Ice cream has come a long way since it was first enjoyed as Asian Sorbeto and appropriated by Marco Polo. Centuries later, upon its introduction to America, it was only enjoyed by the elite. This was awhile before the invention of the ice house popularized frozen foods, and as such, ice cream was an ephemeral delicacy that few could afford. Aside from being a treat reserved for the rich and famous, it was also wildly different from what we now enjoy. Flavors were limited, but nonetheless, these historical figures found a way to enjoy some seriously memorable sundaes.
First Lady Dolley Madison was said to have a fondness for ice cream prepared with fresh Potomac oysters. Though this unique concoction was reported to be one of her favorite indulgences, she was resigned to serve vanilla ice cream topped with fresh strawberries for her husband’s inauguration. While we’re sure the vanilla and strawberries were lovely, we can’t help but wonder what she would have served atop the oyster ice cream.
Governor Francis Fauquier used the remarkably large hailstones that crashed through his mansion windows during a freak summer storm to make an ice cream with red wine and fresh cream. Governor Fauquier would go on to be one of the originators of the modern icehouse, or freezer, such was his love of ice cream.
First Lady Martha Washington was a huge fan of ice cream and served it often. Among her favorite flavors were parmesan cheese and chocolate, which by today’s standards would be quite spicy and bitter.