It wasn’t Sunday afternoon if you didn’t stroll down to Dr. Darden’s drug store for a little social life and a scoop or two of his wonderful ice cream. He made it himself, chopping bits off of the ice block, mixing it with salt and tossing it into the wooden tub, then churning patiently, whistling while he worked, until the luscious confection was ready to serve. Vanilla and chocolate were the weekly staples, but every week a new special flavor was adopted or invented. It might be “spice,” fragrant with cinnamon and nutmeg, or fig, strawberry, banana, pineapple, rum raisin, tutti frutti, caramel, peanut butter . . . even fruit cake for Christmas.
Hand-churned ice cream is hard work, but no doubt Dr. Darden enjoyed the break from his weekday routine. In the early years of the twentieth century he was the only black doctor within a thirty-mile radius and he often worked eighteen-hour days. Continue reading