frozen concoction that, by law, contains at least
10% milk fat and 20% milk solids by volume
Ice cream is made by slowly mixing a mixture
of milk, sugar and flavorings using a solution of
briny ice water; brine is used instead of pure
water because it has a lower freezing point, and
slow mixing is important to allow ice crystals to
form without the mixture itself becoming frozen
solid. Mixing also allows air pockets to form,
which keep the ice cream scoopable. Too much air,
however, can make the ice cream mushy; premium
ice cream contains less than 25% air by volume,
while cheap ice cream may be 50% air.
The exact origins of ice cream as we know it
today are unknown, despite the claims of many
sources that say it came from ancient China.
While frozen desserts were definitely known in
ancient times, most of them were either flavored
ice concoctions or mixtures of frozen fruit and
other ingredients. We do know, however, that
European royalty was enjoying true ice cream by
the 1600's. Where the production method was
developed and who developed it also remain
matters for debate. Ice cream remained a treat
for royalty and elite until a series of
improvements made it easier to produce, thus
making it cheap enough for ordinary people to
buy. It did not become a regular treat, however,
until it became possible for people to make their
own ice cream.
History of Ice Cream
The first ice cream parlor in the United
States opened in New York City in 1776. This also
marked the first time the term "ice
cream" was ever used; prior to this it was
called "iced cream" or "creamed
The hand-cranked ice cream freezer was
invented by New England housewife Nancy Johnson
in 1843, but she was unable to secure funding to
capitalize on her invention. She finally
succeeded in getting a patent in 1846, and then
promptly sold the patent to a Philadelphia
kitchen wholesaler for $200.
The first commercial ice cream factory was
established on June 15, 1851, by Baltimore
dairyman Jacob Fussell who was hoping to make a
profit from an excess inventory of cream.
There are many stories regarding the invention
of the ice cream cone, but the only authenticated
one involves Italo Marchiony, owner of several
ice cream carts in New York City. Tired of
customers stealing his serving glasses, Marchiony
began serving his ice cream in baked waffle cups
with sloping sides and a flat bottom, in 1896. On
December 15, 1903, he received a patent for a
waffle mold, which is why he is considered the
"father of the ice cream cone." The
popularity of ice cream cones was established by
a number of different vendors at the St. Louis
World's Fair in 1904.
Alfred Cralle patented an ice cream mold and
an ice cream scooper on February 2, 1897.
In 1920, Onawa, Iowa, ice cream shop owner
Chris Nelson saw one of his customers having
difficulty choosing between an ice cream sandwich
and a chocolate bar and, as a result, came up
with the ice cream treat we now know as an Eskimo Pie. The first
Eskimo Pie on a wooden stick was created in 1934.
Harry Burt patented the Good Humor Ice Cream
Bar, which was sold by men in starched white
uniforms from a white truck, in 1923.
The first commercially successful continuous
process freezer for ice cream was developed by
Clarence Vogt, sometime around 1926.
The brand Haagen-Dazs was created by Reuben
Mattus in 1960. Mattus chose the name because it
Cookies n' Cream, made with real Oreo cookies,
was introduced in 1983, and became a top-five
favorite flavor almost immediately; it still
holds the record for being the fastest growing
new flavor ever introduced.
In 1984, President
Ronald Reagan declared July as National Ice
The origins of two special variations on ice
cream remain matters for contention -- the ice
cream soda and the ice cream sundae. There are
literally dozens of contenders for the inventors
of both, as well as reasons for their invention.
Ice Cream Statistics and Records
At least one study found that it takes about
50 licks to finish one average-sized single-scoop
ice cream cone.
Americans eat more ice cream than anyone else
in the world, an average of 22 quarts per person
a year; Australia comes in second.
Understandably, the United States is the
single largest producer of ice cream in the
world, over 1.5 billion gallons per year. It is
followed by New Zealand, Denmark, Australia,
Belgium/Luxembourg, Sweden, Canada, Norway,
Ireland, and Switzerland. The top five ice cream
producing states are California, Indiana, Ohio,
Illinois, and Michigan.
More ice cream is sold on Sunday in America
than any other day; July and August are the
months with the most sales.
The most popular flavor is vanilla, accounting
for 29% of total sales. Popularity of other
flavors in percent of total sales: chocolate
8.9%, butter pecan 5.3%, strawberry 5.3%,
neapolitan 4.2%, chocolate chip 3.9%, French
vanilla 3.8%, cookies and cream 3.6%, vanilla
fudge ripple 2.6%, praline pecan 1.7%, cherry
1.6%, chocolate almond 1.6%, rocky road 1.5%,
chocolate marshmallow 1.3%, everything else
The most popular topping is chocolate syrup.
The world's largest ice cream sundae was
"constructed" in Alberta, Canada, in
1988; it weighed in at 55,000 pounds.
In 1988, a baking company and a sheet metal
firm in Dubuque, Iowa, teamed up to produce the
world's large ice cream sandwich, which weighed
almost 2,500 pounds.
The world's largest ice cream cake was
produced by Baskin-Robbins at a beach hotel in
Arab Emirates, in 1999; it weighed just short
of 9,000 pounds.
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