Classified: In need of better ice cream in Israel

I made my own ice cream last night.

I did this out of despair.

I do not like store bought Israeli ice cream. It’s awful. Even the halavi (dairy) ice cream (as opposed to the soy-based parve) is gross.

A complete waste of calories, if you care about that kind of thing.

I don’t.

I just want some decent ice cream every now and again.

For a while, I would splurge on the Ben & Jerry’s you can find occasionally in the supermarket, but the last five times I bought it, I opened the carton to find the ice cream melted and refrozen into an icy gelatinous mess. So, in addition to having no ice cream to satisfy my already salivating glands, I had to plan a trip to Shufersal to get my 48 shekels back.

Not easy when you live in the middle of nowhere.

Grrrr.

I exaggerate. I live in the outskirts, but Israel is not a third world nation.

We do have high-falutin “Italian ice cream parlors.” However, I have no taste for Leggenda or Dr. Lek (which is spelled the same as Dr. Lick, but is apparently pronounced Dr. Lek, go figure) or any of these gelato type places that charge you 18 shekels for a cone (that’s $5, my US friends).

Even if they didn’t charge so much, I can’t go there with my nut allergic kid.  I found a peanut in my vanilla ice cream there just the other day, which successfully proved my  theory in the company of my husband that ice cream parlors are not at all safe for nut allergic kids.

So last night, for about 6 -7 shekels (the cost of cream, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla), I made a pint of my own vanilla ice cream following these instructions and using this recipe which totally worked.

homemade ice cream

The recipe is super easy, and while a bit time consuming, does not require an ice cream maker.

Which is quite a relief.

There’s nothing more infuriating than searching like mad for a recipe on Google, finding one, only to realize it requires some expensive piece of equipment or a brand of soup mix only found in New Zealand.

Quite the opposite with this recipe, I had everything I needed  … even the ice (which was the hardest of all the ingredients to come by in Israel).

So, finally, one ice cream discontent in Israel may now be content.

Until the container is finished.

The difference a falling rock makes

This morning I was planning to write about love and light.

You know Valentine’s Day. Love. Mindfulness. Kumbaya.

But as soon as I turned on the computer, and before I logged into WordPress, I quickly scanned the latest in my Twitter feed.

Big mistake.

toi meteor

Distracted by the End of the World, I found my creativity a bit…muted.

It’s a good life lesson in how quickly our minds and hearts can turn from love and light to fear and darkness.

And how ultimately, it’s up to us to decide which track to follow.

How one weekend I can be so intensely caught up in the extraordinary beauty of my life.

And how one weekend later I can be in a state of panic about its very existence.

How one use of one medium may embody all that is good and peaceful about social media

serenity rocks

And how another use of another medium can illustrate how social media may incite and invite mass panic.

facebook jen meteor

And how very much

we are the drivers of

love

or

fear.

We

drive

love

or

fear.

Choose.

Safehouse

It’s 9:30 am on the day of the supposed Rapture.

If you’re a good friend of mine IRL, you’ll know that since 9/11 I have been minorly obsessed with and concerned about things like cataclysm, apocolypse, and your basic run of the mill doomsday scenario. Truthfully, my obsession goes back even farther: I remember sitting in my parents bedroom in front of their color TV and watching The Day After with intent, alone. From that day on, from time to time, I imagined myself in disaster scenarios. How would I make it? Would I even want to make it? What’s the benefit to being one of the survivors in a new world that sucks? Where you have to eat rodents and pull your own teeth out when they rot?

When my book club read The Road, I had nightmares, but I also took mental notes.  I want to be prepared, truly I do. But it’s an expensive proposition to have a fully-stocked underground bunker. Since 9/11, however, I have had a medium-sized tupperware container stocked in my basement with a week or two supply of food and some basic disaster kit items like matches and flashlights. Truth is, though, what I really want is a stronghold out in the woods seriously stocked for survival, but when I asked my husband for this for my birthday, he got me a pretty purple scarf instead.

He’s practical.

Now that I live in Israel, you’d think that I would be even more frightened. You’d think that the Middle East is certainly the part of the world that will “end” first.

Maybe.

Or maybe it will be the place where most people survive and start anew.

I jokingly told this to my friend Jami before I left in December. She knows that I partially believe December 21, 2012 might indeed be TEOTWAWKI. I said to her, “If the shit hits the fan in 2012, Israel is either the first to go or the only place standing.” (Ha ha ha, I laughed. But I really meant it. I mean it still.)

So, now that my Facebook friends are jokingly posting REM videos on their status updates and news media outlets are trying to maintain serious tones while reporting on the beliefs of Family Radio, I sit and breathe deep, hoping that we can all laugh about this tomorrow.

What? you ask. Are you actually worried about this Rapture thing?

I can’t say that I’m actively worried, but The Rapture is just another impetus for me to start thinking about the things I have been anxious over since 9/11 and even moreso in recent years in which we’ve been witness to the world, at the very least, “having a really hard time.”

War, economic crises, tsunamis, tornadoes. I can see how the folks who take the Bible literally can get on board with Harold Camping’s prediction. It really does seem like end times in many ways, if you believe in that sorta thing.

But getting back to why I think Israel is the place to be if TSHTF. Most survivalists — the guys and gals who have cabins up in the mountains of West Virginia stocked full of food, electric generators, and guns — tell you that living off the beaten path is much better than living in the city. You’ll want to be near a natural water source (I have a reservoir less than 1/2 a mile away.) You’ll want land to grow your own food — we have orchards of olive and grapefruit trees here, not to mention a dairy farm.

In addition, because of years of war and conflict in Israel, we do have bunkers stocked with weapons right here on the kibbutz. Furthermore, as every Israeli citizen is required to serve 2-3 years in the army, I have friends and neighbors who know how to use said weapons. They’ve been paratroopers and medics. They know which herbs are safe to eat and which can be used to soothe burns.

I have gas masks stocked in my office. We have a national warning system. Not to mention ancient caves and waterways to hide in. And don’t forget about Masada.

Israel, if anywhere, is ready for shit to hit the fan.

Now, none of this will help me too much if the Earth opens up and swallows me as some Rapturists believe.  And it certainly won’t help me if an asteroid hits the Mediterranean and a huge tsunami sweeps us away into Syria.

But, I kinda think my odds of surviving cataclysm have increased just by making Aliyah.

Not an advantage you are necessarily going to advertise on the brochure. But useful nonetheless.