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August 8, 2011 at 9:50 AM

Chillin’ with a Zoku Quick Pop Maker, and Abe Lincoln

Several months ago I was hanging in my local housewares store when I saw the perfect gift for my son’s summer birthday: a Zoku Quick Pop Maker. Now, trust me: kids do not need this expensive gadget. Nor does anybody for that matter, despite what you may have read. Which is exactly what I was thinking when a lithe young woman ran into the store while I was standing there eyeing the Zoku and its many accoutrements. “You’ve got it!” she shouted to the shopkeep, shelling out twenty bucks for a storage container for her Quick Pops while simultaneously rhapsodizing about the product.

I overheard her carrying on, at length, about how her boyfriend’s family bought her a Zoku. And about how, ever since, she’d been blending bananas and other fruits, pouring the mixture into her prized Quick Pop maker (kept cold in her freezer), and only minutes later — voila! — a nutritious, low-cal treat. I was sold. And I promised myself this would be a far better gift than the latest video game for a 13-year-old who loves to experiment in the kitchen. I was right. Nate loves his Quick Pop Maker.

Take OJ, add strawberries, quick-freeze. Ask dad to pose with fruit-pop.

That said, I refuse to buy the storage container when a plastic bag will do. That, he can save his allowance for. After all, my present good fortune aside, I grew up as the oldest of four, in a household where pennies were pinched till Abe Lincoln screamed. In fact, I still recall getting my butt kicked for coming home from the store with the milk my mother asked me to pick up — and an “extra” box of Crayola Crayons. Which were later marched back, “Right now!” my tuchis still stinging.

Fancy frozen pop, made with blended watermelon and raspberries. Not-so-fancy storage.

Back in my day, we made-do in the quick-pop department by pouring Kool-Aid into paper Dixie cups, freezing them, and tearing off the paper. And in the winter, we’d go out and collect snow (no, not the yellow kind), pour Frank’s black cherry wishniak soda on it, and drink it, making our very own “water ice.” Needless to say, we also walked miles to school in that snow, barefoot, just like the real Abe Lincoln! (OK, maybe not barefoot.)

So, with that in mind, I took some apple juice, put it in a glass with some fruit and froze it. Why? Because anything worth wanting is worth waiting for, right? And because quick though the Zoku might be, I think those low-tech frozen-pop contraptions work just as well. What do you think? Have you got any cheap-o ideas or recipes for making frozen treats? Share ’em.

‘Tis the season, for fresh fruit.

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