Ice Cream

The consumption of ice cream in America dates back to the mid-1700s. The first official account of ice cream in the New World comes from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen. The first advertisement for ice cream in this country appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777, when confectioner Philip Lenzi announced that ice cream was available “almost every day.” Records kept by a Chatham Street, New York, merchant shows that President George Washington spent approximately $200 on ice cream during the summer of 1790. Inventory records of Mount Vernon taken after Washington’s death revealed “two pewter ice cream pots.” President Thomas Jefferson was said to have a favorite 18-step recipe for an ice cream delicacy that resembled a modern-day Baked Alaska.

Until 1800, ice cream remained a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite. Around 1800, insulated ice houses were invented. Manufacturing ice cream soon became an industry in America, pioneered in 1851 by a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell. Like other American industries, ice cream production increased because of technological innovations, including steam power, mechanical refrigeration, homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment. In addition, motorized delivery vehicles dramatically changed the industry.

The wide availability of ice cream in the late 19th century led to new creations. In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the “soda jerk” emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda. In response to religious criticism for eating “sinfully” rich ice cream sodas on Sundays, ice cream merchants left out the carbonated water and invented the ice cream “Sunday” in the late 1890’s. The name was eventually changed to “sundae” to remove any connection with the Sabbath.

During World War 2 years of the 1940s, the American troops were the only ones to have regular ice cream served. When the war ended, and dairy product rationing was lifted, America celebrated its victory with ice cream. Americans consumed over 20 quarts of ice cream per person in 1946.

From the 1950s to the present day, ice cream is an American favorite and one for sure enjoyed by your ancestors. Besides ice cream available in supermarkets, specialty ice cream stores and unique restaurants that feature ice cream dishes have surged in popularity. The most popular favor is vanilla and the second is chocolate.

Due to ongoing technological advances, today’s total frozen dairy annual production in the United States is more than 6.4 billion pounds. A fifth-generation family ice cream company started in Philadelphia, PA in 1861, known as ‘Bassetts Ice Cream’ is still going strong.

So enjoy some ice cream this summer just like your ancestors did for years.

Photo: Chocolate Ice Cream

Related Blogs:

Family Desserts

Jello – Family Favorite

The Beginnings of Birthday Cakes

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