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Warm weather churns up memories of Dad

"Erwin Price would give you the shirt off his back, but don't ask him for ice cream." That was what people used to say about my Daddy, one of the kindest and most generous of men in cold weather.Come warm weather, he changed his personality.

Every Sunday, as soon as we got home from church, he locked the front door, pulled down the shades in front of the house and told Mother and me in no uncertain terms not to answer the door. He wanted casual company to think we weren't home and go away.

On the back porch, in a cedar bucket packed with ice and salt, insulated in a week's worth of Atlanta Journals, was a gallon of ice cream, hand-cranked by Daddy from custard made early Sunday morning by Mother. A gallon of ice cream was, according to Daddy, barely enough for the three of us. He was right. By nightfall, the gallon was only a memory.

Vanilla, made with eight eggs and a quart of cream, was our favorite because it went so well with Mother's cakes, whether caramel, chocolate spice, fig jam, lemon cheese, angel or pound. Next on our ice cream hit parade came fresh peach, followed by Apricot Sherbet, which is one of precious few family heirlooms I can give out these days, without fear of being mugged by the anti-fat forces.

Made with a syrup of pureed canned apricots, orange and lemon juices and just a cup of cream, Apricot Sherbet is low enough in butterfat to be practically sinless but still good enough to hide from any friend or relative. I tried it out on my favorite young folks recently to see if it can still roll eyeballs backward in heads. It does.

Strawberry Cheesecake Sherbet is really buttermilk sherbet, but people like it better when they don't know the principal ingredient. It was not terribly popular in those happy fat-filled days of yore, being considered too plain. Today, it's a real winner, with only 3 _ count them _ 3 fat calories in almost a cup.

You'll have to forcibly restrain buttermilk snobs from inhaling this sherbet, provided you throw them off the principle ingredient by calling it Strawberry Cheesecake Sherbet. Both recipes are sized for a 2-quart (half-gallon) ice cream maker.

I wish my Daddy and Mother were here to help me eat a gallon of ice cream this Father's Day.

Apricot Sherbet

1 can (17 ounces) unpeeled apricot halves in syrup

} cup sugar

Juice of 2 medium oranges

Juice of 1 lemon

1 cup ({ pint) heavy cream

Drain apricots; reserve and measure juice, add water to make 2 cups liquid, pour into small saucepan. Add sugar to liquid and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes (or microwave reserved liquid with sugar on 100 percent power, in 4-cup microwave safe measure, until sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes). Refrigerate in covered container, with apricots, several hours or overnight.

To freeze sherbet, turn apricots with liquid into blender container, cover and process on medium 30 seconds, or until apricots are coarsely pureed. Pour into canister of ice cream maker, add orange and lemon juice and cream. Assemble ice cream maker and freeze sherbet according to manufacturer's directions.

Makes 8 (1 scant cup) servings of 235 calories each, including 85 fat calories. Hands-on time: 15 minutes. Freezing time: 20 to 30 minutes.

Strawberry Cheesecake Sherbet

1 quart (4 cups) nonfat cultured buttermilk

1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, drained and halved OR 2{ cups frozen

whole strawberries, partly thawed

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

In blender container, pour 1 cup buttermilk. Add strawberries and sugar; cover and process on medium speed until berries are coarsely pureed. Pour into canister of ice cream maker, stir in remaining buttermilk and vanilla. Assemble ice cream maker and freeze sherbet according to manufacturer's directions.

Makes 8 (1 scant cup) servings of 156 calories each, including 3 fat calories. Hands-on time: 10 minutes. Freezing time: 20 to 30 minutes.

Sinful Cheesecake Sherbet: Substitute 1 cup ({ pint) heavy cream for 1 cup of buttermilk, in Strawberry Cheesecake Sherbet.

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