OZY's Holiday Homemaker Guide: Snow Cream - OZY | A Modern Media Company

OZY's Holiday Homemaker Guide: Snow Cream

By Alex Washburn


Because the holidays are about gratitude. 

From our family to yours: OZY staff share their favorite time-honored holiday recipes to keep you warm, stuffed and slightly buzzed all season.

My father grew up poor. Really poor.

The kind of poor that can only be understood by someone born at the tail end of the Great Depression in a livestock feed shed to a family that used dried corn cobs as toilet paper, living in a home with no indoor plumbing. Even after they moved from rural Tennessee to sunny California, the land of promise and jobs, my dad continued to live off a ’20s-era diet of chicken gravy, white bread and, when it was an occasion for a treat, fried bologna.

But this is not a sad story.

As poor as they were, my dad and his older sister had happy, healthy American upbringings, and though store-bought ice cream was out of reach, snow cream was free for all. When the family made its epic drives cross-country to visit loved ones still in the south or when they followed my grandfather from base to base during World War II, instead of stopping at creameries, they treated themselves with impromptu pit stops along the road.

The first time my dad made snow cream for me, I was around 8 years old. My grandparents were long gone and ice cream was a no longer a luxury, but the magic of watching him mix a few simple ingredients into a winter treat after a long day of ski lessons is something that has stuck with me. The act of bending down to scoop fallen snow is what grounds me when the materialism of the holidays threatens to distort what really matters.


  • 6 cups of fresh snow
  • 1 cup of milk (or cream, if you want to be fancy)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of sugar


  1. Scoop snow into mixing bowl.
  2. Pour milk and vanilla into bowl. Mix and add sugar.
  3. Mix to combine.
  4. Serve immediately in bowls.
  5. Add more snow as needed.

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