Spring is finally back, and with it a multitude of
I can’t go longer than a week without eating ice cream. Sundaes, cones, milkshakes, sorbet, and any other frozen, sweetened cream just satisfies my sweet tooth more than any cake or cookie. Now, ice cream is more than just frozen cream. Here are seven facts about that irresistible dessert.
It’s all in the science
Plain frozen cream is too hard to eat, but adding sugar makes it softer and lowers the freezing point. The lower freezing point keeps the ice cream from getting slushy with ice crystals. Lowering the freezing point more turns the ice cream into a creamy, frozen dessert. Adding salt does just that.
That’s so much ice cream
On average, Americans eat over 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream per year. If my math adds up correctly, that’s 20 quarts per person per year. So, we each eat five gallons of liquid cream per year just from ice cream. No wonder we have such intolerance to lactose!
The ultimate immigrant
The origins of ice cream are unclear, but most point to China as the birthplace of frozen cream desserts, with Marco Polo bringing it west. A frozen water dessert that was sometimes mixed with fresh cream was written about in Naples around the same time (Naples also invented traditional style pizza). The evolution of ice cream brought it to America, where it became a staple of the American diet. In fact, ice cream was served to immigrants as they landed on Ellis Island.
At the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair, Charles E. Minches started serving pastry cones filled with ice cream. Minches is often credited with inventing the ice cream cone, but that award is not his to hold. Italian immigrant Italo Marchiony filed for a patent for the ice cream cone in 1896 and started serving lemon flavored ice in them around NYC.
The food of not-quite-kings
During the summer of 1790, George Washington racked up quite the dessert bill. Over $200 worth of ice cream was eaten by Washington during that one hot summer. The food apparently became a favorite of his during the American Revolution, where the dessert cooled the American troops in the southern heat.
A universe-wide craving
Astronauts float around in space doing important stuff like exploring unknown planets, searching for life, and doing somersaults in mid-air. They get to eat all of that crazy cool astronaut freeze-dried food from museum gift shops. But according to NASA, food ranks amongst the top-missed luxuries of home. The tops are ice cream, pizza, and fizzy drinks. I miss ice cream when I’m only a few days since my last dish. I can’t imagine being millions of miles from soft-serve.
Bagels or Ice cream?
I love both ice cream and bagels. Apparently Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield did as well, but they had to choose what to sell. They chose bagels. Ben & Jerry’s Bagels! Well, not really. They realized that bagel-making equipment was too expensive so they fell back on ice cream. I think that was a pretty good decision.