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Tell All Thursday: The History of Ice Cream
Ice cream is probably much older than you would have guessed! Despite there being no credited origin date or inventor of ice cream, the frozen treat is said to go back as far as 200 B.C in China where people created a dish of rice mixed with milk that was frozen by being packed with snow. Since inception, it was the few elites in a society that got to enjoy ice cream (or they were the only ones recorded eating it). For example, Alexander the Great is said to have enjoyed snow flavoured with honey and nectar, while Emperor Nero Claudius Ceasar of Rome would send people up mountains to collect ice that he flavoured with fruits and juices. Marco Polo is said to have brought a recipe back to Italy from China that historians estimate was evolved into something similar to modern ice cream around the 16th century.
Ice cream came to America around 1744 and was still considered a rare treat served to presidential elites in the white house. In 1843, Nancy M. Johnson of Philadelphia was sick of the pot freezer method of making ice cream, so she designed and created the "artificial freezer" including a tub, cylinder, lid, dasher, and crank (which is still widely used today - Go, Nancy!). Finally in 1851, manufacturing ice cream became an American industry and ice cream became more available to the general public. This is thanks to a Balitmore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell and technological innovations such as steam power and mechanical refrigeration. Motorized delivery vehicles were also a huge ice cream game changer!
This higher production and availability of ice cream across America led to new ice cream creations. Ice cream sodas were invented in 1874 by existing soda fountains, but due to religious criticism of enjoying sinfully sweet ice cream sodas on Sunday, they were not allowed to be sold. In response, the ice cream "Sunday" (later changed to "sundae") was created by merchants substituting soda with other toppings on ice cream to sell on Sunday. During the 1940s-1970s, ice cream began to be packaged and sold in supermarkets as traditional ice cream parlors closed.
Today, ice cream is being made in different ways and enjoyed by many different people. At Four All, we are colliding history and tradition with innovation and creativity to make ice cream for the KW community. We use two ice cream machines that Nancy designed for us and we wholesale ice cream just like Jacob to be sold in local small businesses. We also have a tasting room that lets us be like a traditional ice cream parlor. Our flavours are classic but also unusual and ever changing to keep you on your toes and keep your taste buds curious. We are so honoured to be a part of this thousands-year-old tradition!