Fickle Mint

A red plastic fish taught me the meaning of fickle.

It was summer vacation on Cape Cod. It was also the early nineties–things like mood rings and peace signs charmed a near 10-year-old girl. We filled our days with all sorts of Cape Cod-y family reunion type activities: hours on the beach, giant clam bakes, clam chowder lunches, and hermit crab collecting with the cousins.  But it was the Brewster General Store that evoked the most excitement from my sister and me.

The store is a large former church with white siding, arched windows, and a country porch out front. Inside you’ll hear the sound of squeaking floor boards and the smell of old wood. In those days, my parents would head for the coffee, donuts, and newspapers while Gaelen and I paced the aisles of penny candy. When our brown paper bags were full, we moved to the toy section. The toys here were not the kind you would find at Toys ‘R Us or a store in the mall. To us, they were old school. Paddle ball instead of Nintendo. Marbles instead of Barbie. Jacob’s Ladder, Jacks, Kazoos, Bouncing Balls, almost nothing with batteries. We touched everything. Dipped our hands in the marbles and tried to play Jacks. Watched Jacob’s Ladder fall and bounced every ball in the room. Before our parents finished their coffee, we each picked one shiny object to take home with us. That year, I chose the Fortune Teller Miracle Fish.

image from zymetrical

The fortune telling fish was really just a piece of thin red plastic resembling an enlarged Swedish fish. But for me, it was the key to my future. I pulled the fish out of its plastic wrapper and placed it on my open palm. It writhed and curled as I hoped for “In Love” or at least “Indifference.” The sides of my fish curled together, and I checked the answer key. Curling sides = Fickle. Fickle? What the hell does that mean?

I asked my dad. So I change my mind a lot? I’m capricious? I’m inconstant? “I’d say so,” he answered. Now, whenever I hear the word fickle, I think of that day.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I have a fickle love for mint chocolate chip. Most often I’m indifferent. But this summer has been constant–mint chocolate chip ice cream is wonderful. With no ice cream maker, I had to use condensed milk for the base which makes the ice cream very sweet, but I think that you’ll like it.

1/2 bunch of mint leaves
2 cups of heavy cream
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 bag of chocolate chips

1. Heat cream and mint leaves in a small pan over medium heat until cream begins to simmer. Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cold.

2. Once cool, you will have mint infused cream. It’s just like steeping tea. Strain the cream into the bowl of a stand mixer or other large bowl and discard the mint leaves. Beat the cream until whipped using stand mixer, hand mixer, or a strong arm and a whisk.

3. Fold in the condensed milk and chocolate chips.

4. Cover and freeze. While freezing, I stirred my ice cream every hour or so in the beginning to make sure that all the chocolate chips didn’t sink to the bottom.


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