Ice cream, America’s favorite treat, has been around for a very long time. It may be America’s favorite treat, but ice cream did not originate in the United States. Ice cream has evolved throughout a history that goes back over 2000 years to around 200 B.C. In the 1st Century, Nero, the fifth and last Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty (A.D. 37 – 68), ordered his slaves to bring ice back to him from the mountains. The ice which was used to make an iced mixture with his favorite fruit toppings mixed in.
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 large amounts 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.
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.
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 is so popular that it has its own month of celebration! President Ronald Reagan proclaimed in 1984 that July is National Ice Cream Month, with the third Sunday of every July being National Ice Cream Day. President Reagan declared that over 90 per cent of the population enjoys ice cream and that ice cream is a healthy, nutritious and fun food that should be appropriately celebrated.
Besides the obvious delicious benefits of ice cream, ice cream helps the nation because over $21 billion in sales are generate every year by ice cream. The industry creates thousands of jobs for Americans and keeps the cows busy. Ice cream manufacturing uses around 9 percent of all the milk produced by American Dairy Farmers.