From dessert of the kings to a popular dessert- Ice cream

Today I will take you on a different trip, this time we will follow through the history a sweet dessert, one of my favorite, ice cream.

Ice cream it is older than you could imagine. So grab my hand and lets follow the  legends about ice cream and ice. We will go to Egypt were 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 over night. They were using evaporation combined with the fact that in the night the temperature are lower so that the water in the trays would froze.Ice cream was there more for those that were from upper class than for normal 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 the year 1700 BC, when people from here already had houses to store ice and also knew the recipe for ice cream. Unfortunately the name of the inventor of the Ice cream got lost in time and didn’t reach to us. They were quite ahead of things. I will never understand how many inventions got lost in time.

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 maybe 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 have also their recipe of ice cream, the ice is mixed 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 shadow we can see that here people likes not ice cream but drinks with ice, as some Biblical references mentions.

 We will stop now in ancient China were they had also a recipe for Ice cream. 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 the Emperor Nero. He loves Ice cream, so he always send runners to bring snow from the mountains snow that is mixed with fruits. We might get a little taste of ice cream, if we can grab some, while Emperor Nero is not watching. In the case that we  get caught we might loose our head.

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 closer times.

 We will stop at Catherine de’Medici court, she was one of the most important 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 comes also another story about Ice cream , it seems the Grand Duke Cosimo  I de’Medici  organized a big banquet to celebrate the Spanish deputation, He put in charge of the banquet organization Bernardo Buontalenti (1531-1608), a Florentine stage designer architect, military engineer and artist  theatrical designer and also an 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 share the passion of ice cream. The rumors say’s that  he offered to his Ice cream maker a life time pension just  for keeping the formula secret so ice cream would remain royal prerogative.It seems he likes to keep the goods just for him. Not to nice from 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 than a dessert for the upper class of society.  The advertise for ice cream appeared around 1777 in New York Gazette saying that you can find ice cream in everyday in in the shop of  Phlip Lenzi..

After we visited so many men now we will go and visit a woman, Nancy Johnson, she is an American(1795-1890) in 1843 she invented a ice cream 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 a 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.  The device became a standard mechanism for ice-cream. Her device and the fact that she sold it cheaply made the ice cream more popular.  From Nancy we will go visit a guy this time he made ice cream even more popular and available for normal people also. 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 to low and unstable so he created the first ice-cream factory so he could 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 the ability of a quicker transportation.

In the 1920, was invented the Good Humor Ice Cream Bar and it was patented in 1923. He sold his ice cream in big white vans equipped with bells and  uniformed drivers.

 We are in the 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 a 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 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 times we will go to Paris to a place where for the first  there was served ice cream in public. The place is called Cafe Procope and it is still standing. It was open 1686, more about this place I will tell you in a separate trip.

Now back to our times when we can enjoy all kind of ice creams with all kind of flavors. Talking about flavors 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 yu have or like 🙂

Now what we do with all of this:

First you separate the eggs, you place the yolks into a mixing bowl than 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 few minutes until it gets thick and bit pale in color.

Than you will fill your sink with cold water and also put some ice-cubes in and than you put also   a metal bowl.

Than we take the remaining sugar and the milk into a saucepan and heat it and stirring it regularly until  the sugar melts in and also until the milk is just about to simmer.

Than we take this and pour it over the first mixture ( egg and sugar mixture) while we are whisking all the time.Then we pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place over a moderately-low heat, stirring continually, until the temperature reaches 75 degrees Celsius. The mixture should have thickened slightly, becoming a thin custard Now 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 is cooled  we will mix the ice cream and the liquor.Than 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.


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