History Of Ice Cream

history of ice cream: Alexander the Great craved snow cones. What do Charles I, Dolly Madison and Marco Polo have in common? Ice cream! Delicious toppings and ice cream history.

Would you believe the forerunner of snow cones was around in 400 B.C.? Alexander the Great sent his slaves into the Apennines Mountains for snow and ice to concoct the luscious iced fruit nectars he craved.

During China's Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) something vaguely on the order of ice cream was made from cow, goat and buffalo milk, flavored with camphor and thickened with flour. It's extremely doubtful this is a flavor of ice cream Baskin Robbins will ever stock!

In the 1300's, Marco Polo was said to have brought recipes thousands of years old from the Far East for water ices. Where exactly in the Far East he actually got them is debatable as history shows us that he really didn't go to China after all.

A freezing method using ice and salt was in existence since before the fourth century A.D., and used by India and China. The method was introduced to Europe in the mid 1600's and ices made with sweetened milk appeared in Naples in 1664 to the delight of Italians.

Charles I, in the 1600's paid his cook, Dimarco, an extra 500 pounds per year to keep his ice cream recipe a secret and a treat only for his Royal Table. After the beheading death of Charles 1, Dimarco let the recipe be known to all of Europe.

Frozen confectionery desserts arrived in America during the 1700's and noted Maryland governor Bladen enjoyed serving these icy treats to his guests. New York City was the site of the first ice cream parlor in 1774, opened by Phillip Lenzi. Also sold at his establishment were water ices and fruit candies.

George Washington loved ice cream so much that a large part of his spending was devoted to it - $200 for just one summer!

Aunt Sallie Shadd, a freed black slave, perfected ice cream as we know it today. She'd opened a catering business with family members and one of her customers was Dolly Madison, wife of President James Madison. Mrs. Madison enjoyed Sallie's ice cream so much it became part of the menu at her husband's inauguration in 1812 as well as the official dessert of White House dinners.

Hand-cranked ice cream freezers came along in 1846 and in 1851 James Fussell established the first commercial ice cream plant. Plain ice cream cones were invented in 1896 and waffle cones were introduced in 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair.

Over the years many flavors have been added to the original vanilla. It was only natural someone would try to improve on it so along came toppings - syrups, jams, marshmallow crème, nuts, maraschino cherries, whipped cream and more. Here are a few favorite toppings of people polled and all are delicious:

1 - chopped cinnamon apple rings topped with fish-shaped crackers and grated cheese;

2 - splashed with balsamic vinegar a la Martha Stewart;

3 - broken pieces of frosted animal cookies;

4 - crumbled toffee bits, chocolate chips or M & M's;

5 - caramel topping, powdered vanilla malt and peanuts;

6 - crushed pretzels;

7 - chopped candy bars;

8 - cereal such as Fruit Loops or granola;

9 - fruit of any kind;

10 - preserves, jams or jellies.

Let's say you never put anything on your ice cream and just eat it the way it is. Could you ever call that PLAIN ice cream? Not anything that delicious! We love ice cream so well the American consumer eats 15 quarts per person each year - with or without topping.

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