee makes a special delivery to the ice cream fair, helps Frostini create a new flavor for the mayor's banquet, and tries to prevent a massive ice cream meltdown on the hottest day of the year. There's fun in the ice cream factory, a brave resuce at the Safari Park and an adventure in the ice caves, too!

Dizzy Izzy by Jon Scieszka
Izzy the ice cream truck tries to get himself dizzy.

From Milk to Ice Cream by Ali Mitgutsch
This picture book shows how ice cream goes from cow to cone.

Wemberly's Ice Cream Star by Kevin Henkes
A mouse named Wemberly, who worries about everything, finds that patience, just like a frosty treat, will go a long way.

Treats for More Advanced Tastes

The Ice Cream Scoop by Carolyn Keene
A taste test for a science project turns into a triple-dip mystery as Nancy tries to save the best ice cream parlor in town.

The Magic Moscow by Daniel Pinkwater
Mad fun with Edward, grandson of a famous television sled dog, and his owner, Steve, who manages a Hoboken ice cream stand.

Tingleberries, Tuckertubs and Telephones:A Tale of Love and Ice-cream by Margaret Mahy.
A madcap adventure story portrays a terribly shy orphan who is given a chance to transform himself, fall in love, and defeat a gang of ruffian pirates with the help of tingleberry ice cream and other unusual objects.