Fun Fact Fridays: The History of Ice Cream

IMG_20130228_195521Mmm…ice cream! Who doesn’t like ice cream?!?!! I love ice cream as much as I love bacon!!! Wait, there’s actually a bacon ice cream now and I first heard about it  when I was watching an episode of Bizarre Foods a few years ago. I have yet to try it though but I bet it tastes good. Well, I hope it tastes good. 😀

Anyway, have you ever thought about the history of this yummy dessert? As usual to feed my curiosity I did some research and here are some interesting facts I found from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

A.D 54–68: For centuries, iced desserts were a luxury. Roman Emperor Nero is said to have sent his slaves into the mountains to fetch snow to mix with nectar, fruit pulp, and honey, although this widely told tale may be a myth.

A.D. 618–907: The origins of ice cream date back to China’s T’ang period, probably as a dish for the country’s rulers. The founder of the dynasty, King T’ang of Shang, kept 94 “ice men” on hand to lug ice to the palace to make a dish made of koumiss (heated, fermented milk), flour, and camphor.

1744: American colonists brought along recipes from Europe. On May 19, 1744, a group of VIP’s dined at the home of Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen. Present was a Scottish colonist who described “a Dessert…Among the Rarities of which is was Compos’d, was some fine Ice Cream which, with the Strawberries and Milk, eat most deliciously.” This is the first written account of ice cream consumption in the new colonies.

1782: Ever hear how Martha Washington left a bowl of sweet cream on the back steps of Mount Vernon one night, and the next morning discovered ice cream? Nice story, but not true. George Washington did have, described in his ledger, “a cream machine for ice.”

1843: Until September 9, 1843, ice cream was made by the “pot freezer method,” but on this day, Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia got her “artificial freezer” patented, containing a tub, cylinder, lid, dasher, and crank. This design is still widely used today.

1850: Baltimore dairyman Jacob Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream factory. He had a surplus of cream—so he build an ice cream factory in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, and shipped it to Baltimore by train. Business boomed, and Fussell became the father of the wholesale ice cream industry.

1880: Buffalo, NY; Evanston, IL; Two Rivers, WI; and Ithaca, NY all claim to have invented the ice cream sundae. Wherever it happened, it first started appearing in soda fountains during the 1880’s. It was invented because ice cream sodas weren’t allowed to be sold on Sundays; the ice cream sundae was a way to circumvent that restriction. On September 22, 1903, there is a recorded application for a patent for the ice cream cone by Italo Marchiony.

1939: Grocery stores didn’t start selling ice cream until the 1930’s, and by WWII, ice cream had become so popular that it turned into somewhat of an American symbol (Mussolini banned it in Italy for that same reason). Ice cream was great for troop morale, and in 1943, the U.S. Armed Forces were the world’s largest ice cream manufacturers!



3 thoughts on “Fun Fact Fridays: The History of Ice Cream

    1. Thanks so much! I totally agree! It is a lot of fun learning about the origin of something. I look forward to reading your “history of” stories!

      Have a great weekend!!! 🙂

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