So You Want To Learn About Ice Cream. Two.
Top: if you want to learn ice cream production inside and out, find a copy of Ice Cream by W.S. Arbuckle. It’s out of print so it will cost you a few bucks (thankfully I lucked into a free copy) but it's absolutely worth it. 75% of what I know about ice cream production comes from this book.
The first installment of this (probably ongoing) series can be found here.
About six months after the Penn State debacle I was hospitalized for a few days. At my birthday meal I went into atrial fibrillation while watching Pleasant Gehman belly-dance at a Tunisian restaurant in Hollywood, I suspect because I smoked two Parliament Lights with Gina Schock. My heart rate skyrocketed and locked in at 172 BPM; after a few hours of that it was off to the hospital. The Cedars-Sinai emergency room was not crowded in the least. I've been in a few Manhattan ERs and they are absolute living hell; quite frankly the Cedars ER was like intake for a spa. The only other (audible) patients were two guys were both bugging out because they were so high on crystal meth. The nurses both said to each (at separate times- the guys weren't there together) "couldn't you have just waited this out?" and gave them nothing but a pulse monitor. One of the tweakers was 17 and had to wait for his mom to come sign him out. D'oh!! Suddenly bells and whistles (sort of figurative, sort of not) started going off and we heard to expect an incoming male with multiple gunshot wounds. I could hear the ambulance arrive, I could hear the gurney coming at the ER. I could see just enough between my curtains that I saw a gurney fly by and it saw surrounded by guys with big puffy winter coats.
It didn't make the news that I had been admitted to Cedars-Sinai, but I'm sure it's just because Suge Night stole my thunder by getting shot a few times. What a dick.
My stay at Cedars-Sinai was pretty great. Four meals a day, all prepared on-site. No crap stuffed in a plastic clamshell like you get in a NYC hospital. I took it easy and really enjoyed myself- the only major hassle was maneuvering all the wires glued to my chest and head when I wanted to go to the toilet 6" away.
I had one book with me, something I had thrown in my bag back in NYC: Ice Cream by W.S. Arbuckle. I read it cover-to-cover when I wasn’t distracted by cardiologists shooting me up with Tc-99m sestamibi. When I started working on this blog entry I pulled the book off the shelf and laughed when my discharge papers from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles fell out of the book. The book follows ice cream from beginning to end, from side to side, top to bottom. I just happened to have tossed what turned out to be my personal ice cream bible into my overnight bag.
Ya know, I went to a pretty damned good undergraduate program at Manhattan School of Music. For my Master's I went to Juilliard, thought of by many (though not be me) as one of the world's finest "institutes of musical learning." I had a bassoon professor who continues to be one of the major influencers upon my life but outside of his teaching studio I knew that my education lacked... education.
Twelve years after graduating from Juilliard I started in the City University of New York Graduate Center's Doctor of Musical Arts program. There, in a city/state university, I received my first real institutional learning. A semester at CUNY cost a fraction of what Juilliard cost. We were in a retrofitted department store with so-so pianos and no where near enough music stands, but there I willingly and happily submitted to the biggest book-learning ass-kicking I have ever had the pleasure of receiving.
At CUNY and in that bed at Cedars-Sinai were two of the best educational experiences of my life. I didn't need to be at the top conservatory, or at a leading ice cream class (cough cough) or at any particular place. I had to shut up, study, and get ready to go out and fail. Or not. So far so good. Takes a lickin' andkeeps on tickin'.
Sorry about that.