FOOD HISTORY: Ice Cream

While today almost everybody loves ice cream,mankind's desire for something cold and tasty on the palate back to the 2nd century, BC. Alexander the great enjoyed snow flavored with honey and nectar and King Herod, of biblical fame,liked iced drinks during harvest time.The Roman emperor, Nero(AD 54 - 86) sent runners to the mountains to get snow that he flavored with fruits and juices. These, however, were "snow cones" not the ice cream that we know today. How to make things freeze "on demand" to avoid having to wait for snow or to send runners to the mountains to bring back snow, had to wait until unknowns, probably Chinese, discovered that by mixing salt with snow they could reduce the freezing point and achieve temperatures lower than the freezing point of water -  0 degrees C;; 32 degrees F.This was written about in India in the 4th century AD but the first description of making ice using the salt method was by an Arab medical historian , Abu Usabi (AD 1230 - 1270).This was the discovery that opened the way for what was, eventually, to be known as ice cream.The process arrived in Europe in 1503 but was not used in reference to edible things until much later when it was used for making water ices in Naples, Italy. Later, the Italian, Buontalenti  "invented a  dairy based frozen dessert called "Italian cream" and another Italian from  Sicily, Procipio dei Colltelli,  first sold this new treat to the public. (See; GELATO). Both, Buontalenti and Procipio migrated to Paris, France and made "Italian cream" very popular there.The first mention of the designation,  "ice cream" was from a description of a banquet celebrating the 10th anniversary of the return of Charles II's  to the throne of England, after an exile in France. A delicacy was described as, "One plate of white strawberries and one plate of " ice cream" that was served only to the King". No one knows that name of the Kings "ice cream:"maker but while in France,  French King Louis XVI allowed Charles  to live and delight in all things French. It is  likely that King Charles' Chef  learned  about how to make "Italian cream" during their exile in France.Ice cream recipes started to appear in the 18th century cooking books, including the 1718 edition of "Mrs. Mary Eales' Receipts" written by Mrs. Eales,the Royal Confectioner to Queen Anne. No eggs were included in her recipes.The addition of eggs and the suggestion that the ice cream should be stirred during the freezing process didn't occur until the middle of the century. These modifications of the process produced a smoother, richer, creamier product more similar to modern ice cream. Ice cream, probably brought by European settlers, began to appear in the American colonies during the first half of the 18th century. The first known service of ice cream-in America occurred when Thomas Blandon, Governor of Maryland put it on his dessert table in 1744 and a later Governor of Maryland, Francis Fauquier had some prepared for his table in 1750 as did his successor, Lord Betetourt, in 1768. Thus, ice cream was being eaten in America prior to Thomas Jefferson bringing back a recipe for ice cream, from France in 1784,  which was served, frequently, at his table. George Washington, also, ate ice cream  which Martha Washington prepared from a recipe taken from Mrs. Hannah Glass' cookbook, The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy" (1747).The taste for ice cream spread and in 1777, the first public advertisement for ice cream, anywhere in the world, appeared in the New York Gazette (May 12, 1777) in which Philip Lenzi, a confectioner announced that, "his ice cream may be had almost day".At that time,ice cream was prepared using the ""Pot freezer Method" in which ice cream mixture was placed into a metal bowl which was put in a larger bowl filled with ice and salt. As the mixture cooled it was mixed and stirred thoroughly until the mixture became more solid.Then it could be removed - a very strenuous and time consuming procedure.However, on Sept. 9, 1843, Mary Johnson of Philadelphia, got a patent for an artificial freezer consisting of a tub, cylinder, lid, dasher and crank - a design still used today! This was a big improvement in the ease in which  ice cream was made and, thus, increased it's availability to more people. In 1866, Thaddeus Lowe invented the first commercially produced ice cream machine and this ice cream was sold in Dallas, TX.later, in 1889, Jacob Fussell, a Baltimore dairyman, opened the first commercially built ice cream  factory in Sun Valley, PA In this factory, he turned his surplus of cream into ice cream and had it shipped back to Baltimore by train.He did great business and became the" Father" of the wholesale ice cream business. Fussell opened ice cream parlors as far west as Texas and sold his business to Borden in them 1900's. The invention of the continuous process freezer, in 1926, gave birth to the modern ice cream business.Ice cream has become the favorite dessert of Americans and different versiions of it are enjoyed around the world.