What do we really know about ice cream aside from the fact that it is universally loved and enjoyed? Who was the genius that formulated the first dish of ice cream? What were the first flavors?
There are so many questions, it’s enough to give you brain freeze.
Ice cream has a long history that starts thousands of miles from American soil. That long and storied history is marked by a handful of events which shaped what we now know as modern ice cream. Let’s take a quick journey through a few of the events that shaped the frosty treat that we love today.
Sometime during the 12th century, Marco Polo returned from Asia with what we may today consider sherbet. This recipe would shortly evolve into “cream ice.” In the 17th century, France would usurp this basic recipe when a chef named Procopio incorporated heavy cream and eggs into the mixture. The sweet dessert, now known colloquially as ice cream was now available to the public.
When ice cream finally arrived stateside via the confectioner Philip Lenzi in the late 1700s it was considered a delicacy and was mainly enjoyed by the elite. It wasn’t until insulated ice houses were invented and began popping up around the nation that ice cream became a readily available treat. By the mid-1800s it was a full-fledged American industry.
As the 1800s gave way to the 1900s, the soda counter became the main purveyor of ice cream, with the classic “soda jerk” serving new interpretations of ice cream in the form of floats, splits, and sundaes.