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Mrs. Clark Ring's Rice Cream

The recipe, included in Savoring Saginaw, originally came from the Saginaw Cookbook published by First Congregational Church

1 C Boiled Rice, not quite cold

1 pt. whipped cream

1 T. gelatin, softened in a little cold water and dissolved over hot water*

Beat rice and gelatin into whipped cream. Put in mould and chill. Serve with sauce.

Sauce: Make rich white sugar syrup (½ Cup Sugar and ½ Cup Water - I used a 1 cup sugar to ½ cup water). Add a glass of orange marmalade. Heat together until blended. Chill.

*I followed these instructions - perhaps too literally. I softened the gelatin in three teaspoons of cold water and then stirred the mixture in a container over a hot water bath. Although this worked, the next time I will try following the instructions on the box.


I consider this attempt to make this recipe an experiment rather than a finished product. The tricky part of the recipe is unmoulding this finished rice cream. I made two batches – one was in a period-appropriate mould and the other was in a springform cake pan. I am not experienced in the art of moulded desserts and ignored advice that is found online – lining the mould with plastic wrap or lightly oiling it. After briefly warming the mould in warm after, I was easily able to remove the one in the springform pan. The one in the ironstone mould was more of challenge. Before giving up all hope, I left it in the warm water for a several minutes – several minutes too long. Although I was able to invert and free the rice cream, the outer portion had softened somewhat and lost a great deal of detail.

Also, please keep in mind that this is a very light, airy confection and will never be the sharp, crisp creation featured in mid-twentieth century Jell-O advertisements.

Mrs. Clark Ring

“Lizzie Palmer Ring was the second child of Marie Benjamin and Thomas Merrill, pioneer residents of this city. She was born in Saginaw July 25, 1862, and had lived here during her life time. Receiving a public school education, Mrs. Ring attended Miss Baskus’ school, a private institution, in Canadaigua, New York state, from which institution she was graduated.”

“March 29, 1883, she was united in marriage with Clark L. Ring of this city. Besides the husband, she is survived by one son, and two daughters, Thomas Merrill Ring, Saginaw; Mrs. Edward Garrett, Seattle, Wash., Lizzie Clark Ring, Saginaw; two brothers, Thomas Davis Merrill, Duluth, Minn., and Richard Dwight Merrill, Seattle, Wash., Her father, the late Thomas Merrill, passed away October 3rd. of this year.”

“Mrs. Ring was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian church and none of its activities were without her aid and support. In the woman’s society and missionary work she was closely identified and also in benevolent activities. Mrs. Ring was also considered one of the substantial members of the congregation. “

“Like her ancestors she was of strong Puritan stock and while she took an active part in the social life of the city she was ever identified with the charitable work as well, only her part was unostentatious.”

The Saginaw Daily News, December 4, 1912

If you are familiar with Saginaw, it is very likely that you will quickly recognize the Ring family name. The house that was constructed for Lizzie Palmer Ring and her husband, Clark Lombard Ring, is the home of the Saginaw Art Museum. Designed by New York architect and landscape architect Charles Adams Platt in 1904, in his design for the home and garden, Platt used the model of an Italian Villa to integrate the house and extensive garden to create an elegant urban estate.

The house and garden continue to testify to Mrs. Ring’s love of gardens. She passed away in 1912 and was interred in Oakwood Cemetery. The Family’s grave is marked by a monument designed by Charles Adams Platt – yes, the same architect who designed the family’s home and garden. When Clark L. Ring passed away in 1933, the funeral was held in the family’s home on Michigan Avenue home. In his eulogy, the Rev. William C. Covert stated: “It was this once uninteresting piece of ground sloping to a railroad track that Mr. and Mrs. Ring developed into beautiful gardens that throughout their lives were a delight to them and their many friends.” In 1947, the home and garden were purchased by Rings’ daughters and donated to the community and continue to enrich the lives of the people.

After you make this uniquely early-twentieth century confection, light the candles on your table and pretend you are a guest of the Rings. You may note that the richly finished paneling in their dining room – the artisan who applied the wax finish traveled from New York, is a perfect backdrop for this frothy desert. Those who are truly imaginative, may note that this desserts’ shimmering orange glaze complements the tawny color paint on the room’s ceiling and the gold braid on the crimson velvet upholstery of each chair – at least by candlelight. Although you know it might be rude, you really want to comment on the silver and linen – remembering the paper noted that pieces used at a daughter’s wedding “ were all valued pieces picked up during Mrs. Ring’s Trip abroad.”

1913 Photograph of wedding party of Elizbeth Clark Ring and James Duane Ireland taken in Ring Dining Room Courtesy of Saginaw Art Museum. Photographs of Ring home from a monograph of Charles Adams Platt’s work published in 1913.


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