Homemade ice cream from Grandma Bah, a wild girl turned wild with flair

In order to give you Grandma Bah’s recipe for homemade ice cream, I have to give it to you. She was a legend in our family. Larger than life, the strength of a woman, my mother’s favorite person who has ever lived…… the incomparable, Willie Felt.

Her ice cream was just one of the things she made that was considered by many to be the best in her small town of Sharkey, Mississippi. My mother made this ice cream for me, and I love my family’s long history. Now that electric ice cream makers are readily available, there is no reason in the world not to make them. It’s leagues better than anything you buy in the store, and I think it’s better than any homemade ice cream you may have made in the past. But… I want to tell you more about Grandma Bah because there’s a chance that just knowing her will make this ice cream even better.

Willie Felt Hicks was born. When she was eighteen, she married Fro, becoming Willie Felt Four. Willie… hair… fur. I couldn’t believe that was her real name when I was little. As I grew up and listened to all of my family’s “Grandma Bah stories”, her name seemed more appropriate to me. She was a character like she needed a funky name.

The stories about her are countless, and my mother and grandmother told me many of them. I realized through their stories that her savagery was there all along. She has transformed from a wild child into a wild woman. From child-rearing to cooking to what she chose to do any day, every story she heard exemplified her as an exotic, totally intentional, unconventional, and sentimental woman. It was unique.

The most scandalous thing was the story of how she got married The secondly time. The story of “Second Marriage” began with her answer to an ad in the back of a magazine. It was 1944, and she was forty years old, still living in Sharkey, the same small town in the Mississippi Delta where she had lived all her life, and the husband she had loved for more than twenty years had recently passed away, a beloved man. Everyone knew he was a devoted husband and adoring father. She texted and exchanged photos with the man whose ad she responded to, and within a year, they agreed to meet in Michigan, marry, and move to Colorado. Willy Felt Four was left behind (with my 21-year-old grandmother and three-year-old mom, both of whom depended a lot on her) to become Willie Felt Ewing. This second marriage lasted, like the first, until her husband’s death nearly twenty years later.

Homemade bah ice cream (Baby Hutchings)When I was born, my grandmother Bah was about sixty-five and had stayed in the Colorado mountains, which seemed very strange to me and my sister. Our mother told us how she traded in things she owned or made, like stained glass lamps and turquoise jewelry, for what she needed. We imagined her in some cabin on a remote mountaintop with a soldering iron, cooking on a wood-burning stove. When we lived more than 1,500 miles away from her, we didn’t see her much, but when we did, she was drenched in handcrafted turquoise jewelry. Her skin was dark brown from the sun, and there was always a cigarette between her fingers. Her eyes gleamed dark brown, almost black.

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Her sentences were peppered with mild swearing words that she mostly used for emphasis. My sister and I loved him. She was the only adult we knew who spoke as I did, Which smoked! We were equally shocked and smitten with it.

She was one of the most charming people imaginable. People are attracted to her. You never met a stranger and always managed to get a special treat wherever you went, even at airports where it was impossible to pass through a metal detector without detonating it. Her rings, at least one on each finger, could not be removed thanks to years of wearing them, and her earrings, necklaces, and bracelets were heavy turquoise like armor covering the rest of her body.

She was known for her cooking and always had a lot to share, but despite being delicious, the story goes that you probably didn’t always want to know exactly what you were eating. She lives in the country, cooks everything, including what she might get out of and shoot herself – raccoons and squirrels or who knows what. She picked or shot, got dressed and cooked the food she decided would be good. It was really something else.

My mother remembers this ice cream when she was a very young child. She remembers the sweltering heat of the Delta and the wait. Waiting for him to be ready was forever as the adults took turns moving him. I love that I have similar memories of making this ice cream on a hot summer’s day with my mom and dad when I was little while jogging through a sprinkler in the yard.

If you have kids around, making ice cream should be on your list. Involving the little ones in the process is a great way to create lasting memories for you and them. Seeing the liquid ingredients turn into a delicious, creamy and incredibly tasty dessert is a magic trick. Their curiosity about how things work and where things come from creates moments of sharing and connecting without even trying. And let’s face it, ice cream is just a big bowl of happiness on a hot summer’s day, so sharing and connecting or not, it’s still a win-win!

It’s the perfect remedy for hot weather even if you need to change out dairy milk for those who can’t tolerate it or who choose to avoid it. This recipe will still be the recipe you’ll give it over the rest. If you want to make it the way Grandma Bah and Mom liked it, add either fresh peaches at the height of the season. or Roasted pecans, buttered, salted.

This recipe reminds me that I and my mother, happy and excited, laughing and sharing her memories of Grandma Bah all my life. She’s in her 80s now, just talking about this ice cream brings back my mother to her “fadedness” and how much they love each other. I know you will love and cherish it as we have had for generations.

Grandma Bah’s Classic Ice Cream

Preparation time

10 Minutes, plus time in the ice cream machine


3 or 4 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 can of condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 cups of milk

2 cups salt ice cream


  1. Beat eggs, sugar and condensed milk. We continue to whisk and add milk and vanilla.
  2. Add this mixture to your ice cream maker. Follow your machine’s instructions to add the ice cream and ice cream salt, then run as directed until the ice cream is ready to serve.

Grandma Bah’s Quick Ice Cream

Cooking time

20 minutes, plus freezing


30 marshmallows

1 cup milk

1 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Optional: 1 cup chopped fresh fruit or 1 cup toasted salted pecans and butter


  1. Heat a cup of milk in a double boiler over boiling water.
  2. Add the marshmallows to the milk and stir until dissolved.
  3. Either by hand or using an electric mixer, whisk together 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until stiff.
  4. Remove the marshmallow mixture from the heat and gently fold it into the evaporated milk mixture. If you are adding fruit or pecans, add those at this time.
  5. Put the mixture in a plastic or metal ice cream tray and let it freeze until completely set.

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