Weather: 52 degrees, grey skies
What I’m listening to: Walk Off the Earth
When I was in grade school in Southern California, living at grandma’s little white cottage on Orange Street with the shaded porch and bench-style porch swing, there were two kinds of ice cream trucks that would pass in front of the house in the summer months. There was the big white truck plastered with colorful pictures of popsicles and ice cream bars and candy, playing loud carnival music that would stay in your head for the remainder of the day. I’d watch as the neighborhood would come running, mostly barefooted, there would be a giddy commotion rising over the blaring music, and children all around would have their tongues stained red and orange by Big Stick popsicles in no time.
By contrast, the second wasn’t an ice cream truck at all, but a small, white, unmarked freezer cart on wheels, pushed on foot by a man ringing a pleasant little bell. Ding ding. Ding ding. I would approach the cart and the man would open the lid for me to select one of his Mexican paletas – ice pops made of real fruit and simply wrapped in clear plastic without branding or words. There were only a handful to choose from – I remember the red strawberry one with strawberry seeds in every bite, bright yellow pineapple with actual chunks of pineapple inside, the fragrant banana pop made with the ripest bananas, and my favorite one of all, the creamy white coconut one loaded with real coconut. I’d make my selection, pay the man, and I’d go running back to swing on the swing with coconut milk dripping down my arm as I ate, as the sound of the bell grew quieter and quieter in the distance before it disappeared. When I spotted this blog post by A Sweet Spoonful, I was immediately transported back. And I thought the ideas of toasting the coconut before adding it to the pops and steeping a vanilla bean in the coconut milk were both brilliant adaptations on the coconut paletas of my youth.
I want to give a shout out here to the awesome folks at Gold Heart Supply in Fairbanks, Alaska, who crafted this exquisite cutting board out of local birch. They make beautiful handcrafted wood housewares and sleek modern lighting, too. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram. Thank you, Gold Heart Supply, for this stunning piece of art. I will treasure it in my kitchen.