The Invention of Ice Cream
by SSR '09


Everyone's favorite treat has been around for as long as people can remember. Famous ancient rulers such as Alexander the Great, King Solomon, and Alexander the Great, Nero Claudius Caesar appeared to have enjoyed drinking snow with juices or honey. Marco Polo came back to Italy with a recipe for what today is called sherbet a thousand years later. Ice cream may have originated in China. During the 16th and 17th centuries, this recipe evolved into ice cream, which was a popular luxury dessert. The Italian Catherine de Medici introduced France to this frozen delicacy in 1553. In 1660, ice cream became a public treat.

It is very possible that ice cream wasn't in fact, invented, especially by a single person, but evolved over the course of many, many years. In 1777, a New York newspaper announced that Phillip Lenzi, a caterer, had just come from London, and would be serving ice cream. It was such a desirable treat that it was served at the inauguration of President James Madison. Until 1800, ice cream was not a public dessert, however.

In the early 1800's, insulated icehouses were created. Lead by Jacob Fussell, manufacturing ice cream became a major industry in America. Ice cream was not an exotic treat anymore. Technological innovations occurred because of the demand for ice cream, which needed to be kept frozen. Ice cream trucks also greatly affected the ice cream industry. In the late 1800s, people began adding ice cream to other treats. Ice cream sodas and sundaes were invented. During World War II, there became a "floating ice cream parlor" and after the war was over, Americans celebrated with ice cream. Ice cream became more common in grocery stores around the 1940's- 1970's, but this paid a price. Traditional ice cream parlors were steadily disappearing. Now, ice cream can be found in ice cream shops and at restaurants all over. What once was a rare delicacy is now America's most popular frozen dessert!


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