Wherever your frozen treat may be from, a sauce only makes it better.
Having traveled extensively in the former U.S.S.R., I can say with absolute certainty that the only socialist thing I'm nostalgic for is Soviet ice cream.
And that's saying a lot, not only because of, well, how inept the Soviet Union was, but also because since my days at Leningrad University I've become lactose-intolerant.
It's now easy to understand why ice cream production flourished in the U.S.S.R. First, making it was a very efficient way of preserving highly perishable dairy products, particularly in a country known for horrible transportation, rot and spoilage.
Second, with its simple ingredients, ice cream was difficult to screw up, even at Moscow Municipal Cooler #2.
Sadly, the taste of Russian ice cream changed with the fall of the U.S.S.R., and it's now more processed and refined.
On the other hand, not only is American ice cream these days of a much higher quality, but we also have an array of excellent sorbets, sherbets and lactose-free ice creams.
Now that I'm back on the stuff, here are two sauces that make me wish summer would never end.
The first is a fruit sauce that is bright and fresh, a real burst of flavors. It also always leaves my Russian friends swooning, perhaps because of the generous dollop of brandy. This sauce, with sugar and alcohol, is also an excellent way of making a bountiful harvest of berries last a bit longer.
The second is a very slight adaptation of Rick Bayless' cajeta, a wildly delicious caramel sauce made from goat's milk. It's rich, earthy, and one of the best things I've ever made.
It just takes a lot of stirring -- so either grab a shot of vodka (I prefer our locally made Prairie Vodka) or a copy of "War and Peace."
R.D. Zimmerman of Minneapolis is the author -- under the name Robert Alexander -- of "The Kitchen Boy," "Rasputin's Daughter" and "The Romanov Bride." His website is www.sitestories.com/robertalexander.