Little Bits of History

We All Scream for Ice Cream

Posted in History by patriciahysell on June 8, 2010

Who wouldn't scream for that?

June 8, 1786: An advertisement for the first commercially-made ice cream is run by Mr. Hall in New York City. The origins of ice cream reach back into ancient history. There was most likely no single true “inventor” but rather the taste treat was developed over time with people ranging across the globe adding their own improvements or modifications. People living in colder climates would have had an easier time of making the leap into the frozen desserts. However, there were icehouses in Mesopotamia as long as 4,000 years ago.

Ancient Greeks in the 5th century BC made snow cones with honey and fruit mixed into the ice. Marco Polo noted the Chinese also had a frozen dessert treat. These ancient precursors to ice cream had the ice part, but not the cream. The dairy delight was “invented” some time in the 1600s. Charles I of England, according to myth, served an ice cream dessert and paid the chef £500/year to keep the recipe secret, but no record of the expenditure survives.

Both George Washington and James Madison served ice cream, Madison at his inaugural ball. However, these desserts were made with extreme physical effort. Nancy Johnson, in 1847, developed a hand-crank ice cream maker. Jacob Fussell used these hand-cranked machines to make large amounts of ice cream and started the industry on its way.  In 1903 Italo Marchioni got a patent for a mold to make a pastry to be used for holding ice cream (or other custard like treat). The legend says the ice cream cone was invented in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri, but Marchioni claimed he had been selling ice cream in edible pastries from 1896,

Today we have Sundaes, Premium or high fat ice cream, Ice Milk or low fat ice cream, sorbets, and the ubiquitous cone. In 1984, July became ice cream month in the United States  when President Reagan named it as such. In the US alone, 1.6 billion gallons of ice cream were produced in 2004 selling for $21.4 billion. The top five flavors in the US in order are: vanilla, chocolate, Neapolitan, strawberry, and cookies and cream.

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate – that’s my philosophy.” – Thornton Wilder

“If you like ice cream, why stop at one scoop? Have two, have three. Too much is never enough.” – Morris Lapidus

“My love for ice cream emerged at an early age–and has never left!” – Ginger Rogers

“I’m looking forward to a hot shower and some fresh air and some fresh food — ice cream, salads, things we don’t have on the station. I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends.” – Frank Culbertson, astronaut

Also on this day:
In 1948,
Texaco Star Theater went on the air.
In 1948, George Orwell’s
Nineteen Eighty-Four was published.

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