Ice cream (derived from earlier iced cream or cream ice) is a sweetened frozen food typically eaten as a snack or dessert. It is usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavors. It is typically sweetened with sugar or sugar substitutes. Typically, flavourings and colourings are added in addition to stabilizers. The mixture is stirred to incorporate air spaces and cooled below the freezing point of water to prevent detectable ice crystals from forming. The result is a smooth, semi-solid foam that is solid at very low temperatures (< 2 °C or 35 °F). It becomes more malleable as its temperature increases.
|Main ingredients||Milk or cream, sugar|
|Variations||Gelato, sorbet, frozen custard|
The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another. Phrases such as “frozen custard“, “frozen yogurt“, “sorbet“, “gelato“, and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, such as the United States, the phrase “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients, notably the amount of cream. Products that do not meet the criteria to be called ice cream are labelled “frozen dairy dessert” instead. In other countries, such as Italy and Argentina, one word is used for all variants. Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes (e.g., soy milk or tofu), are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan.
Ice cream may be served in dishes, for eating with a spoon, or in cones, which are licked. Ice cream may be served with other desserts, such as apple pie. Ice cream is used to prepare other desserts, including ice cream floats, sundaes, milkshakes, ice cream cakes and even baked items, such as Baked Alaska.
In many of those flavours, spicy ice creams are also available in some specific countries.
History of ice creams probably begun around 500 BC in the Achaemenid Empire with ice combined with flavors to produce summertime treats. In 400 BC, the Persians invented a special chilled food, made of rose water and vermicelli, which was served to royalty during summers. The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavours.
During the 5th century BC, ancient Greeks ate snow mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, encouraged his Ancient Greek patients to eat ice “as it livens the life-juices and increases the well-being.”
A frozen mixture of milk and rice was used in China around 200 BC. “They poured a mixture of snow and saltpetre over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup, for, in the same way as salt raises the boiling point of water, it lowers the freezing point to below zero.”
In the sixteenth century, the Mughal emperors used relays of horsemen to bring ice from the Hindu Kush to Delhi, where it was used in fruit sorbets. Kulfi is a popular frozen dairy dessert from the Indian subcontinent and is often described as “traditional Indian ice cream.” It originated in the sixteenth century in the Mughal Empire.
When Italian duchess Catherine de’ Medici married the Duke of Orléans (Henry II of France) in 1533, she is said to have brought with her to France some Italian chefs who had recipes for flavoured ices or sorbets. One hundred years later, Charles I of England was, it was reported, so impressed by the “frozen snow” that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula secret, so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative. There is no historical evidence to support these legends, which first appeared during the 19th century.
The first recipe in French for flavoured ices appears in 1674, in Nicholas Lemery’s Recueil de curiositéz rares et nouvelles de plus admirables effets de la nature. Recipes for sorbetti saw publication in the 1694 edition of Antonio Latini’s Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward). Recipes for flavoured ices begin to appear in François Massialot’s Nouvelle Instruction pour les Confitures, les Liqueurs, et les Fruits, starting with the 1692 edition. Massialot’s recipes result in a coarse, pebbly texture. Latini claims that the results of his recipes should have the fine consistency of sugar and snow.
To ice cream.
Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweeten’d, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six Pots you must allow eighteen or twenty Pound of Ice, breaking the Ice very small; there will be some great Pieces, which lay at the Bottom and Top: You must have a Pail, and lay some Straw at the Bottom; then lay in your Ice, and put in amongst it a Pound of Bay-Salt; set in your Pots of Cream, and lay Ice and Salt between every , that they may not touch; but the Ice must lie round them on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be froze in four Hours, but it may stand longer; then take it out just as you use it; hold it in your Hand and it will slip out. When you wou’d freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Raspberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemmonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemmon-Juice sweeten’d; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.
An early reference to ice cream given by the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1744, reprinted in a magazine in 1877. “1744 in Pennsylvania Mag. Hist. & Biogr. (1877) I. 126 Among the rarities..was some fine ice cream, which, with the strawberries and milk, eat most deliciously.”
The 1751 edition of The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glassefeatures a recipe for ice cream. OED gives her recipe: “H. GLASSE Art of Cookery (ed. 4) 333 (heading) To make Ice Cream..set it [sc. the cream] into the larger Bason. Fill it with Ice, and a Handful of Salt.” The year 1768 saw the publication of L’Art de Bien Faire les Glaces d’Office by M. Emy, a cookbook devoted entirely to recipes for flavoured ices and ice cream.
Quaker colonists introduced ice cream to the United States, bringing their ice cream recipes with them. Confectioners sold ice cream at their shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era. Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were known to have regularly eaten and served ice cream. Records, kept by a merchant from Catham street, New York, show George Washington spending approximately $200 on ice cream in the summer of 1790. The same records show president Thomas Jefferson having an 18 step recipe for ice cream. First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of U.S. President James Madison, served ice cream at her husband’s Inaugural Ball in 1813.
Expansion in popularity
In the Mediterranean, ice cream appears to have been accessible to ordinary people by the mid-eighteenth century. Ice cream became popular and inexpensive in England in the mid-nineteenth century, when Swiss émigré Carlo Gatti set up the first stand outside Charing Cross station in 1851. He sold scoops in shells for one penny. Prior to this, ice cream was an expensive treat confined to those with access to an ice house. Gatti built an ‘ice well’ to store ice that he cut from Regent’s Canal under a contract with the Regent’s Canal Company. By 1860, he expanded the business and began importing ice on a large scale from Norway.
Agnes Marshall, regarded as the “queen of ices” in England, did much to popularize ice cream recipes and make its consumption into a fashionable middle-class pursuit. She wrote four books: Ices Plain and Fancy: The Book of Ices (1885), Mrs. A.B. Marshall’s Book of Cookery (1888), Mrs. A.B. Marshall’s Larger Cookery Book of Extra Recipes (1891) and Fancy Ices (1894) and gave public lectures on cooking. She even suggested using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream.
Ice cream soda was invented in the 1870s, adding to ice cream’s popularity. The invention of this cold treat is attributed to American Robert Green in 1874, although there is no conclusive evidence to prove his claim. The ice cream sundae originated in the late 19th century. Several men claimed to have created the first sundae, but there is no conclusive evidence to support any of their stories. Some sources say that the sundae was invented to circumvent blue laws, which forbade serving sodas on Sunday. Towns claiming to be the birthplace of the sundae include Buffalo, Two Rivers, Ithaca, and Evanston. Both the ice cream cone and banana split became popular in the early 20th century.
The first mention of the cone being used as an edible receptacle for the ice cream is in Mrs. A.B. Marshall‘s Book of Cookery of 1888. Her recipe for “Cornet with Cream” said that “the cornets were made with almonds and baked in the oven, not pressed between irons”. The ice cream cone was popularized in the USA at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO.
The history of ice cream in the 20th century is one of great change and increases in availability and popularity. In the United States in the early 20th century, the ice cream soda was a popular treat at the soda shop, the soda fountain, and the ice cream parlor. During the American Prohibition, the soda fountain to some extent replaced the outlawed alcohol establishments such as bars and saloons.
Ice cream became popular throughout the world in the second half of the 20th century after cheap refrigeration became common. There was an explosion of ice cream stores and of flavours and types. Vendors often competed on the basis of variety. Howard Johnson’s restaurants advertised “a world of 28 flavors”. Baskin-Robbins made its 31 flavours (“one for every day of the month”) the cornerstone of its marketing strategy. The company now boasts that it has developed over 1000 varieties.
One important development in the 20th century was the introduction of soft ice cream, which has more air mixed in thereby reducing costs. It made possible the soft ice cream machine in which a cone is filled beneath a spigot on order. In the United States, Dairy Queen, Carvel, and Tastee-Freez pioneered in establishing chains of soft-serve ice cream outlets while Baskin-Robbinsbecame worldwide chain later.
Technological innovations such as these have introduced various food additives into ice cream, the notable one being the stabilizing agent gluten,to which some people have an intolerance. Recent awareness of this issue has prompted a number of manufacturers to start producing gluten-free ice cream.