Posted in Daily, Food, Stories Around the World

Of Ice-cream, Soda and Evolution…

“Summer would not be summer without Ice-cream. Ice-cream is the favorite currency of love.” Puck

For my kids, summer translates into picnics, beaches, barbecues and of course, never to forget it, “the ice-cream“. Being in the National Ice cream Month (July) with the end of the week marking the National Ice cream Day (third Sunday of July), the truce between the “young ones” and their “veggies” was an ice cream a day for dessert. As a part of improvisation of the existing recipes and combinations, delving into the evolution and progress of ice cream makes for an interesting read.

Although the origins of this “summer dessert” have been rough traced back to the 4th century B.C.; the modern day versions with the wide variety of flavours as well as presentations were made feasible only by the 18th century. Early records of it’s popularity include the Roman emperor Nero (37-68 CE) who ordered ice to be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings and King Tang (618-97 CE) of Shang, China who had a method of creating ice and milk concoctions. While “Ice cream” may have been likely brought to Europe from China. As legends go, when Italian duchess Catherine de’ Medici married the Duke of Orléans (1533), the French court had few Italian chefs who had recipes for flavored ices or sorbets. A century later, Charles I of England was impressed by the “frozen snow” that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula a secret, so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative. While there is no historical evidence to support these legends, the recipes for ices, sherbets and milk ices had evolved gradually over time and were usually served in the fashionable royal courts or in the upper class society.

“Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.” Don Kardong

As recipes for flavoured ices began to be published for the household cooks and ice storing became more feasible, flavoured ices were enjoyed by the middle class society. Towards the early 19th century, Augustus Jackson had created several popular ice cream flavours, packed them into tin cans and distributed them to the ice cream parlours of Philadelphia. Credited with inventing an improved method for manufacturing of ice cream, he is technically considered as the modern day father of ice cream.

Going years ahead, the Franklin’s Institute semi-centennial celebration (1874) saw the creation of the ice cream float by Robert McCay Green, Pennsylvania. The traditional account was on that particularly hot day, Mr. Green ran out of ice for the flavored drinks he was selling and used vanilla ice cream from a neighboring vendor, thereby inventing a new drink. As published by his own account in the Soda Fountain magazine (1910), states that after some experimenting (after effect of competition with nearby vendors), he had decided to combine ice cream and soda water. During the celebration, he sold vanilla ice cream with soda water and a choice of 16 flavored syrups. Although there are at least three other claimants for the invention of ice cream float, namely Sanders, Mohr and Guy; wherein the latter is said to have absentmindedly mixed ice cream and soda (1872), to his customer’s delight. However may the legends go, the combination of ice cream and soda have stayed on.

“Sometimes life is just what it is, and the best you can hope for is ice cream.”  Abbi Waxman

From being in a boxed container to served with soda, sprinkles, toppings and more, ice cream has evolved from being a simple street or roadside treat to an artistic rendering for functions. Ice cream with its’ many variants like ice lolly, Malyasian Ais kacang, Turkish dondurma, gelato, kulfi and the like; are all here to stay and evolve, changing the “sweet trends” of dessert over time.