Today I will take you on a different trip. This time we will follow through the history of a sweet dessert, one of my favorite, ice cream.
Ice cream is older than you could imagine. So grab my hand, and let’s follow the legends about ice cream and ice. We will go to Egypt, where the ice cream first appeared. Egyptians knew to make ice and ice cream from around 2700Bc. Egyptian women used to place shallow clay trays of water to freeze overnight. They were using evaporation combined with the fact that the temperature is lower at night so that the water in the trays would freeze. Ice cream was there more for those that were from the upper class than for ordinary people. It is interesting how some things are lost in time.
From Egypt, we will continue our trip in time to Mesopotamia. We will go to 1700 BC when people already had houses to store ice and knew the recipe for ice cream. Unfortunately, the name of the inventor of the Ice cream got lost in time and didn’t reach us. They were pretty ahead of things. I will never understand how many inventions got lost in time.
The next stop for us will be in my favorite country Greece. The Greeks used to mix snow with honey and fruits in the markets of Athens. So let’s go to markets maybe we will find some ice cream like this. Or perhaps if we are lucky, we might meet Hippocrates. He is using ice cream to treat his patients. As we didn’t find Hippocrates, we will continue our trip in time. We will go to Persians; they also have their recipe for ice cream. They mix it with saffron, fruits, and others flavors. If we go to the court of Alexander the Great, we might see him enjoying snow flavored with honey and nectar. If we are lucky enough, we might taste some.
We will go with our trip in biblical times to Solomon court, where from the shadow we can see that here people like not ice cream but drinks with ice, as some Biblical references mention.
We will stop now in ancient China, where they also had an ice cream recipe. Here ice cream was made from frozen milk and rice. They used to pour a mixture of snow and salpetre over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup. After our trip to China, we will go to the Roman Empire, in Rome, where we will meet Emperor Nero. He loves Ice cream, so he always sends runners to bring snow from the mountains mixed with fruits. If we can grab some, we might get a little taste of ice cream while Emperor Nero is not watching. In the case that we get caught, we might lose our heads.
Now we know a bit about ice cream. We know that was known for the emperors of ancient times. We will follow the kings and the queens that will fall in love with ice cream. We will see how appreciated was ice cream in Europe in closing times.
We will stop at Catherine de Medici court. She was one of the most influential women of her time. She loves ice cream. She brought some chiefs from Italy with her to France when she married Duke of Orleans, chiefs that knew ice cream recipes. From Italy also comes another story about Ice cream. It seems the Grand Duke Cosimo I de Medici organized a big banquet to celebrate the Spanish deputation. He was put in charge of the banquet organization Bernardo Buontalenti (1531-1608), a Florentine stage designer architect, military engineer, theatrical artist-designer, and inventor. With the occasion of the banquet, he invented a new dessert: a sorbet that contained salt ( to lower the temperature), lemon, sugar, egg, honey, milk, and a drop of wine. This combination was flavored with bergamot and orange. Bernardo Buontalenti is considered the father of gelato in Florence. This recipe we can taste even today in Florence during the gelato festival.
Grab my hand and let’s visit Charles of England. He shares a passion for ice cream. The rumors say that he offered his Ice cream maker a lifetime pension to keep the formula secret so the ice cream would remain royal prerogative. It seems he likes to keep the goods just for him. Not too lovely on his part, so let’s go away from him
Ice cream wasn’t favorite just for kings and queens was also for Presidents like Ben Franklin, George Washington. Ice cream got first in America earlier, around 1744, but it was then a dessert for the upper class of society. The advertisement for ice cream appeared around 1777 in New York Gazette, saying that you can find ice cream every day in the shop of Philip Lenzi…
After we visited so many men, now we will go and see a woman, Nancy Johnson, who was an American(1795-1890) in 1843, she invented an ice cream the freezing machine. It was a manual device cranked by a handle. Had an outer wooden pail that contained the crushed ice. Ice cream was in an inner tin or pewter cylinder. In this cylinder, you could have two types of ice cream. She patented her invention in 1843. It was the first device for ice cream and became a standard mechanism for ice cream. Her machine and the fact that she sold it cheaply made the ice cream more popular. From Nancy, we will visit a guy this time, he made ice cream even more popular and available for ordinary people. We will go to Jacob Fussell. With him, ice cream became more available for the masses. He is a Pennsylvanian milk dealer. He thought that the milk demand was too low and unstable, so he created the first ice-cream factory to use his unsold milk.
His factory became a big success, as you can see, making ice cream more accessible to everyone.
This process was also accelerated later by the industrial revolution, refrigeration, steam power, and quicker transportation.
In 1920, the Good Humor Ice Cream Bar was invented and patented in 1923. He sold his ice cream in big white vans equipped with bells and uniformed drivers.
We were in 1930 when ice cream became really popular. In 1934 appeared first ice cream that was covered in chocolate, and it was put on a stick. This was made by Chris Nelson. He was an owner of an ice cream shop from Onawa Iowa, he had this idea years before when in his shop came a young fellow that couldn’t decide what between an ice cream sandwich and a chocolate bar. Chris Nelson called his new ice cream I-Scream-Bar”.
Ice cream became so popular that it became a symbol for Americans and later in the second war became a motivational symbol; during the war, ice cream selling increased.
Now, before we get back to our time, we will go to Paris to a place where there was served ice cream in public for the first time. The site is called Cafe Procope, and it is still standing. It was open in 1686, more about this place I will tell you on a separate trip.
Now back to our times when we could enjoy all kinds of ice creams with flavors. Talking about tastes, I will end our trip with an ice cream recipe:
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups (500mL) full-cream milk
- 180mL caster sugar
- 3/4 cup thickened cream
- 1/2 teaspoon liquor for flavoring – Disaronno Amaretto, or what kind of liquor you have or like 🙂
Now what we do with all of this:
First, you separate the eggs, you place the yolks into a mixing bowl, then you add half the sugar to the bowl and start to whisk until your hand is in pain:) ( I m joking). You do it for a few minutes until it gets thick and a bit pale in color.
Then you will fill your sink with cold water and also put some ice-cubes in, and then you put also a metal bowl.
Then, we take the remaining sugar and the milk into a saucepan, heat it, and stir it regularly until the sugar melts in and until the milk is just about to simmer.
Then, we take this and pour it over the first mixture ( egg and sugar mixture) while we are whisking all the time. Then we run the mixture back into the saucepan and place it over moderately low heat, stirring continually until the temperature reaches 75 degrees Celsius. The mixture should have thickened slightly, becoming a thin custard. We will remove the saucepan and pour the custard into the chilled bowl( the one we had in the sink). Let it cool for a little while, then place in the fridge until completely chilled. After it is cooled, we will mix the ice cream and the liquor. Then, we should put it in an ice cream maker until it forms the consistency of soft ice cream and increases in volume. Store in the freezer for at least a couple of hours before serving. I hope you will enjoy it, and also I hope you enjoyed our long trip in time.