Thursday, October 04, 2012

Cookbooks: Humphry Slocombe by Jake Godby, Sean Vahey and Paolo Lucchesi

Never mind the season or the temperatures out of doors, ice cream is a year ’round affair for many of us. Even so, I’m not sure anyone is ready for the “ice cream counterculture revolution.” And yet here it is.

Humphry Slocombe is an ice-creamery in San Francisco’s Mission district. (Of course. If you were going to start an ice cream counterculture revolution, where else would you hang out your shingle?) And it seems almost needless to add that neither of the ice cream geniuses behind the store is called either Humphry nor Slocombe, much less both of those names together. Jake Godby and Sean Vahey opened Humphrey Slocombe late in 2008 with the idea of keeping as clear as possible from the “happy-happy-joy-joy” that ice cream shops often try to project. And they have.

On the way there (and one the way to here) they have, in some ways, completely reinterpreted the idea of ice + cream, as witnessed by a blurb for this book from Ferran Adrià: “I see this as my little child, in a way. This is fantastic.” Consider yourself forewarned.

Did you ever think bacon would be good in ice cream? Yeah? Well then, how about prosciutto? Humphry Slocombe includes recipes for both. Beets, saffron, beer, corn, mushrooms, miso, black olives and many other surprising flavors can -- and do -- show up in the book. What also shows up is some solid advice, including what ice cream machine to buy for home use and what to do if you don’t have a machine at all, yet still insist on making ice cream. (There's a technique, and they share it.)

If you like ice cream, you probably don’t need this book, but if you looooooooove it enough to put your energy into making some that really stands out, then Humphry Slocombe might well be for you. ◊

Aaron Blanton is a January Magazine contributing editor.

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