Where Did Ice Cream Come From?

Where Did Ice Cream Come From?

hollyLake Living, Recipes Leave a Comment

Where Did Ice-Cream Come From?Without a doubt, one of the most popular foods sold in the summer at Smith Mountain Lake and all across the U.S. is ice cream. If you survey one hundred people about their favorite desserts, you will very likely get at least half of those who choose ice cream without thinking twice.

I was talking with my friend Carrie the other day (both of us being ice cream addicts) and as the conversation meandered we spoke of how ingenious the invention of ice cream was. That led to wondering about its origins, and thus to this post. As it turns out, ice cream has a rather fascinating history.

It seems that as early as man had begun to discover how to harvest and store ice, there have been mentions of iced desserts. The Chinese were known to have been doing so since 1100 or 1200 BC. It took many centuries to become anything similar to what we know as ice cream today, however.

Alexander the Great was known to eat snow and ice flavored with honey. King Solomon in the Bible was mentioned to have had iced drinks during harvest time. Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86), a Roman Emporer, often sent servants to collect snow from the nearby mountains, which was then combined with fresh fruit and nuts. In the fifth century BC, ancient Greeks sold some sort of snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens.

The possible jump from history to something more familiar to us as ice cream may have been when Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Sometime during the 16th or 17th century Europe, this concoction developed into what was known as “Cream Ice” or “Iced Cream”.

According to Wikipedia, Ice cream recipes first appeared in 18th-century England and America. A recipe for ice cream was published in Mrs. Mary Eales’s Receipts in London in 1718:

To Make Ice CREAM. Take Tin Ice-Pots, and fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweetened, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and lay Ice and Salt between every Pot, that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be frozen in four Hours, but it may stand longer; than take it out just as you use it; hold it in your hand and it will slip out. When you would freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Raspberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put them Lemonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemon-Juice sweetened; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.

Where Did Ice Cream Come From?

The first official account of ice cream in the New World comes from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen. The first advertisement for ice cream in this country appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777.

More from Wikipedia: Ice cream was introduced to the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them. Confectioners sold ice cream at their shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era. Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were known to have regularly eaten and served ice cream. First Lady Dolley Madison is also closely associated with the early history of ice cream in the United States. One respected history of ice cream states that, as the wife of U.S. President James Madison, she served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813.

Around 1832, Augustus Jackson, an African-American confectioner, not only created multiple ice cream recipes but also invented a superior technique to manufacture ice cream.

And there are many, many more details to uncover if you care to do more reading. As you can see, a very interesting evolution from ice to ice cream. No one knows for sure exactly what transpired during those centuries of its early development, but one thing is for sure: Ice cream has become America’s favorite treat during warm months. And I for one am immensely thankful for all my ancestors who contributed to the fact that it exists in my lifetime. 🙂

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