Interesting Histories: Ice Cream — Dessert of Gods

Paul Cathill
Mar 5 · 4 min read

Ice cream is yummy, creamy, cold, satisfying, reinvigorating, uplifting, life giving, mood improving, always welcoming substance. It can be eaten in summer, it can be eaten in winter, it can be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It can be eaten whenever and wherever. It is part of our lives forever and ever. But where did it come from? Who invented this holy dessert? Maybe Gods? Demigods? Angels? Let’s take a looksee… and have an ice cream after.

Ice cream has been around for thousands of years. But it was more of ice and less of cream. The earliest records of something similar to an ice cream came from the Achaemenid Empire around 500 BC. They mixed ice with fruits and flavoured water to produce a nice, chilly dessert in summer for their esteemed kings and queens.

Ancient Greeks ate their snow with honey and nectar. Hopefully they did know not to eat the yellow snow. That is off limits. The Crazy Roman Emperor Neo liked his ice mixed with fruits and had a whole team of slaves prepare it for him. And even famous King Solomon was known to enjoy a couple of flavoured ice drinks during hot harvest seasons.

Chinese were more inventive and made their ice cream from milk and rice back in 200 BC. Now it is hard to guess what it looked and tasted like, but the idea was very similar as the end product was chilled using snow. Indians have Kulfi, an old and popular dessert made using milk and is originated back in the mighty Mughal Empire.

If we move further through history, somewhere in 1533, we will meet Italian duchess Catherine de’ Medici. She had personal chefs in her entourage who knew how to make delicious flavoured snow. Once again, I hope it was not yellow.

Back in England it was Charles I who introduced ice cream to his rich and powerful friends. And he did keep the recipe for this delicacy a secret. You want your ice cream? Come to Charles for your fix, baby.

In the United State of A, ice cream was introduced by Quaker colonists and became a quite popular dish. Even presidents loved it. Ben Franklin and George Washington spent a pretty sum to staff the White House pantries with it. And Thomas Jefferson had his own 18 steps recipe on how to make the perfect creamy dessert.

But it was all small scale ice cream bananas. The real popularity for it came with the invention of insulated ice houses back in 1800s. Suddenly ice became widely available and with it did ice cream. Ice was brought from frozen rivers or high mountains and then delivered to ice cream stands all around the nation.

At the end it was small and affordable refrigerators that solidified ice cream in our hearts. Now you did not have to rely on your friendly ice merchant to store your ice cream, but could safely hoard it in your own freezer. By this stage ice cream became a common sight in shops, restaurants, homes and anywhere where a dessert was an important business.

With popularity of ice cream came its variety. One worth mentioning is ice cream sodas. Now that was a winner. Plunk a scoop of ice cream into a tasty coke and enjoy a creamy delicacy. Mmmmm yeaaa.

An interesting fact about ice cream sodas is that they were outlawed by religious groups to be consumed on Sundays. It was too good for that and Jesus would not approve. Although he probably would, who would not approve of ice cream? But smart ice cream dealers switched the soda with syrup and called it a Sundae, an ice cream for a Sunday. Get it? Do you?

From that point on there was no way of stopping the ice cream madness. New flavours and types were popping out everywhere. Gelato, sorbet, frozen custard, soft ice cream anyone? There are cheap ice creams and premium ice creams. There are common ice creams and hipster ice creams. There are dairy free ice creams and ice creams made out of yogurt. If it is creamy and cold, it is an ice cream.

There are ice cream stores and ice cream restaurants. And nearly every menu has an ice cream dessert on it. You can eat it with a banana, or a chocolate, with a pancake or a fruit. You can eat it when you are happy and when you are sad. You can pretty much eat it all the time. Even though it is not recommended. What is your favourite ice cream?

Interesting Histories

History contains best narratives, best heroes, best villains, best adventures and best romance. At Interesting Histories we try to find those small stories that educate and fascinate us, stories that tell about bygone times and exotic locations. Join us on this world wide romp.

Paul Cathill

Written by

I love to write - flash fiction, short stories, assays, historical articles, books. Anything that can be written I want to try to write it.

Interesting Histories

History contains best narratives, best heroes, best villains, best adventures and best romance. At Interesting Histories we try to find those small stories that educate and fascinate us, stories that tell about bygone times and exotic locations. Join us on this world wide romp.

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