November 20, 2011

Doodles and Ice Cream

I sing in a big community choir. It's a total joy to see other singing friends on otherwise drab Monday nights and make music for a couple of hours before commencing with the rest of the week. And we sing good stuff. I mean, really really good stuff. I'm a soprano, the high variety. If anybody out there knows soprano singers they know that we don't really think much about harmonic lines or musical complexity. In fact, we don't have to think much at all. We get distracted and we are very full of ourselves. It's great fun.

Rouse, Karolju. Too many non-soprano
parts = copious time to doodle on blank title page.

So when I am sloughing off in soprano world, I often let my mind wander and think about the pictorial dimensions of music. Ever the good chorister, I always have pencil in hand. Unfortunately, the pencil does as much to entertain me and my unsuspecting soprano neighbors (and select altos, of course) than just about anything else.

Oh and this barely scratches the surface of my many, many doodle examples. If there were ever a career made for a professional distracted-singer-doodler I'd tell the rest of you to step aside. These are, after all, the finer things of life.

On a more serious note, I absolutely and completely love to sing. There is something so incredibly personal and healing about it, even in the most stressful of weeks. It's a fascinating thing that so many community members come out on dark Monday nights to gather with fellow singers and sing Bach (or Brahms, if we're really lucky). We are working on the Bach Christmas Oratorio for December. This piece is rife with opportunities for score doodles but it is also filled with gorgeous counterpoint and wonderfully expressive vocal lines. The settings for Christmas and the days that follow are so rich and expressive, both in terms of poetry and in music composition.

In love with Brahms and in love with Nänie. My fiance
might have to step aside. Breathtaking, romantic,
completely satisfying(and not just for sopranos).
Blank title page and lots of feelings for
Johnny Brahms make this a great piece for doodles.

I could (and might) talk about music forever. But for this afternoon, I wanted to share a super simple and slightly healthier version of creamy ice cream. We made this last night to accompany that crazy chocolate cake but I felt like the cake didn't need much of an enhancement. Now it's time to write about how we spruced it up.

I learned from my sister-in-law that ice cream doesn't need to be full-fat and custardy. She makes it with fat-free half & half, sugar, and vanilla. This simple combination of ingredients can be manipulated into dozens of flavors. For our cake last night, we made cinnamon ice cream. The combination of light, icy, and cinnamon-y goodness perfectly set off the chocolatey rich flavors of the cake. And when our pieces of cake were finished and those final crumbs were in our bowls, we had an extra scoop of ice cream - you know, just to make sure we had cleaned our bowls; and when ice cream is nearly fat-free, you can have twice as much. Right?

Simple Ice Cream

serves 4-6

2 cups fat-free half & half
1 scant cup sugar
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
Flavoring of choice (cinnamon, peppermint extract or mint leaves, chocolate chips, etc.)

Beat ingredients until slightly frothy. Keep ice cream maker in freezer until ready to use. Follow according to manufacturer's instructions. I use a Cuisinart ICE-20 so it takes about 25 minutes to churn and freeze. Do not let the machine run for much longer than 20-25 minutes because the motor will heat up the ice cream and cause it to melt. When ice cream is solid (but not too solid), transfer it quickly into an airtight container and freeze for 1 or 2 hours longer, or to desired consistency.
Sometimes surprising things happen in
music. These places should be fully
expressed by score doodles. Here is
Beethoven's Missa Solemnis
(i.e. exercise in completely ridiculous
counterpoint) transitioning sneakily
from major to minor.

Delicious, light, and impossibly simple. Sort of like score doodles.

1 comment:

  1. I'm kind of glad I found your blog, but a little jealous that you're such a great cook as well! I haven't tried the cake yet, I'm deciding if I think cinnamon and chocolate go together (I made a zucchini chocolate cake and while it was moist, I found the cinnamon a little distracting). Anyway, the ice cream sounds amazing! And I'm totally loving your doodles, they're fantastic! (By the way, it's Rachel from CSD and VAE)