Ice cream has evolved throughout a history that goes back over 2000 years to around 200 B.C. Folk lore has it that in the 1st Century, Nero, the fifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (A.D. 37 – 68), ordered his slaves to go up in the mountains and bring back ice which was used to make an iced mixture with fruit.
Another form of ice cream was made by King Tang of China (A. D. 618-97). He combined ice and milk. From China ice cream was brought to Europe when, in the 1200’s Marco Polo had brought an ice cream sorbet recipe back with him to Europe from the Far East. The recipe called for the ingredients snow and milk.
Ice cream was later imported from Europe to the United States where it was served by Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to their guests. Historians say that George Washington really loved his ice cream and ate lots of it.
In New York City, in 1776, the first ice cream parlor was opened. The word ice cream was started by the American Colonists. They first called it “iced” cream and it was later shortened to “ice” cream.
When First Lady Dolly Madison was in the white house from 1809 to 1817, she served ice cream to guests.
The hand crank ice cream maker or freezer was invented in 1846 by Nancy Johnson. Today, ice cream is still made using the basic method of the hand-crank ice cream freezer. In 1848 a similar ice cream freezer, the Johnson Patent Ice-Cream Freezer was patented. By 1850 ice cream had become a popular treat. It wasn’t until 1851 that Jacob Fussell’s Baltimore Company began to manufacture and market ice cream commercially.
At some point in time someone figured out that using salt mixed with the ice would lower the temperature of the ingredients and that the wooden freezer bucket and paddles would open the way for the larger-scale manufacture of ice cream.
The ice cream cone was invented in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904 when on July 23 Charles E. Minches thought of making a pastry cone and filled it with two ice cream scoops. The ice cream cone first appeared at the St. Louis World’s Fair later in the year where, historians believe, there were more than 50 ice cream cone vendors. Historians also believe that the ice cream cone had actually been invented by many people, all at around the same time.
In 1926 Clarence Vogt came up with a process of continuously freezing ice cream for the commercial manufacturing of ice cream. By the 1930’s ice cream had a huge increase in popularity and many flavors of ice cream and sherbets had become available. By the 20th Century many flavors of ice cream were being sold on a large scale in grocery stores, supermarkets and ice-cream franchises.
Ice cream has been around for over 2000 years and isn’t likely to go away very soon. With such longevity, perhaps it will be around for another 2000 years.