Posts Tagged ‘ernie’

ASK ERNIE (AGAIN): I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT ICE CREAM!

Monday, September 27th, 2010

The following wise advice from Ernie was posted here on the Ice Cream Journal back in 2008, but since Ernie’s advice has no expiration date, we’ve decided to post it again today. Enjoy! (And as far as we know, the reader who submitted this question is doing just fine now.)

Graeme W. from Vancouver, British Columbia writes: I can’t stop thinking about eating ice cream, is there any reason for this?

Graeme,

Let me first start by congratulating you for being brave enough to face your addiction and share it with the world here on the Ice Cream Journal. You’re among friends, many of whom have the same thoughts and cravings that you do. I am one of those friends.

You’ll be happy to know that millions of people across the world have been diagnosed with what you describe. Doctors call it Obsessive Icecreamitis (also known as “the scoops”). Fortunately, there’s no known cure, but experts do recommend daily doses of vanilla, chocolate or other flavors of ice cream to curb the cravings. In extreme cases of Icecreamitis, as many as four scoops per day may be needed to satisfy the urge.

No one knows exactly why certain people develop Icecreamitis, though researchers have linked the affliction to repeated childhood interactions with ice cream trucks and giant, drippy ice cream cones at circuses, fairs and amusement parks. Other studies have found that the absence of these treats during a person’s younger years can also trigger Icecreamitis later in life.

My advice to you, Graeme, is to embrace your compulsions and feed your inner child whatever flavor of ice cream he desires. You should also seek the company of others with Icecreamitis (every flavor tastes a little better when shared with friends). You’ll find your peers in the usual places: the frozen foods aisle of your local grocery store, your neighborhood ice cream shop, chasing the ice cream truck (either on foot or by vehicle), or simply sitting on their porch on a warm day with a big bowl and a big smile.

Above all, you should be proud of your condition. Having Icecreamitis is a badge of honor that says, “I love the simpler things in life and I’m not afraid to admit it!” So get out there and have a scoop (or three) and remember: There’s never a bad time to enjoy ice cream.

Good luck,

Ernie

AN INTERVIEW WITH ERNIE

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Ernie Pinckney knows a thing or two about ice cream. That’s why he’s Turkey Hill’s “Einstein of Ice Cream.” It’s also why we asked Robin A. of Coram, NY to interview him for today’s reader-written entry!

Turkey Hill wasn’t always the well-known producer of ice cream, frozen yogurt and other yummy dairy confections. The company, like many other American success stories, had very humble beginnings. It all started back in the 1930s when Armor Frey, a farmer in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, began selling bottles of milk to his neighbors. This was no high-tech operation; he sold the milk out of the back of his car.

As his route grew, this side venture turned into Frey’s main source of income. Years later, in 1947, Frey’s three sons, Glenn, Emerson and Charles, bought their father’s business. The customers were all still in the area, so the boys were able to milk the cows and deliver a farm-fresh product to people’s homes quite easily. Turned out that this was actually a pretty lucrative business; the boys earned enough to provide for their growing families.

The dairy thrived and in 1980, the Frey brothers decided to try their luck making ice cream. It wasn’t long before Turkey Hill ice cream became a local favorite in Lancaster County stores. The following year saw Turkey Hill popping up in Philadelphia shops and quickly became a favorite in the City of Brotherly Love.

And the rest, as they say, is ice cream history.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Turkey Hill’s resident Einstein of Ice Cream, Ernie Pinckney.

Q. IS IT TRUE THAT YOU GREW UP ON A DAIRY FARM? YOU’RE NOT LACTOSE-INTOLERANT, ARE YOU?

Thankfully, I’m not. That would not be good for a professional ice cream maker and tester!

Q.  WHAT ARE YOUR DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES AT TURKEY HILL?

My daily duties vary, but overall I’m in charge of overseeing the ice cream and iced tea operations on the floor. That includes making sure the ice cream meets the high quality standards of Turkey Hill. I check that by tasting various batches and also by cutting containers of ice cream open with my big ice cream chopping knife and looking inside to make sure all the goodies are spaced out the way they should be.

Overall it’s a really fun job and I’m very thankful that I get to do it on a daily basis!

Q. IF YOU DIDN’T WORK AT TURKEY HILL, WHAT CAN YOU ENVISION YOURSELF  DOING INSTEAD?

I’d probably be farming. Like you mentioned, I grew up on a dairy farm and I enjoyed the experience. In many ways, working with Turkey Hill, which uses dairy products from farms in the Lancaster County area, allows me to keep in touch with my farming roots.

Q. DO YOU ENJOY PRODUCTS FROM OTHER MANUFACTURERS, OR ARE YOU STRICTLY A TURKEY HILL KIND OF GUY?

I’m definitely a Turkey Hill kind of guy. My freezer at home is always stocked with at least three or four flavors. I do keep tabs on what the competition is doing, though, just as I’m sure they keep tabs on what we’re doing!

Q. I’M SURE YOU’VE BEEN ASKED A MILLION TIMES TO NAME YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR. SO THIS WILL BE A MILLION AND ONE! WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLAVOR? ALSO, HAVE YOU TRIED ANY OF THOSE “OUT THERE” ICE CREAM FLAVORS SUCH AS SMOKED SALMON OR SQUID INK?

I do get that question a lot, but that’s because it’s a good question! If I had to choose one, I’d have to choose vanilla ice cream. It might sound unusual considering all the wonderful flavors at my disposal, but I like vanilla because it’s the essence of so many ice cream flavors and it allows me to taste all the dairy ingredients that go into it.

If you’re looking for a more adventurous flavor, I also enjoy butter pecan and our Light Recipe Extreme Cookies n’ Cream. Oh, and also our newest Limited Edition flavor, Double Dunker. I’ve been eating a lot of that one lately!

As for the “out there” flavors, I do like to try some unusual flavors when I can. I mainly find those at small, out-of-the-way ice cream stands, but it’s never anything like that smoked salmon or squid ink. Usually it’s flavors like bubble gum or buttered popcorn. Although I like to think of myself as an adventurous guy, especially when it comes to food, so I’d probably try a smoked salmon ice cream if I had the chance.

Q. WHAT STEPS DOES TURKEY HILL TAKE BEFORE A NEW FLAVOR HITS THE MARKET? DO YOU HAVE FOCUS GROUPS COME IN FOR TASTINGS OR DO SURVEYS OF SOME SORT?

We are always keeping track of what’s hot and trendy, but Turkey Hill has been around for over 75 years, so we also keep in mind the things that have made us so successful. The first step is to create flavor ideas, which can range from a twist on an old standard, like Chunky Peanut Butter, or something brand new, like Movie Night. Then our R&D team whips up some special batches of these test flavors for our taste testing team to try. The taste-testing team (say that three times fast!) includes people from all of Turkey Hill’s different departments. If one of those test flavors gets a good reception, it will become one of our flavors for the following year.

Q. DO YOU PERSONALLY ASSIGN NAMES TO THE NEW FLAVORS, OR IS IT A GROUP EFFORT?

I can’t take credit for all the names, I’m not that creative! The creation of names for our ice cream is definitely a group effort. When we are sampling a brand new flavor we have a fun session where we are all encouraged to be as creative as possible and suggest as many names as possible. During that meeting we narrow the name suggestions down to a few good selections and then we vote, and the most popular name wins. It’s a very democratic process here at Turkey Hill, and sometimes the name you want wins and sometimes it doesn’t. With the exception of actually eating ice cream, creating the names is my favorite thing to do! And, just so you know, my favorite ice cream name is Double Dunker, that name is almost as good as the ice cream tastes.

Q. HAVE YOU HAD ANY KOOKY REQUESTS FROM CUSTOMERS SUCH AS, “CAN YOU SHIP A FEW PINTS OF PARTY CAKE OUT TO MY VACATION HOME IN BORA BORA?”

All the time! But the good news is, we can ship a few pints of Party Cake to anyone in the United States! We have a shipping option on our website, which comes in handy for people who grew up with Turkey Hill ice cream or iced tea but moved away to an area that doesn’t sell our products. It costs a little to ship it in dry ice and everything, but I like to think that it’s well worth the cost!

Q. DOES TURKEY HILL OFFER A FACTORY TOUR?

Unfortunately, we don’t. The Dairy isn’t set up for public tours, which is a shame, because giving tours to special guests (which we do every now and then) is one of my favorite things to do. It’s always a lot of fun to hear their comments when they taste the ice cream fresh off the line or step into the freezing cold deep freezer for the first time.

Q. THERE IS A LOT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY OUT IN THE MARKETPLACE. THE FIELD OF MOLECULAR GASTRONOMY IS GROWING; USING LIQUID NITROGEN IS NO LONGER LOOKED AT AS A CRAZY TRICK BEING DONE IN A LAB. THERE ARE NEWFANGLED VENDING MACHINES OUT THERE UTILIZING THIS NEW TECHNOLOGY. WHERE DO YOU SEE ICE CREAM GOING? IS TURKEY HILL GOING TO RIDE THIS TECHNOLOGICAL WAVE OR STAY TRUE TO ITS ORIGINS AND REMAIN THE QUIET LITTLE FAMILY COMPANY IT HAS BEEN FOR SO MANY YEARS?

I keep an eye on the technology of the ice cream industry, but for the most part, you’re right. Turkey Hill is very proud of its humble Lancaster County roots and we’re going to do what we can to stay very close to the laid-back, old-fashioned ideals that got us this far. That’s not to say that we won’t get a little crazy now and then and invent some new flavors that turn the ice cream world upside down!

Q. SO HOW DO I GET A JOB AT TURKEY HILL?

That’s the best question of them all! We’re always looking for some new faces around here. There’s a “current openings” section on our website which you’re free to check out. Hopefully there’s something on there that you like. And no, my job isn’t going to be up for grabs for a long, long time!!

IF I COULD INVENT A NEW FLAVOR

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

We asked Mary Alice a simple question: If you had Ernie’s job for a day and you could invent one new ice cream flavor, which flavor would you invent? She answered with a flavor that would make half of Pennsylvania’s football fans VERY happy!

Ice cream is good after everything, but especially good after hot sausage sandwiches loaded with peppers, onions and red sauce washed down with beer during a Pittsburgh Steelers football game. Or pizza and beer or well, fill in the blank yourself with your favorite team and meal!

Football fans everywhere may be firing up their grills for summer but, down deep, they know it’s just dress rehearsal for the new football season just months away. Whether the team is Philadelphia, Baltimore, San Francisco, Miami , Chicago or Pittsburgh, grills at stadium parking lots, backyard patios or kitchens will be steaming with tasty grub.

And freezers will be loaded with Turkey Hill fan favorites, especially with sports flavors, but an expansion of those flavors needs to happen. Pittsburgh fans, already spoiled with six Super Bowl rings, want still more, more, ah, s’mores!!

I challenge super flavor wizard Ernie to gather his graham crackers, marshmellows, chocolate chunks and a bucket of half vanilla and half chocolate ice cream to create a new Sports Flavor: Pittsburgh Steelers S’Mores!

ASK ERNIE: BEN FRANKLIN AND TOMATO ICE CREAM

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The following question was submitted and answered here on the Ice Cream Journal a few years ago (it feels weird to say “a few years ago”… is the Ice Cream Journal really that old?). We liked it then and we like it now, so we’re giving it a second go ’round.

STAN L. FROM PHILADELPHIA ASKS: A tour guide in Philly told my daughter that Ben Franklin’s favorite flavor of ice cream was tomato. When she shared this with her 2nd grade class, the teacher challenged it. Is there proof of this anywhere?

Thanks for your question, Stan. Personally I’ve never heard that one, but it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

We do know that Mr. Franklin was a big fan of ice cream (along with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington) and that he was a regular at French ice cream shops in New York City and anywhere else that sold it. In the 1770’s, he got his first taste of ice cream in Paris and was so pleased with the experience that he wrote in a letter “I am making an effort to acquire the formula so we may sample this lovely fare upon my return to Philadelphia.” This tale led to Franklin being credited with introducing ice cream to the colonial states, but no one’s really 100 percent sure about that.

It was also rumored that during the blistering hot summer of the 1786 Constitutional Convention, Franklin created an ice cream recipe and invited Congressional delegates back to his home “for a special treat that was universally popular and helped steer them toward the democracy we know today.” Unfortunately that tale has since been disproven, but it sounds nice!

As for his love of tomato ice cream, an Internet search reveals no clues to this mystery. We’re not even sure if tomato ice cream existed in Ben’s day, but we do know that tomato ice cream exists today (here’s a recipe). Either way, I’m willing to bet Ben would have liked it.

ASK ERNIE: DO CERTAIN ICE CREAM FLAVORS GO BETTER WITH CERTAIN FOODS?

Friday, May 7th, 2010

JEANETTE M. FROM CHERRY HILL, NJ ASKS: Dear Ernie – As a wine connoisseur, I know that certain wines pair better with certain foods. Is ice cream the same way? Are certain flavors a better match with certain foods? Thanks!

Interesting question, Jeanette! I, too, enjoy a glass of red or white wine from time to time, though usually not with food. I’ve heard the general rule of red wine with red meat and white wine with white meat, but I’ve also heard that it’s really all about personal tastes. In other words, if you like merlot with your baked trout, then that’s what you should have!

But back to ice cream.

I’ve never really noticed a difference between a bowl of Chocolate Marshmallow after a meatloaf dinner and a bowl of Orange Cream Swirl after the same meal, but that doesn’t mean I’m not breaking an unwritten ice cream rule. I like to think that my taste buds are in top shape (after all, I do taste ice cream for a living), so I did some personal research to determine if there was a pairing rule that I wasn’t aware of. I also asked the advice of a few “food scientists” here at Turkey Hill. They know a thing or two about which flavors get along and which ones don’t.

The results of my hard work revealed what I believe is the answer to your question: There are no rules when it comes to matching ice cream with different foods.

I know, I was a little disappointed, too. I was hoping to uncover a secret relationship between ice cream and food and record all the different pairing rules and call them “The Ernie Principles.” But that didn’t happen. What I found was that pretty much any ice cream tastes great after pretty much any meal. Now that’s a rule I can follow!

ASK ERNIE: TURKEY HILL’S “TOP SECRET” ICE CREAM PROJECT

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

CAROL M. FROM HALIFAX, PA ASKS: I have a question about new flavors. I heard from a friend that Turkey Hill is making a new flavor of ice cream that will be totally new and different. Is that true? I understand if you can’t tell me about it because it’s a secret, but any information you can provide would be great because I’m a big ice cream fan, especially anything chocolate!

Thanks for your question, Carol. I’m actually surprised that it’s taken this long for rumors about our “secret” new ice cream to find their way to ice cream fans outside the Dairy. (Although I have a sneaking suspicion that the “leak” is a clever tactic cooked up by our marketing department.)

It’s true that we’re working on a new type of frozen treat, but it’s not really a new flavor. It’s more of a new type of ice cream, which will be available in several different flavors. We’ve been working on it for about two years under the internal code name “Nine.” I was initially opposed to using a secretive code name and it took some getting used to, but it’s actually grown on me because I sort of feel like James Bond when I use it.

I can’t really reveal too much about the project until we’re ready to officially announce it later this month, but I can say that this type of ice cream has never been created before and it will redefine the way people enjoy at ice cream. Stay tuned!

ASK ERNIE: WHAT HAPPENS TO LEFT OVER ICE CREAM?

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

The following was posted a long time ago here on the Ice Cream Journal, but we’re bringing it back for one more look. Enjoy!

Jessica E. from Browns Summit, NC asks:

After the ice cream is cut in half with the big knife, does the dissected ice cream then get thrown out, or does someone get to eat it?

ErnieHeadshot3What a great question! I assume you are referring to the daily cutting of ice cream that is done to check the quality of the ice cream made the day before.

As each new flavor is made, someone marks the first and last “saleable” package made. Saleable would mean that they felt all the ice cream and ingredients were filling the package in proper amounts. The marked containers then travel through the blast freezer and are set aside by the palletizing crew the next day. This is the product that is tested during the “ice cream cutting” process.

It begins by evaluating the outside of the package, removing the cover, and using the double spoon method to taste the product. The package is then cut in half using a very large and sharp knife. It is then evaluated visually to make sure all the inclusions (fudge, pecans, cherries, cookies, cookie dough, etc.) are dispersed evenly. By now the ice cream is almost nearly destroyed, and is disposed of by placing it into a bin labeled “Food Grade Waste.”

But there is a happy end to this story, because the leftover ice cream isn’t just thrown away. The ice cream, along with other remnant ice cream produced that day, is accumulated, diluted with water, and tested for butterfat and total food solids. It is then sent to a nearby farm where it is blended with dry feed and fed to the ever-hungry pigs. Pretty lucky pigs!

Thanks for your question!

Ernie

January prize: An autographed ice cream sign

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

When we saw this month’s featured product, we knew we had to give it away here on the Ice Cream Journal. It’s a reproduction of a rustic looking tin sign that reads “Dairy Made Ice Cream: You’re sure it’s pure.” That’s it pictured on the right. The sign measures 12 inches by 14 inches and we’ve increased the value (at least we think we have) by having each sign autographed by our Einstein of Ice Cream, Ernie Pinckney, and Turkey Hill President Quintin Frey.

We’ll give away not one, not two, but THREE of these signed signs to three commenters chosen at random from all the comments left here on the Ice Cream Journal this month. Good luck!

12 DAYS OF ICE CREAM (DAY 5) – IS IT OKAY TO EAT SNOW?

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The following was posted previously on the Ice Cream Journal, but given the approaching snowy weather (up to a foot here in Lancaster County this weekend!), we thought Ernie’s advice deserved a second reading. If you’d like to ask our “Einstein of Ice Cream” a question, feel free to send him an email using the “Ask Ernie” link in the sidebar on the right.

SUSAN ASKS: With all the chemicals in the air, is snow ice cream still safe to make? I made it as a girl, but that was so long ago.

ErnieHeadshot3Good question, Susan. I won’t repeat the age-old lesson about eating a certain colored snow, but I will say that most of us ate snow as children and we turned out okay!  So that means, eating snow is safe, right? Well, that depends who you ask.

But first, let’s consider how snow is made. It’s simple really. Snow is created when moisture in the air freezes around a dust particle. So at the very least, with each snowflake you ingest, you’re eating a tiny dust particle, which isn’t so bad when you consider that dust is everywhere around us and we eat it every day. (My apologies if anyone is eating as they read this.)

As for the risks of ingesting airborne chemicals and pollutants when you eat snow, that answer is a little trickier. That’s why we’re going to defer to the experts. According to Helen Macintosh, an environmental professor at Harvard, as snow falls, it can attract toxins and these toxins are greater with snowfall in or near a city.

It’s not looking good for our plans to make snow cones, is it?

Here are a few other rules-of-thumb, which may or may not be backed up by a Harvard professor. Some say not to eat the first snowfall of the year, because that’s the one that collects all the bad stuff (after that, you can chow down, apparently). Others say that eating snow that falls on top of the Himalayas – or any other tall elevation – is okay because the air up there is cleaner. Good news for those living on Mount Everest.

For our bottom line answer, we’re going to defer to Dr. Lynnette Mazur, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School, who says, “Licking a little snow off a glove is probably OK. A meal of snow is not.”

The only question now is: How much exactly is a “meal of snow?”

Bon Appétit!12 days magnet
Ernie

TODAY’S PRIZE: It’s a magnet! And not just any magnet, but a magnet that’s handcrafted from a recycled soda can (specifically, the can shown on the right). How cool would this thing look stuck to your fridge? The person who made this magnet has a whole bunch of other recycled can stuff available for sale in her Etsy store, Funky Recycling. Check it out!

TURKEY HILL ON TV

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Last week, Lancaster County’s local NBC affiliate, WGAL-TV, stopped by the Dairy to tape a story for the nightly news about how it’s “business as usual” for Turkey Hill despite the current economic times. That’s right, as you’ll see in the story, we’re still hiring and doing quite well thanks to our great customers.

The story shows a lot of behind-the-scenes action at the Dairy, including the production of our newest Limited Edition holiday ice cream, Ginger Snap. You might also notice in the story that the names below some of the people are incorrect. The man they say is Ernie Pinckney is really Eric Rotz, and the man they call Eric Rotz is, of course, Ernie Pinckney. That’s a shot of Ernie below from the story (check out the full video here). He loves this kind of stuff!

TRK TV

P.S. – Some of you are asking how we’re judging the recipes in our Ultimate Holiday Recipe Contest. It’s a good question. Here’s how it’ll work:

We’ll review all the entries and determine four finalists (two from each category) based on the creativity of the recipe, simplicity (not too easy, not too hard) and the overall appetite appeal of the recipe. Once we have our four finalists, we will personally prepare the finalist recipes in order to take photographs. Then each finalist recipe and photo will be published on the Ice Cream Journal in its own blog entry from December 7-10. On December 11, we’ll open a poll on the blog and readers will have one week to vote for their favorite recipe. On December 18, we’ll announce our winner!