The Curious Thing about Vanilla Ice Cream

Most of you know that my husband is a serious Ice Cream Maker.  Steve is a serious guy to begin with and he takes his ice cream very seriously. Especially vanilla ice cream. He reads textbooks about ice cream making, drives long distances to find just the right vanilla beans, compares his products to others, spends extra money on organic dairy products from small farms (keep in mind, this man comes from Dutch stock). Friends who come to dinner are automatically roped into a focus group to analyze dessert. They are given spoons, paper and pencil, and small scoops of ice cream for blind tasting. All this as Steve watches them carefully, trying to discern subtle reactions.

Recently, Steve attended Ice Cream School at Penn State. After the first day of class, he called home. “Today I learned that the American public has been lied to!” he said in holy outrage.

“About what in particular?” I asked politely.

“About the content of air in ice cream!”

Oh. That.

This ice cream thing is starting to get a wee bit ridiculous. Steve came back from Ice Cream School with brochures of ice cream machines that cost more than a new car. Now he’s hinting for a kitchen remodel to include space for this behemoth machine.

Not a chance.

But! I digress.

Steve does make delicious ice cream. He’s experimented with all kinds of flavors: salted caramel, peanut butter chocolate, strawberry. Generally, he’s pleased with the results. But not with vanilla. As of this writing, he’s on vanilla recipe #46 (No exaggeration!) He won’t stop until he’s made the equivalent of Haagen-Daaz’s premium line of five ingredients, called “Five.”

You might think it sounds bland, but a good (really, really good) vanilla ice cream is intricate, with depth and richness. Here’s the curious thing: it is foundational to all other ice cream flavors. Get it right and you’ve got your base.

Getting it right, though, is hard work. Vanilla is so pure that it reveals mistakes and inconsistencies. Strong flavors like chocolate and coffee can mask them, but not vanilla. Small things affect its quality. Vanilla has utmost integrity.

Sometimes I think that we Christians need to be more like vanilla ice cream. Our walk needs to match up with our talk. We need to beware of gray areas. Nothing harms the kingdom of God more than hypocrisy. Just like with vanilla ice cream, small choices add up and affect our integrity: gossip, lies, shortcuts.

In the early church, the Apostle Paul instructed Timothy, his spiritual son in the ministry, to “…keep himself pure” (1 Tim. 5:22, niv). Timothy’s integrity mattered to the young church. It matters to our modern world. Paul was reminding Timothy that he was responsible for his daily choices, and those choices would be noticed. We are faced with choices every single day-some big, but most small. Those choices might seem benign, unimportant, but they add up. They affect the quality of our witness.

Integrity isn’t easy. Not with us, not with vanilla ice cream, either. (Why else would it take my husband forty-six tries… and counting?) It’s all about choices and intention. But if you’ve ever had amazing vanilla ice cream, well, the product speaks for itself.

Okay … with all this talk of ice-cream I’ve decided to host an “I’m Going Green” Ice-Cream Giveaway. 

ENTER HERE and you’ll have a chance at receiving some delicious Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (delivered RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR!) and her TERRIFIC ice cream cookbook. (This ice cream was the inspiration for my husband and daughter to become obsessed with ice cream making.)  

About Suzanne

Suzanne Woods Fisher writes bestselling, award winning fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. Her interest in the Plain People began with her Old Order German Baptist grandfather, raised in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne's app, Amish Wisdom, delivers a daily Amish proverb to your phone or iPad. She writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazine. She lives with her family in California and raises puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind. To Suzanne's way of thinking, you can't take life too seriously when a puppy is running through your house with someone's underwear in its mouth.


  1. Audra says:

    He hasn't tasted Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla has he? You might be in for even bigger problems then!

  2. momadawn says:

    This reminded me of a sermon I heard once about being a vanilla Christian and how we have to have the right foundation to our beliefs. Great story and may your husband find his perfect receipe soon!

  3. Faith and Family Reviews says:

    This is great, Suzanne! 🙂 Thanks for a fun giveaway!

  4. Rhonda Schrock says:

    This makes me laugh, Suzanne. As you know, I've apparently married a budding ice cream fanatic. Ben and Jerry, eat your hearts out! 🙂

    Boy, would I love to try this ice cream. Of course, the only way I get any is if I huddle into a corner of my dark closet (beside that purse I hate) and go at it like a chicken poacher. Too many other ice-cream-loving teeth in my house.

    Happy Friday!

  5. Jean Smith says:

    I love ice cream, but it goes right to my thighs. But i eat it all the same.

  6. Debora M. Coty says:

    Awesome post, Suzanne – the comparison to the Christian faith is stellar. But I remain unconvinced about the existence of perfect vanilla ice cream – I'm afraid I'm a diehard choco-fanatic and would have to be convinced. A pint of Steve's best would probably do it 🙂

    Your BWP (Best Writer Pal),

    Debora M. Coty

  7. Ronda Ferry says:

    Used to make homemade icecream tried a electric ice cream maker wasnt happy with it so use the grank icecream maker but get tired before done will make again when have help to grank .

  8. Suzanne says:

    Audra–We have tried Blue Bell! We used to live in Houston. Blue Bell is fantastic ice cream. Loved the other comments about ice cream loving! Thanks, ladies!

  9. Mona says:

    Vanilla Bean is my favorite ice cream along with Black Walnut…..they both are great….maybe your husband needs to try making Black Walnut…..he would love it…..

  10. Suzanne says:

    I'll pass that on that suggestion to him, Mona. Any other flavors, ladies?

  11. karenk says:

    i love ice cream 😉

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com