When I was two—and I swear to you I remember the entire thing—I threw a raging fit in an ice cream parlor in Maine. I wanted a scoop of vanilla. The nice man at the counter handed me a cone with a scoop of ice cream. But it was clearly not vanilla. It was yellow.

“That’s banana ice cream!” I said.

“No, sweetie, the vanilla ice cream is just naturally yellow.” He pointed to another tub of ice cream in the case. “That’s banana, right there.” (Oddly enough, he happened to have banana flavored ice cream).

“But it’s white!! That’s vanilla!”

If you have ever tried to be polite to an obstinate two-year-old, you know this conversation went no where. My mom must have been in a really good mood since we were on vacation, because both she and my grandmother just let me carry on. As much as they tried to convince me to pick out an ice cream: strawberry, chocolate, tutti fruiti, whatever, I left the ice cream shop empty handed. I recall believing the man at some point, but I stuck to my beliefs on principle. Vanilla ice cream is supposed to be white. Not yellow.

This ice cream is sure to disappoint my inner toddler.


I stepped out in braveness the other day and bought some raw milk (from a very reliable grocery store), and some fresh cream with no additives. Since the happy cows who made the milk are free to roam, eating grass all summer long, the milk itself is slightly yellow. You pair that with the eggs from my neighbors who also let their hens eat greenery all day, and you get a very yellow ice cream.

And it’s totally worth it. And if my kids think it’s the wrong color, I couldn’t be happier. More for me.

vanilla ice cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat cream, milk, and vanilla bean with seeds in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, until almost boiling. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar and continue whisking until pale yellow in color. While whisking, slowly add a small amount of the hot cream mixture. Add more and more until the egg mixture becomes warm. Pour all of the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Allow to cool completely. Strain through a fine sieve, and refrigerate until cold.

2. Pour the cooled custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze for two hours