The History of Ice Cream
Everyone love ice cream
Ice cream is not just a dessert. It is an American icon. It is a favorite memory of childhood and a comfort on lazy days. It cools you on those hot Summer nights and brings families together. Ice cream is served at birthdays, celebrations, and picnics. It has been around for hundreds of years and has become a part of our culture. But how did it get here? Ice cream has an amazing past and is sure to have a surprising future. Let's go back and see how it all started.
Where did it come from?
The origin of ice cream has many stories and arguments to go along with it. It is said that back in the 1st Century A.D., the Roman emperor, Nero, would have his servants run up to the mountains to fetch fresh snow and race back to him before it melted so that he could have it topped with fresh fruit. It is also argued that tecnically this was not the start of ice cream because it contained no dairy products. It was more of a sorbet or snow cone.
Other people think that it wasn't actually 'discovered' until the 1600's. Charles I of England always had ice cream served at his table. It was his chef's secret recipe. No one knows for sure if the chef kept it a secret because the king paid him to or if it was because he had his life threatened if he ever told. Either way, in 1649, Charles was beheaded anf the chef spilled the beans. Soon all nobles all over Europe were enjoying ice cream.
National ice cream day is the 3rd Sunday in July!
Coming to America
Even in the 1700's, ice cream was still only associated with the wealthy. When it came to the soon-to-be America, it was cherished by presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who paid $200 for the recipe. James Madison served it at his second inaugural ball. Due to the enormous effort to make ice cream, it was still limited in popularity and quantity.
But, in 1843, Nancy Johnson invented and received a patent for the first hand-crank ice cream maker. She later sold her rights to William Young for only $200.
Ice cream making still didn't become an industry until 1851 when Jacob Fussell, a milk dealer, needed a way to steady the demand for his cream. He decided to turn his cream into ice cream and charge twice as much for it. He had a larger version of the hand-crank machine. That along with his icehouses enabled him to open ice cream plants in New York, Boston, and Washington. In the 20th Century when power and refrigeration advanced, ice cream became a widespread phenomenon.
The old way of getting ice cream.
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Here is a very easy recipe.
2 C 2% milk
2 C heavy cream
1 C Sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp peppermint extract
3 drops of green food coloring (optional)
1 C miniature semisweet chocolate chips
In a large bowl, stir together milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, and peppermint until the sugar is dissolved. Add food coloring.
Pour the mixture into the ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. About 10 minutes into the freezing, add the chocolate chips. Continue in ice cream maker for another 30 minutes, then spoon into a container and store in freezer for 2 hours. Then enjoy!
Make your own ice cream - get an ice cream maker
At the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, an ice cream vendor ran out of dishes. He teamed up with a waffle vendor and they rolled the waffles into cones. Voila! The world's first ice cream cone was made.
Ben & Jerry's - The beginning of a revolution.
Ben & Jerry's was started by two friends who never planned on becoming businessmen. In 1977, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield took a five dollar correspondence course in ice cream making. With $12,000, they opened their first homemade ice cream shop in 1978 in Burlington. Vermont. The business had it's glitches, but with their unique flavors like Heath Bar Crunch, customers were loyal. They two guys even came up with gimmicks to drive people in. They would have free movie nights and project movies onto a blank wall of their building. In 1981, Ben & Jerry's gained national attention when Time Magazine wrote that they had 'the best ice cream in the world'. Although they started with only 12 flavors, they have released and retired dozens to the ice cream graveyard since then. My personal favorite is Chocolate Fudge Brownie. Today the company employees about 445 employees and has had $132 million in sales. To read more about these entrepreneurs, go check out Wikipedia.
The Future is Now!
Dippin Dots (called the ice cream of the future) was invented in 1988 by Curt Jones, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate. It is made by flash freezing ice cream mix with liquid nitrogen. It comes in great flavors such as banana split, bubble gum, and strawberry cheesecake. The ice cream has to be stored between -70 to -20 F which makes it unconventional for homes. It is sold in retail stores, vending machines, and shopping malls. To read more about this amazing ice cream, click here.
© 2009 Nathalie Roy