For centuries, ice cream has been a chilled delight

14 Jul For centuries, ice cream has been a chilled delight

By SYDNE GEORGE

For the Tribune


You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream, and leg­end has it, people have been screaming for it for centuries.

As early as the 4th century B.C., the Roman emperor Nero is said to have sent runners into the mountains to chip and haul ice back so he could enjoy it topped with fruit and honey.

In the 13th century, Marco Polo is believed to have brought a recipe for a sherbet-like dessert back to Italy from the Far East. Sometime in the 16th century this recipe evolved into what we now call ice cream.

Around the same time in England, they called a similar treat “cream ice.” This popular dessert frequently was served by Charles I in the 17th century. Ice cream seems to have been favored by U.S. presidents as well.

George Washington, was said to have been served ice cream by Betsy Hamilton, wife of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton back in 1789. Records show Washing­ton buying a “cream machine for ice” and spending $200 on ice cream during the summer of 1790.

Our third president, Thomas Jefferson, reportedly learned to make ice cream during his time in France as secretary of state and brought a “sorbetiere” home with him to make ice cream at his home in Monticel­lo. His handwritten 18-step recipe for ice cream is held at the Library of Congress.

Dolly Madison, wife of fourth President James Madison, was such a fan of ice cream that she included it as a part of the menu at her husband’s second inau­gural ball in 1813, and it subse­quently became the White House’s signature dessert for a time.

Often dubbed “The Father of Ice Cream,” Augustus Jackson held the position of cook at the White House in the 1830s and developed the modern method of making ice cream using salt mixed with ice to lower the tem­perature and more efficiently freeze the ice cream mixture.

It was the invention of the hand-cranked ice cream freezer by Nancy M. Johnson in 1843 that allowed people to make ice cream at home, and her basic design is still in use today.

And we can thank Italo Mar­chiony for the invention of the ice cream cone in New York City in 1903. Soon after, World’s Fair Cornucopias were launched dur­ing the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest A. Hamwi. He sold crisp waffle-like pastries called zalabis next to an ice cream ven­dor who ran out of dishes. Hamwi creatively rolled one of his zalabis into a cone to be filled with ice cream, quickly solving the prob­lem and popularizing the ice cream cone.

Ice Cream Month

It was our 40th president, Ronald Reagan, who declared July National Ice Cream Month in 1984, noting that ice cream was a fun snack enjoyed by 90 percent of Americans at that time.

Americans consume more ice cream per person per year than any other country in the world, at about 15 quarts of ice cream a year. The third Sunday in July was named National Ice Cream Day by Reagan as well. This year National Ice Cream Day will be celebrated this Sunday.

Perhaps one of the best ways to cool off in the hot July tempera­tures is to head to a local ice cream shop for a scoop of your favorite flavor.

Boasting 31 flavors, one for every day of the month, Baskin Robbins, 2120 10th Ave. S., cele­brates National Ice Cream month with its mini baseball helmet sun­dae promotion. All summer long, you can enjoy a two-scoop sun­dae in your choice of 30 mini baseball helmets with a bottle of Aquafina water for $4.99.

Owner Matt Loomis said America’s Birthday Cake is the July flavor of the month, but they also feature Cotton Candy and Baseball Nut as summer specials. Loomis said when he was a kid it was a real treat to go to Baskin Robbins, and now as an owner of multiple Baskin Robbins stores in Montana, he tries to sell cus­tomers the experience with things such as the little pink sam­ple spoons and the clown cones.

The Baskin Robbins stores in the Northwest get their ice cream from a dairy in Portland, Ore., that uses organic ingredients whenever possible, Loomis said.

It’s all about creativity at Cold­stone Creamery, at Great Falls Marketplace, where customers can dream up their own creations or choose from one of several sig­nature selections created by Cold­stone Creamery Tastemaster Ray Karam.

Coldstone’s big summer pro­motion is the Gold Cone Contest, which highlights three new sum­mer flavors: key lime, harvest peach and blueberry. Contestants are asked to try the Gold Cone flavors and then make their com­ments on Facebook.

The three most creative entrants will win a trip to Cold­stone headquarters and partici­pate in a flavor development competition. The winning flavor will appear in Coldstone stores nationally in 2011.

What sets Coldstone apart from other ice creams is the fact that its ice cream is made fresh in the store every day, said Dan Gruntowicz, owner of Coldstone Creamery in Great Falls.

Flavors, formerly The Udder Factory, at 1101 Central Ave., fea­tures all locally made ice cream, made by the Udder Company. Special summer flavors include pineapple sherbet and a pralines and cream coming soon.

Udder Factory owner and ice cream maker Jeff Linabary said he’s currently in the process of obtaining FDA approval and hopes to sell his Udder Factory ice cream wholesale by next spring.

“We do our best to stick to nat­ural ingredients,” Linabary said, explaining that using ingredients like real vanilla makes a huge dif­ference in flavor. Linabary bought the Sperry’s Market building at 600 3rd Ave. S. and converted it into an ice cream production room. Future plans include opening a food market in the front of the building called The Udder Store and even­tually remodeling the ice cream production room for tours so peo­ple can come and look through glass windows to see how ice cream is made.

In honor of National Ice Cream Month, here are two ultra-easy ice cream recipes to try at home.

MILK CHOCOLATE MINT ICE CREAM


 2 cups fresh mint leaves, packed

 2 cups water

 ½ cup sugar

 2 cups heavy whipping cream

 8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

Make the mint syrup by boiling mint leaves, water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15 minutes. Strain to remove mint.

In a separate saucepan over medium high heat, heat cream to a simmer.

Remove from heat and add chocolate, whisking to combine.

Add ¼ cup mint syrup and whisk to combine.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to make ice cream, at least four hours.

Freeze and churn mix in ice cream maker according to ice cream maker instructions.

Garnish with fresh mint. Makes about one quart.

FRESH STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

 2 cups fresh strawberries

 ½ cup sugar

 1½ cups heavy whipping cream

Puree strawberries with sugar in blender until smooth.

Add whipping cream to straw­berry mixture and pour in ice cream maker canister, freezing and churning according to ice cream maker directions.

Makes about one quart.

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