History of Ice Cream

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Photo by Amber Wright

By Kaitlyn Ketchell, Reporter

Regardless of if you like chocolate or vanilla, ice cream is a fantastic confection to be enjoyed all year round (no, Mom, it’s not just a summer food).

Although there are accounts of people eating iced confections as early as 54 B.C., historians believe that the first true form of ice cream was created around 618 A.D. when Tang Dynasty emperors began eating a frozen drink made with cow milk.

Medieval Arabs also indulged in a chilled drink known as sharabt (or, sherbet), which gained popularity in Europe, particularly in Italy and France.

The first modern form of ice cream is said to have been invented in the mid-17th century, known as sorbetto/sorbet. Antonio Latini is said to have been the first person to write down the recipe for sorbetto. Gelato, the Italian form of Spain’s sorbetto, was introduced to France in the late 17th century.

At almost the same time, France was experimenting with its own form of ice cream. It was called fromage (no one is sure why, but historians are sure that it was not referring to cheese), and it was said to be a dessert made from ice flavored with fruit.

Ice cream then took a trip to America with the arrival of European settlers, and the first ice cream parlor opened in New York in 1790. It’s said that ice cream was a favorite food of many American icons such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Ice cream has clearly come a long way from its early origins in China and the Middle East, but it has always remained a sweet treat to be enjoyed by almost everyone.