If one is curious about the facts concerning the origin of ice cream, the curiosity will have to continue to stand, for no one is one hundred percent certain of its exact origin. The absence of facts leads to theories, and the most prominent ones are quite interesting. The most interesting aspect of the theories of ice cream’s origin, however, are the inconsistencies. Perhaps it was invented by the Roman emperor Nero, perhaps it was discovered by Marco Polo, or perhaps the early Chinese deserve the credit. Facts also give way to unproven theories in terms of its time of invention. It has been theoretically calculated that ice cream had its beginnings around 618-97 A.D., the second century B.C., and the fourth century B.C. The only clear fact about the origin of ice cream is that no one knows the facts.
The history of ice cream throughout the ages is a different story. Ice cream has been enjoyed in most parts of the world; and each part of the world has brought its own special variations to the subject of ice cream. Thomas Jefferson can be credited with introducing ice cream to America. Long being a much-loved dish in England, ice cream’s first place in America was limited to the wealthy, but soon gained a place with the general population as ice cream parlors were established. No longer limited to the upper-class, ice cream soon became a part of life for the American public in general.
The very first commercial ice cream company in the United States began in Baltimore in in 1851. Established by Jacob Fussell, this ice cream plant was a decisive step toward making ice cream accessible to the American public. The invention of the hand-cranked freezer in 1846 marked the beginning of production of the type of ice cream which has continued in its popularity to the present day.
Other well-known ice cream variations also have interesting roots. The ice cream cone, similar to the style we are familiar with today, was first produced at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. And the original Eskimo Pie was designed in Iowa in 1920. The history of ice cream in the United States makes clear the point that regardless of its changes and variations throughout the years, the American public’s love for ice cream is one factor which has never changed.
In other parts of the world, ice cream has a number of variations. Some countries’ ice creams bear little resemblance to what we know as ice cream, but are equally enjoyed by their citizens. In some countries the emphasis is less on the dairy products which we generally associate with ice cream, and, instead, on fruits and the frozen nature of the dessert, placing the dish more in the range of sorbets, sherbets, and even snow cones. In India, the origin of ice cream products goes back to the fruit sorbets of the sixteenth century. More closely related to the American version of ice cream is Kulfi, which is frozen milk and sugar with added flavorings such as orange, peanut and apple.
Although ice cream production in the United States began as a delicacy inaccessible to the general population, it soon gained widespread appeal. Ice cream’s availability to the public which began in New York and Philadelphia’s ice cream parlors has, over the course of time, resulted in the approximately five hundred commercial ice cream companies currently in business.
With seven ice cream plants in the United States, Dreyer’s, which is based in City of Commerce, California, is currently the largest selling ice cream manufacturer in America. Ever expanding their line of flavors, Dreyer’s also produces sherbets and fruit bars. The production– and consumption– of ice cream has come a long way since Thomas Jefferson first introduced it to the United States.