Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book
We recently had the best ice cream of our lives at the Dutchmen Dairy in a tiny town called Sicamous (population 3,100) about 500 kilometres from Vancouver. The ice cream shop is part of their dairy, and their milk products find their way from the cow to freezer within 24 hours; the freshness is incredible. As ice cream fans, we’ve searched far and wide for something that comes close locally – to no avail. So the Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book could not have been released at a better time with about 50 recipes instructing us on how to recreate their exotic and cheekily named flavours like Red Hot Banana, Elvis (The Fat Years) and Harvey Milk and Honey in the comfort of our own homes.
Humphry Slocombe – the brainchild of Jake Godby, a former pastry chef at Coi, and Sean Vahey, a Four Seasons hospitality alum – is something of an ice cream phenomenon with more than 300,000 Twitter followers and daily queues out the door. Jake and Sean’s three-and-a half year old scoop shop is located in the Mission District of San Francisco, an area burgeoning with some of the most happening food in North America, but also littered with needles and condoms. What does the shop’s name refer to, you might be wondering? Humphry Slocombe is named after 2 characters on the BBC cult series Are You Being Served?, a name the authors describe as having been conceived “loosely following the ‘how to come up with your drag queen name’ formula of taking references from your past and putting them together”. This logic gives you a sense of the sassy, tongue-in-cheek sensibility that infuses their establishment as well as their book which serves up recipes to make their cult flavours at home as well as the story of the shop’s humble origins and the colourful lives of the owners with endearing honesty and good humour.
For those of you who are already thinking making ice cream sounds beyond your culinary reach, rest assured, each recipe was tested on the bottom-of-the-line Cuisinart ice cream machine that you can purchase for a modest sum; reassuringly their instructions are also promised to be “idiot tested, idiot approved”. The book lays out the basics on how to make an ice cream base from the get go: 1) heat milk and cream; 2) mix eggs and sugar; 3) stir everything together over heat; 4) cool and freeze. And voilà, the Humphrey Slocombe team have given you the theory behind making this seemingly complicated dessert. Once familiar with this foundation, you can make any of their unique, but always delicious-sounding flavours, including Chocolate Smoked Salt, Baracky Road (an ode to the 44th President of the United States, first made on the day of his inauguration), and Rosemary’s Baby (a combination of pine nuts, olive oil and fresh rosemary). The book also contains recipes for their signature inclusions, the delicious lumps and bumps that populate their flavours including their bacon peanut brittle which looks pretty darned tasty all on its own and their Corn Flake cookies which are an integral part, along with bourbon, of their trademark Secret Breakfast. While the duo has been accused of making weird and wacky ice cream, Jake states their guiding principle succinctly: “I only make ice cream I think tastes good”.