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A Cool History of Ice Cream

With summer almost heavy on us, let’s start talking about one of the most important and favourite coolants of all-the ice-cream!

Who doesn’t love a creamy bowl of chilling chocolate or vanilla or strawberry or maybe all three, topped off with nuts, fruits, and toppings of your choice? But have you ever wondered how this amazing dessert came into being and when?

The Historical Days:

Well, since this invention dates back ages, it’s a normal thing for a lot of people out there to try and gain their hands on the patent. There are lots of stories too but many of them are not true or based on some random hypothesis. We know that Alexander the Great loved snow and ice flavoured with nectar. We know Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar often sent runners up the mountains for snow which was then flavoured with fruits and juices. However, the award for the inventor of ice cream has been won by none of them.

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It has been known to the best of our knowledge that the Persians were the first ones to make ice cream like dessert in the history of ice creams. They mixed kind ice with grape or fruit juice and prepared the dessert. It was a welcome delicacy in the hot, war thronged weather. Since it was quite difficult to produce, naturally it was a dish meant for the royals and the noble people.

This Persian confection was quite similar in composition to the sorbet that we have today. And then, came the invasion of Alexander the Great, for whom this delicacy changed its robes once more, this time encasing itself with honey. These recipes were inherited by the Iranians as the “Faloodeh”, later on.

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This recipe was quite popular and spread kind of like wildfire. The Romanians knew about it and produced a similar delicacy. In the 9th and 11th centuries, the concept of ice cream reached China and Arab countries. It is said that the founder of the T’ang 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.

It is most likely that explorers like Marco Polo carried this recipe to Italy and introduced this dish to Europe. The timing is not quite engraved on concrete as to when Europe first had its taste but it was probably around the 16th century. It reached France when Catherine de Medici married Henry II of France. Mostly known by the name of “Cream Ice” at that point of time and was quite a regular at the tables of Charles the 1st in the 17th century.

It wasn’t until 1660 that ice cream was made available to the public. A Sicilian man named Procopio Cutò introduced a recipe of frozen milk, cream, butter, and eggs (gelato) at Café Procope (called the oldest café in Paris), which he owned. Procopio is credited as the inventor of gelato.

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The Modern-Day Ice Cream:

Ice cream made its debut in America in 1744, when a Scottish colonist visited the Governor of Maryland and wrote about the “delicious strawberry ice cream” he had eaten there. This was probably the first written account of ice cream there ever is.

Then as the centuries rolled, the ice cream was made for the masses. At first, there was a problem with the storing methods. Different methods were tried while trying to store it for a long time but manufacturers were faced with failures. Then the “artificial freezer method” came along and was used for preservation purpose of the frozen ice cream. This method is still in wide use today.

During World War I, ice cream was already in the shops and sharing the economy. During World War II, it was in even more demand, as every shop, hospitals even demanded it. The production surged and the ice cream industry was soaring across the American sky. So much, that it was regarded as a symbol of America. Well, in that case, ice cream should be made a symbol for the whole world, don’t you think?

No wonder Baskin Robbins is such a success. Be it a war, a bad day, a fight with your best friend or a bad break up, ice cream has been our all-time mood saviour and will continue through the ages. This delicacy is more than just a mix of milk and ice, its emotion. It is indeed one of the biggest industries all across the world as well a dessert loved by people of all ages. Even those out dieting there, try it on their cheat days, I am sure. And for the poor lactose intolerant ones, you have got your own lines of popsicles and fruit ice candies. Also, since its quarantine and people are going crazy, why don’t you whip up some ice cream of your own? It would be a great job and the results are no doubt, quite delicious.

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