Ice cream is one of the most delectable treats around and has been for a very long time.  Ice cream has a very interesting history.  This frozen treat, which is now accompanied by everything from candy to colored plastic spoons, dates back all the way to the 4th century B.C.  However, there is no specific person or region associated with the invention of ice cream.

Biblical references state that King Solomon enjoyed iced drinks during the harvesting period.  Alexander the Great was known for enjoying snow and ice flavored with honey.  There are records that show that the Roman emperor Nero (A.D. 37-68) demanded his servants to retrieve snow from the mountains and combine it with fruit.  King Tang (A.D. 618-97) of China supposedly made various mixtures of ice and milk.  It’s believed that ice cream was brought from China to Europe.  It’s estimated that ice cream recipe made its debut around the 16th century.

Ice cream began to be served in the United States during the 17th century.  It’s recorded that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson served the dessert to their dinner guests.  It wasn’t until 1776, however, that the first American ice cream parlor opened.  It opened in New York City.  It’s believed that American colonists were the first to give it the name of “ice cream.”  Originally, it was called “iced cream,” but eventually lost the “d.”

Throughout history, ice cream is recorded and continues to evolve.  The technology and methods of ice cream have changed throughout the years.  The wooden bucket freezer with rotary paddles helped to improve the way that ice cream was manufactured.  In the year 1846, Nancy Johnson patented a hand-cranked freezer.  These freezers are still often used today.  Years later in 1851, the first large-scale commercial ice cream factory was established.  Many years later, a man named Alfred Cralle patented an ice cream scooper.  This happened on February 2, 1897 and helped to change the way ice cream was served.  Obviously, mechanical refrigeration helped to make an easier way to store and distribute ice cream.

During the 1940s, ice cream became a morale symbol for those fighting in World War II.  Ice cream was regularly served to the troops and there was even the first “floating ice cream parlor” built for sailors in the Pacific.  When the war ended, it’s estimated that the average American consumed over 20 quarts of ice cream per person during 1946.

Perhaps next time you and your family are digging into this creamy treat with your ice cream spoons, you’ll think about the amazing history of this delicious dessert.