As I searched the grocery store for my grandfather’s favourite ice-cream, the Neapolitan, I thought to myself, do stores still carry this flavour? Have they ousted the common Neapolitan in favour of some new fancy schmancy flavour? But alas, I found it residing harmoniously with all the other ice-creams, common and fancy alike.
Who would’ve thought that flavours such as the Neapolitan still has a place in an ice-cream world of Häagen-Dazs® and Ben and Jerry’s? With all the new flavours and premium ice-cream readily available, it’s easy to forget this “Family Classic” as it is labelled on the Neapolitan carton.
If you are aware of Chinese food culture, people in the older generation don’t like eating cold things. They don’t like eating cold salads or drinking cold water let alone eating frozen ice-cream! Somehow, anything cold is deemed to be not good for you.
Thinking back, it is not surprising how my grandfather embraced eating ice-cream. He was brought up with more Western influences compared to most Chinese men from his generation. He even learned some English and could speak a few words. I feel that my upbringing has been greatly influenced by my grandparents’ progressive thinking for that generation.
As I was taking bites of this ice-cream, for research purposes of course, all the childhood memories came back to me. When we lived in Hong Kong, my grandfather always treated us with a bowl of ice-cream after dinner. When my family briefly moved to the States, he always had ice-cream in the freezer as well. At that time, he upgraded to a new favourite flavour, Rocky Road. But once in awhile, we still got to taste the classic Neapolitan. My grandfather insisted that he bought the ice-cream for us kids but we all knew he really bought it for himself 😉
I don’t know if it’s a Hong Kong British thing but when I was growing up my grandmother used to spread condensed milk on top of white bread for us to eat. We would have it for breakfast or as a snack. Nowadays, it would be considered an unhealthy snack let alone a breakfast for kids! Sweetened condensed milk full of sugar on top of white bread – the horror! I’m surprised my older brother and I weren’t bouncing off the walls nor obese despite this fairly frequent indulgence.
I did a quick search online for condensed milk bread and saw that others have created the same treat! Here, the author called it condensed milk toast and got the recipe from Rachel Ray magazine. They both used fancy brioche toast. My grandmother just spread the condensed milk on top of plain soft, fluffy, untoasted white bread bought from an Asian-Western style bakery.
Not only was this condensed milk bread the best thing ever, but my grandmother also created another treat out of the condensed milk. There was no way we could finish a whole can of condensed milk spread on bread in one sitting (or could we? 😉 ) She would pour the leftover can of condensed milk into a glass jar and store it in the fridge. It was impossible to scrape off all the residual thick condensed milk still stuck inside of the can. So my resourceful grandmother put boiling water inside the can and swished it around. And voilà! Condensed milk as a drink! I think I loved this sweetened milk drink more than the bread itself.
This is one of those Memorable Dishes that is so simple yet brings back the fondest of memories. I don’t buy condensed milk very often. But every time I see a can of it at the grocery store I think of my grandmother’s condensed milk bread and drink.
- 4 slices of White Bread (If possible, get it from an Asian-Western style bakery.)
- 1 can of Condensed Milk
- Spread the condensed milk on bread and enjoy!
- For Condensed Milk Drink Preparation
- Pour leftover condensed milk in a glass jar and refrigerate.
- Pour boiled hot/warm water in the condensed milk can, filling half of the can only.
- Scrape the sides of the can and stir with a spoon.
- Pour diluted milk into a cup and fill the cup with more water.
- Add more condensed milk into cup to taste.
- Stir and enjoy!
Recipe by Memorable Dishes | www.memorabledishes.com