When we were kids, there was the occasional trip downtown to the soda fountain at the Wasson's Department Store. But for a kid growing up in the suburbs, the real summer treats were the trips to the root beer stands.
Everyone had their favorite--the original A & W, the Mug & Bun, and there was Dog and Suds. The root beer floats (brown cows) were so much better than the black cows (cola floats) but the allure of the soda fountain was all of the extras...whipped cream, jimmies (the chocolate sprinkles) and syrups.
So I've tried to combine the joys of those 2 experiences into one nostalgic treat. If you have the time to make your own ice cream, please do so. Preferably on the patio while playing horseshoes or badmitton. —lorigoldsby
To make root beer syrup: Melt1/4 c. brown sugar and 1/4 c. of sassafras tea concentrate over medium high heat. Boil until liquid is reduced by half. Mixture will continue to thicken as it cools.
Rinse soda glasses or mugs and place in freezer to frost.
Mix 2 scoops of softened vanilla ice cream with 2 T. of sassafras tea concentrate, form an ice cream ball that is no bigger than the circumference of your glass. Place 2 balls into a ziploc bag, return to freezer. Repeat so that you have 2 balls for each person.
When ready to serve, remove mugs and ice cream from freezer, pour root beer over ice cream (allow a lot of room for foam). Top with whipped cream, drizzle with root beer syrup and sprinkle on some chocolate jimmies.
I learned to cook with my Gran. I can still see her reading a recipe and figuring out how she would make it better. She was fearless about substituting ingredients--but also knowledgeable. She approached food in the same way she built her antique business--appreciate quality ingredients and workmanship, but don't be a snob. I think I carry those same beliefs in my approach to cooking. I love family style dinners, I love a fancy ladies' luncheon with my wedding china, or a backyard seafood boil to celebrate my husband's birthday...I love to share food with others.