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A Skelding Summary

Ice cream as we know and love it was first manufactured in Baltimore, Maryland in 1851 - and almost immediately became a popular attraction in the cafes & parlours which were established as a result. In the early days it was served in bowls or on plates - as no one had yet figured out how to make ice cream cones. This oversight was rectified in 1896 and by 1904 this American invention was introduced to a grateful world at the St Louis' World's Fair. At long last one could carry confectionery any time, any place and any where. Original ice cream (a combination of milk, cream and syrup) was, thanks to the development of the continuous process freezer in 1926, frozen. It started to feel too hard and cold to enjoy thoroughly as the massive increase  of sugar in the diet started to rot the 'sweet' tooth. This problem was solved in 1939 with the advent of soft ice cream served through a nozzle in the absence of cream at all.  Many soft ices to this day use whipped pig fat. Once this equipment was mounted on lorries - the ice cream van & man was well and truly born. Beaches and school playgrounds would never be the same again.

This isn't the whole story of course. Iced desserts are age old. In the 1290s Marco Polo back from his visit to China announced to a stunned Italian population a monumental discovery... The Great Wall of China?... Confucian Philosophy?

No ... Frozen strawberries.

Unsurprisingly they went down a treat and in the 1670s "glacees" were imported to France when Catherine de Medici married into the French Royal Family. Parisians realised they had sweet teeth and by 1676 there existed nearly 300 ice makers in that city alone. There is a relating story, that in the 1640s, King Charles I of England vainly tried to prise the secret of ice cream from an Italian cook in his service. The cook refused - and miraculously, unlike the King, escaped execution for his pains. From this moment on - ice cream slowly but surely began to take on the world.

The story goes back even further in that the Romans flavoured snow and ice for their consumption. Indeed the Emperor Nero used slaves to import snow from the Alps for this very end. The only trouble was that if the snow melted, Nero would be rather offended and throw the unfortunate slaves to the lions. As every schoolchild will tell you - Nero is believed to have fiddling whilst Rome burned. It would be nice to think He was probably tucking into some ice cream before it melted as well.

Five Things 'you didn't know' about Ice Cream.
* The first American ice cream parlour opened in 1776.
* George Washington regularly spent $200 a year on ice cream.
* The first hand cranked ice cream freezer was invented in 1846.
* Chocolate covered ice cream bars were invented in the USA
* Haagen-Dazs ice cream dates from 1961.

Is the world's most popular ice cream flavour
chocolate, strawberry or vanilla ?

Recommended ice creams on the Strand are served at Da Marco's.

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This FAQ (frequently asked questions) is also a running Q&A (questions & Answers) so you can ask and we will answer or find out for you.

Index of things

Histories of Things
By Laurence Skelding

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