Where Did Ice Cream Originate?
Many nations claim to have invented it, just as various individuals take credit for it. The big scoop on ice cream began with the Roman emperor Nero, in the first century A.D. His chefs mixed fresh mountain snow with honey and fruit.
The result was a syrupy frozen dessert much like today’s fruit ices. With the fall of the Roman Empire, this delicacy seems to have vanished. In the 13th century, Marco Polo brought back to Europe from the Orient the first known “ice cream” recipe actually containing cream though it was at first consumed only by royalty, the development of refrigeration methods made ice cream a truly universal treat.
Until September 9, 1843, ice cream was made by the “pot freezer method,” but on this day, Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia got her “artificial freezer” patented, containing a tub, cylinder, lid, dasher, and crank. This design is still widely used today.
In 1851, Baltimore dairyman Jacob Fussell opened the first commercial ice cream factory. He had a surplus of cream—so he built an ice cream factory in Seven Valleys, Pennsylvania, and shipped it to Baltimore by train. Business boomed, and Fussell became the father of the wholesale ice cream industry.
Grocery stores didn’t start selling ice cream until the 1930’s, and by WWII, ice cream had become so popular that it turned into somewhat of an American symbol (Mussolini banned it in Italy for that same reason). Ice cream was great for troop morale, and in 1943, the U.S. Armed Forces were the world’s largest ice cream manufacturers!