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Cooking with Grandparents: Sue Temple's Ice Cream Cake

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Sue Temple
All photos: Maria Zizka

Sue Temple grew up in a sprawling, brown-shingled house on the corner of Dwight Way and Warring Street in Berkeley. Her parents were the House Mother and House Father of a sorority annex. Their house had three floors: the top floor, with its enormous oak table and many lamps, was dedicated entirely to studying; the second floor had eleven bedrooms, most of which were rented out to sorority sisters who hadn't yet found a spot in the main Alpha Delta Pi house down the road; and the ground floor was where Sue's parents hosted dinners for a whole cast of characters, including Nobel laureates. Her father spoke nine languages and encouraged Sue and her brother to explore the world around them.

When the time came for Sue to attend college, she was eager to travel far from the University of California. She spent her early twenties traveling through Europe, but then ended up returning to Berkeley and earning a graduate degree in education. While teaching English at a school in Los Angeles, she met Brooke Temple, a distinguished, polite Virginian whose family can trace its lineage back to the signing of the Magna Carta. Brooke was the least likely person that Sue -- a fiercely liberal, opinionated, free-spirited woman -- had imagined she would fall in love with. But fall in love she did. To say that Brooke's parents weren't thrilled about the idea of the couple's marriage would be putting it lightly. His mother, a Quaker, did not think it was proper for her son to marry a Jew, so she and Brooke's father opposed the marriage. Brooke and Sue went ahead with it anyway. His father didn't attend the wedding.

But a funny thing happened when Sue became pregnant with their first child, a boy who was to be named after his dad. Brooke's father hovered over Sue, caring for her every need and that of his future grandson. They spent a great deal of time together and talked about everything, even politics. Over the course of the many years that followed, the two became the closest of all the in-laws. Next year will be Sue and Brooke's fiftieth wedding anniversary.

"It doesn't matter if two people come from different backgrounds or have different religions," Sue said last week while she scooped ice cream in her sunny kitchen. "There is a core, gut-feeling connection between them, a way in which they both perceive the world. That is what really matters. That is the glue."

Ice Cream Cake

Sue Temple's Ice Cream Cake
Sue's sister-in-law shared this recipe with her and it quickly became the cake that everyone in the family asks for on birthdays. They each make it a little differently -- some prefer peppermint ice cream with an Oreo cookie crust, while others stick to chocolate, vanilla, and coffee ice cream.

Makes one 12-inch cake

1 pound macaroon cookies
1 quart chocolate ice cream
Chocolate sauce, for drizzling
1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 quart coffee ice cream
1 pound almond toffee candy (such as See's toffee-ettes)

Using your fingers, smash the macaroon cookies along the bottom and sides of a 12-inch springform pan. Scoop out the chocolate ice cream and spread it across the cookie crust. (It doesn't have to be perfectly even.) Drizzle as much chocolate sauce as you like. Scoop out the vanilla ice cream and spread it over the chocolate sauce, then drizzle some more chocolate sauce. Scoop out the coffee ice cream and spread it over the chocolate sauce, then drizzle a little more chocolate sauce. Place the ice cream cake in the freezer to chill while you prepare the final layer.

Wrap the almond toffee candy in a kitchen towel and pound it lightly with a hammer. Scatter the candy pieces on top of the ice cream cake. Return the cake to the freezer and let it firm up completely, about 1 - 2 hours. To serve, remove the cake from the springform pan and slice it using a large knife dipped in hot water.

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