Cold, sweet, and creamy. Who doesn’t love ice cream on a hot summer day? But have you ever wondered how—or when—ice cream was invented? Turns out, ice cream has been around for over 2,000 years!
- We don’t know exactly when the first frozen treats were created, but we do know that Alexander the Great enjoyed eating snow or ice mixed with honey and nectar. King Solomon loved iced fruit drinks. The Roman emperor Nero had snow brought from nearby mountains to make frozen confections.
- The first frozen treats didn’t contain milk or cream, but were generally made by mixing fruit, honey, or nectar with snow and ice.
- Marco Polo brought a dessert similar to sherbet back from his adventures in Asia. Around 1600, this dessert evolved into something closer to modern ice cream.
- Charles the First of England regularly ate something called “cream ice” during the 1600s. Catherine de Medici brought ice cream from Italy to France when she married Henry II.
- Café Procope, the first café in Paris, served a frozen dessert made from milk, cream, eggs, and sugar.
- Ice cream made its way to the United States sometime in the mid-1700s. A newspaper ad appeared in a New York City newspaper in 1744. A merchant’s records show that George Washington spent $200 on ice cream during the summer of 1790.
- Dolly Madison ordered a spectacular strawberry ice cream dessert for the President Madison’s second inaugural banquet.
- Ice cream was a dessert enjoyed mostly by the wealthy until the early 1800s. Insulated ice houses, motorized delivery vehicles, and other technologies made ice cream available to the masses. Soda fountains and ice cream shops became a common sight.
- During World War II, ice cream was used to lift the troops’ spirits. A floating ice cream shop was built in the Pacific Ocean for troops stationed there. When World War II ended, people celebrated by—you guessed it—eating ice cream.
- Today, people generally eat ice cream at home. Most of the soda and ice cream shops from yesteryear have closed. But ice cream remains one of America’s favorite desserts. Today, more than 1.6 billion gallons of ice cream are made in the U.S. every year.
Questions and Answers
Question: Is ice cream healthy?
Answer: Ice cream contains dairy products. It often contains fruit or nuts, as well. All of these ingredients have healthful nutrients. But, ice cream is also high in fat and sugar, making it a once in a while treat. Enjoy a small bowl every now and then.
Want to make ice cream, but don’t have an ice cream maker? No problem. Here’s an easy recipe for ice cream in a bag!