However, in the 1700s the French hit upon
the idea of freezing custards and recipes for ice cream began to appear
in French cookbooks. Somewhere around this same time,
the Italians were making ice cream in pretty much the same way we make
History of Ice Cream in America
Ice cream arrived in America during the 1700's. The first evidence that ice cream had reached America comes In a letter written in 1700 by a guest of Maryland's Governor Bladen is the comment, "we had a dessert no less Curious; among the Rareties of which it was Compos'd, was some fine Ice Cream which, with the Strawberries and Milk, eat most Deliciously." George Washington himself brought pewter pot freezers to the United States -useful souvenirs of a trip to France. Thomas Jefferson, the great gourmet president had an icehouse that stored vast quantities of ice, as well as enough servants to laboriously turn and turn and turn the ice canisters used for the ice cream. He didn't have enough vanilla for the taste he preferred but ordered them later from France. With a local river supplying him with ice, he was able to have ice cream all year long.
It was two freed slaves working for Dolly Madison, whose culinary interests are well known,who continued the elite use of ice cream. Sallie Shadd, who ran a catering business, used strawberries from the garden to create a strawberry ice cream. But it was a chef in the White House, Augustus Jackson, who shaped the ice cream into elegant molds that were served on a silver tray. Ice cream was an elite dessert, available to the wealthy.
The Sage of Concord, none other than Ralph Waldo Emerson, observed the value of ice cream. "We dare not trust our wit for making our house pleasant to our friend," he observed, "and so we buy ice cream."
The industrial age made ice cream available everywhere to everyone. Making ice was a business of its own, one that provided ice for ice boxes, that primitive refrigerator. It was the air inject freezer, however which brought ice cream into the world of commerce. This freezer is able to inject as much as 60% air into the mixture of ice cream. Aptly, it was in Philadelphia where a woman, Nancy Johnson, who came up with a design for a 'machine' with a crank that produced a smooth, creamy ice cream. This was a hand cranked machine, however, and a tedious job for the lover of ice cream, but it did make it possible for the average person to enjoy this cool dessert. As an industry, ice cream began when a Baltimore milk dealer, Jacob Fussell, found himself with a glut of milk and cream. to rid himself of excess, he made ice cream, selling it at low prices that made it available to a larger market. Fussell was in business and that business stretched from Baltimore to Wachington, then New York, even as far north as Boston.
Once established, there was no stopping the rage for ice cream. The eskimo Pie appeared in 1921 and the Good Humor followed rapidly in 1923. In that same year, ann ingenious gent named, Hood, invented a tub-shaped paper cup for serving ice cream. This revolutionary cup was first presented at the National Ice Cream Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. It ultimately found the name Dixie Cup and is still sold, now coated with wax and accompanied by a small plastic spoon. Thee was no rest for innovative ice cream makers and soon that lovely sherbet on a stick appeared, that which is called a Popsicle. This was followed by the invention of a machine that could make soft ice cream to be dispensed in a swirl right on the spot. This became Carvel.
With such enthusiasm and such ingenuity being applied to ice cream it was inevitable that the commercial enterprises would want to lure customers with the promise of variety. At a soda fountain in Boston, an entrepreneur named Howard Johnson promised "28 Flavors" to his customers and an empire was born. Not to be outdone, two gentlemen, one Mr. Basking, the other Mr. Robbins went beyond Johnson and promised 31 flavors.
The Ice Cream Cone
An enterprising Italian fellow named Marchiony made and sold
ice cream from a push cart in New York City during the late 1800s and
early 1900s. In order to make it convenient for his customers to eat,
he served it in a cup shaped waffle, which he also made. Although he
generally doesn't get credit for it, he probably should be noted as
being the first to use a cone for ice cream. Probably the reason he
doesn't is because in 1903 he patented his idea as a waffle "cup"
with a handle and sloping sides.
The story generally told is that
at the 1904 world's fair there was an ice cream vendor, named Charles
Menches, selling ice cream in glass or ceramic cups and in the concession
booth next to him was an acquaintance of his, Ernest Hawmi, selling
a type of middle eastern waffle called Zalabia. Zalabia is a crisp,
water-based waffle usually served with syrup. When the ice cream vendor
ran out of clean cups and couldn't hand-wash them fast enough to keep
up with customer demand, he was in a panic; but the waffle maker had
a better idea. He rolled his waffles into a cornucopia shape, worked
out a business deal with the ice cream vendor, and the first actual
ice cream cones came into being.
The Ice Cream Sundae
It was called a Sunday, a Sundi, a Sundae and the dispute rages as to where it was first created. Evidence points to Ithaca, New York where the students at Cornell University latched on to a dish of ice cream with a cherry on top and cherry syrup poured over all. This is disputed by folks from Virginia to Wisconsin and back to upstate New York, this time Buffalo. Each disputed city offers a different reason for the creation being called a Sunday, though that day of the week always comes into play. Some say the first Sunday was created with chocolate syrup. Wherever the first Sunday was created, it was off and running, traveling across the country like wildfire, developing its own variations as it went. The banana split, an invention of waist-expanding possibilities with a split banana and not one, but three scoops of ice cream and three different syrups was the result of this rage. And serves as an example of the deeply-held American belief that more is better.
What Makes Good Ice Cream? An Experiment in Taste
When it comes to my personal tastes
in ice cream, I must confess I am a bit of a snob. In my opinion, if
it doesn't contain real cream, it is not ice cream. Unfortunately, those
wise souls who make the laws concerning our foods (you know, the same
ones who declared Ketchup a vegetable!) allow manufacturers of so-called
"ice cream" to create concoctions which contain guar gum,
locust gum, carageenan and skim milk or milk solids (read that powdered
milk) to call their product "ice cream!" The various "gums"
fool the palate by making a product, that would otherwise be watery
and full of icy lumps, freeze into a smooth concoction with the consistency
of real ice cream. But that's the only similarity to real ice cream
Try this experiment some time:
buy one of the cheaper commercial brands of ice cream filled with the
lovely gum concoctions and at the same time buy a quality ice cream.
One thing to look for on the package is cream . . . if it is a premium
grade ice cream then "cream" will be the very first ingredient.
If it is a bit of a lesser grade ice cream then "cream" will
be listed as the second ingredient with milk as the first one. If cream
is not the first or second ingredient, do not waste your time with it.
Ditto if it contains cream along with gum and/or Carageenan.
Now, take two bowls and in one
put a scoop of the gum based ice cream and in the other put a scoop
of quality ice cream. Place them aside and go watch tv or play chess
or otherwise pass the time for about 20 minutes to half an hour. When
you go back, you will find that the bowl containing the premium ice
cream has melted into a rather rich, smooth liquid with little or no
foam. However, the cheap ice cream bowl will contain a sickly looking
liquid accompanied by a layer of foam on top. Why the foam? Well, in
order to keep the ice cream cheap for consumers to buy and to make the
volume of the "ice cream" expand (thereby filling a gallon
container with less product than it would take to fill with a premium
product) they whip air into it as it freezes, thus, when it melts, the
escaping air forms a foam on top.
How to Make Ice Cream at
Actually, ice cream making at home
and the home ice cream machine hasn't changed much since Nancy Jones
invented it in 1843, except for the addition of an electric motor to
turn the paddle.
Old-fashioned ice cream makers
I cannot speak for anywhere else,
but in the southern United States children are expected to behave in
a particular way, that is to say quietly, mannerly, and respectfully;
or at least it was that way when I was coming up. And there were certain
duties that we always had at various times in various situations. One
of the functions that us kids got to "enjoy" was turning the
crank on the old bucket-type hand-cranked ice cream maker. Today not
much ice cream is made at home and if it is, it is done with an electric
freezer. Not so in my day. It was a chore that we both loved and dreaded.
We loved it because of the goodness that was created as the end product
of our labors, but we hated it because it was boring, exhausting, and
sometimes downright painful.
First the canister, set in the
center of the ice cream maker bucket, was filled a bit more than three-quarters
full of a cream, egg, sugar and flavoring mixture. A double winged paddle
was inserted into this bucket and this was fitted with a special lid
which had a small hole in it just big enough to let the paddle armature
extend through to engage a set of wheel gears above it. These wheel
gears were moved by the action of a drive shaft which was a direct part
of the crank we were to turn.
Once the canister was in place,
the layering and packing of the ice began. First was a moderate layer
of cracked ice which was covered by a layer of rock salt. Then a second
layer of ice and another layer of rock salt. This layering action was
repeated over and over until the layers of ice and salt reached to the
top of the bucket and completely surrounded the metal canister containing
the ice cream mixture. The salt would cause the ice to continually melt
and refreeze which dropped the temperature inside the canister to freezing
levels. As we turned the crank, the paddle inside the canister rotated
which kept the ice cream mixture swirling and moving in the canister.
It also kept the ingredients well mixed. In most models, the canister
also rotated as the crank was turned. The action of the paddle turning
in the mixture kept large ice crystals from forming during the freezing
process and the end result would be a smooth, creamy textured ice cream.
Now, to a kid, the cranking part
started out easily enough, but as you cranked and cranked, boredom began
to set in and your arms, shoulders and back began to protest in the
only way they had . . . pain! But, the fun was just beginning. As the
mixture in the canister swirled it also began to freeze, and it grew
in density. As it got thicker, it got stiff and became harder and harder
to crank. I have seen many a kid (including myself) sweating and groaning
and nearly in tears with the effort of turning that infernal crank.
And we dare not stop! We could complain all we wanted, but to stop would
usually mean a swat on the butt or being humiliated by being told we
were "sissies" or "cry-babies" or, even worse, we
would be threatened with not getting any of the precious ice cream once
it was done. That alone was usually enough to drive a kid to crank until
his intestines were about to pop out his belly-button.
Finally, blessed relief, the mixture
would eventually become impossible for a kid to crank and some male
adult would take over and crank until the whole process bogged down
from the sheer weight and density of the now formed ice cream. But--agony
of agonies--the ice cream was still not yet ready to eat. The ice cream
now had to be ripened! I have seen kids, after seeming hours (actually
about 35 to 45 minutes!) of torturous cranking and nearly bleeding at
the ears from the effort, totally collapse in defeat and despair when
they learned that a couple of hours of aging was necessary before they
could enjoy the fruit of their torturous labors!
To "ripen" the ice cream,
the container was removed from the salty ice and the ice discarded.
The lid was removed, and the ice cream packed down with a wooden paddle
or large spoon, smoothed over and a piece of waxed or parchment paper
placed on top. The lid was then replaced and it was ready to be re-iced.
Meantime, the process of layering fresh ice and salt was repeated. The
canister was placed in the bucket on top of the first layer of ice,
and more fresh ice and a little rock salt added and packed around and
over the top of the canister. Then this whole thing was placed under
a shade tree, covered with newspapers and a blanket and left for about
an hour, sometimes two. The end result would be a firm, creamy dessert
that was a bit of heaven on earth.
Still, I have to admit, I wax a
bit nostalgic when I think back on summertime ice cream making in Kentucky.
It was fun to share the work and the day with young friends and cousins.
The anticipation of the finished product was nearly as pleasant as the
actual eating of it. And, it was one of the few times in my young life
that I was allowed to indulge in this lovely sweet until I could eat
no more. All us guys used to lie around, painfully stuffed, but basking
in the afterglow of our ice cream orgy. We were so mellow we even tolerated
having the girls join us in the shade of a big ole tree. Almost always
there was an old dog, usually a hound, at one of these functions and
he always left stuffed, too, at the end of the day.
Fresh from the field iced watermelon
was always a hit at summer get together's but it got short shrift during
the times we made ice cream. When fresh ice cream was available as a
treat, watermelon need not bother to apply.
Modern Ice Cream Makers - the Ice Cream Machine
Today, when I make ice cream, the
icing and basic process remain unchanged but now when I get ready to
age it, I pack it and smooth it then pop it into the freezer for a couple
And while I was making the lovely
stuff, I smiled and was filled with joy at the hum of the electric motor
because I didn't have to crank the blasted thing!
Why should we make ice cream at home, why invest money in an ice cream maker, yet another electric machine? The answer to that is simple - quality control. When making ice cream in your machine at home, you use the freshest of ingredients, put in no additives, and enjoy the result immediately. There is no substitute. For ease and simplicity, get an ice cream maker. It is a wonderful machine.
Ice Cream Molds
All varieties of molded desserts were popular with the Victorians. Ice cream molds are great collectibles today. Many were made of pewter, but there were some richer copper molds. There were an infinite number of designs for the molds, from abstract petal shaped, crown designs, swans, lobster, flowers and shells. At a London store run by Agnes Marshall there were more than two thousand different shapes and sizes. Many were used for purposes other than ice cream. Marshall was also a teacher and cookbook author and her books, The Book of Ices and Fancy Ices were also sold in her London store.
How to make ice cream
at home- with valuable ice cream making tips:
1. Use only fresh cream, milk and
2. There are two types of ice cream
mixtures, basic ice cream and custard
ice cream. Basic consists of cream, milk, sugar and flavoring.
No eggs, and it is not cooked. The custard base consists of cream, milk,
egg yolks, sugar and flavoring and it is cooked until it coats a spoon.
3. Avoid metal spoons, sieves and bowls when using highly acidic fruits such as raspberries. Metal will discolor the fruit and spoil the taste. We've never seen a metallic ice cream recipe .
4. No matter which type of mixture
(cooked or uncooked) always be sure to have it cold when you put it
in the ice cream maker. It will freeze quicker and you will need less
ice and salt.
5. Make sure the drain hole in the
ice bucket is not plugged and can drain freely. This prevents the salt-water
of the melted ice mixture from overflowing into your ice cream mixture.
6. When ripening the ice cream,
always discard the old ice and salt and re-pack with fresh ice and salt.
7. Always take time to ripen the
ice cream. It is usually still too soft when the processing is done.
Ripening helps set the ice cream to the desired consistency and it allows
all the flavors to permeate the product.
8. Confectioner's sugar is a handy for instantly adjusting the sweetness of your mix. Lemon juice does the same job if you need to adjust the ice cream's acidity.
9. Always use rock salt because
it has the best freezing properties.
10. Always let someone you love lick
the paddle after the process is done (be sure you leave a bit of ice
cream on for the lucky one).
11. Remember that flavors are more pronounced at high temperatures, less strong at chilly ice cream temperatures. If you taste something in its warm state, it should be almost too sweet or too strong, too full of chocolate o (if that's possible). They will be less strong when chilled.