Ice Cream Crank Off finale to 4-H Fair

ARGOS - Sugar, milk, eggs, cream, brown sugar, maple syrup, and nuts were some of the ingredients that made up the four competing recipes for this year's Ice Cream Crank Off.
Held at the Marshall County Fair since 1992, the competition has seen many variations on cherry, peach, rocky road, mint, and this year's flavor, maple nut.
With 60 minutes to freeze and serve up their cold treats, the makers got churning.
"Everybody has to make the same thing," said Don Morrison. He and his wife Eileen used toasted nuts to add an extra dimension to their concoction.
"[Eileen] just cranks till it gets stiffer, and then I'll take over. She volunteered."
According to Morrison, the trick to getting a good ice-cream recipe down is packing down the ice and waiting several hours before consuming it. The Morrison's were the only group to use a hand crank machine.
There are differing opinions on the best way to freeze the cream.
"You pack in the ice, pour in salt and water. The salt helps melt the ice faster," said Arthur Overmyer, who poured bottled water over his ice to help the freezing process. Arthur and his wife Wanda had competed for several years, as well as at the state level, using their electric crank.
Some however come for the fun of making ice-cream, like Mark Schwartz and his wife Barb, who brought their two children along.
"It's ice cream," Schwartz said with enthusiasm as to why his family was competing. "Ice cream is one thing we have in our house year round."
Schwartz's family used a nontraditional method, by pouring the recipe into a plastic ball, which has a compartment to pack the ice down in. The ball is then rolled back and forth, which mixes the ice milk around for freezing.
In addition to considering what goes into the recipe, the judges consider the smoothness and creaminess of the desert, as well as the flavor. After each competition, competitors are asked to suggest which flavor they would like to make for the coming year. The decision was not final.
Jack Thompson, the fourth and final competitor, had help from his young grandson Carlson Duff and his wife Kathryn.
"I've done it probably since they started," he said. "I've had different grand children help me since they started doing it." This year, it was Carlson's turn.
Thomson's recipe won first place for its consistency and strong maple flavor.

This article originally ran in the July 22 edition of the Pilot News.