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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Who Started This Ice Cream Thing?

Once upon a time people lived without freezers because they hadn’t yet been invented. People would harvest enough ice in the winter to last stored in their ice boxes throughout the whole summer or they would have ice delivered to them (How). And if you think that is strange, think about what that actually means. People also lived without cold drinks, leftovers, and ice cream. How did people live without ice cream?

There must be many people in the world that don’t get to enjoy a good ice cream cone on a sunny day. Begging Mom to give you money for the ice cream truck, buying a triple scoop at the park—these are things some people don’t have. And once, no one at all had any such an experience.

So when did this ice cream craze all begin? When was the first lick? Who invented ice cream? Turns out, ice cream is so ancient that no one really knows whose genius it was that whipped up the first batch of candy milk (The History). Ice cream is much older than the flimsy old freezer. In as early as 54 Ad, “Roman Emperor Nero was said to have sent his slaves into the mountains to fetch snow to mix with nectar, fruit plump, and honey” (The History). However, sources say, this is most likely a tall tale. It is more likely that ice cream originates in China during the T’ang dynasty, happening in about 618-907 AD (The History). Although, there are rumors that China had ice cream as far back as 3000 BC (Olver). Wait, so did the Chinese have freezers? Nope! The king kept about “94 ice men on hand to lug ice to the palace to make a dish or kourmiss (heated fermented milk), flour, and carnphor” (The History).

Of course, I don’t think you have 94 extra men sitting around in your backyard just waiting to bring you some ice cream, but ice cream did somehow become a part of the American diet. From China, to Italy, to France, and finally to the US is the most probable guess when tracing ice cream’s history (Olver). In 1939 it began to be sold in American grocery stores and became so popular during WWII that Mussolini banned it from Italy because it was seen as a symbol of America (The History). American food is such a mix of other cultures that it is hard to pin down what is considered American. But it is even harder when you don’t know facts like this: When Ronald Regan was president, he declared July as National Ice Cream Month and encouraged everyone to celebrate any way that they can (National).This year, ice cream day will be on July 21st. How are you going to celebrate America’s dominance over ice cream? Ice cream trucks? Homemade ice cream from science class? Banana splits from the shop down the street?

Whatever you do to celebrate, you won’t be able to commemorate the inventor of these most delicious and popular treat. Ice cream wasn’t invented; it was slowly discovered over time through a process of strange experiments and myths (Goff). But, we can’t even celebrate who we think might have invented ice cream. There are so many different stories, and there is absolutely no historical backing to any of them (Goff). So, for National Ice Cream Month this year, I think I might just hashtag “IceCreamMonth” and join the trending party as IDFA suggests (National). And of course, I am going to have me some dark chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream in my favorite bowl.

Works Cited

Goff, Douglas H. "Food Science." Ice Cream History and Folklore. University of Guelph, 2009. Web. 16 Apr. 2013.
"How Did People Make Ice before Freezers?" How Did People Make Ice before Freezers?N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
"National Ice Cream Month." National Ice Cream Month. International Dairy Foods Association, 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
Olver, Lynne. "TheFood Timeline: History Notes--ice Cream." TheFood Timeline: History Notes--ice Cream. N.p., 13 Mar. 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.
"The History of Ice Cream: Who Invented It?" Timeline Invention Cone. Yankee Publishing: The 2004 Old Farmer's Almenac, 2013. Web. 15 Apr. 2013.

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