A Brief History of Ice Cream

Ice cream sundae
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Augustus Jackson was a candy confectioner from Philadelphia who created several ice cream recipes and invented an improved method of manufacturing ice cream. And while he didn't technically invent ice cream, Jackson is considered by many to be the modern day "Father of Ice Cream."

The actual origins of ice cream can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. But it wasn't until 1832 that the accomplished businessman helped to perfect the making of ice cream at that time. Jackson, who worked as a White House chef, was living Philadelphia and was running his own catering business when he began experimenting with ice cream flavor recipes.

During this time, Jackson created several popular ice cream flavors which he distributed and packaged in tin cans to the ice cream parlors of Philadelphia. At that time, many African Americans owned ice cream parlors or were ice cream makers in the Philadelphia area. Jackson was extremely successful and his ice cream flavors were well loved. However, Jackson did not apply for any patents.

The Earliest Ice Creams

Ice cream dates back thousands of years and continued to evolve through the 16th century. During the 5th century BC, ancient Greeks ate snow mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens. In 400 BC, the Persians invented a special chilled food, made of rose water and vermicelli, which was served to royalty. In the far east, one of the earliest forms of ice cream was a frozen mixture of milk and rice that was used in China around 200 BC. 

The Roman Emperor Nero (37–68 AD) had ice brought from the mountains and combined it with fruit toppings to create chilled desserts. In the 16th century, the Mughal emperors used relays of horsemen to bring ice from the Hindu Kush to Delhi, where it was used in fruit sorbets. The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavors.

The History of Ice Cream in Europe

When Italian duchess Catherine de' Medici married the Duke of Orléans in 1533, she is said to have brought with her to France some Italian chefs who had recipes for flavored ices or sorbets. One hundred years later, Charles I of England became so impressed by the "frozen snow" that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula a secret so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative. There is no historical evidence to support these legends, which first appeared during the 19th century.

The first recipe in French for flavored ices appears in 1674. Recipes for sorbetti were published in the 1694 edition of Antonio Latini's Lo Scalco alla Moderna (The Modern Steward). Recipes for flavored ices begin to appear in François Massialot's Nouvelle Instruction pour les Confitures, les Liqueurs, et les Fruits, starting with the 1692 edition. Massialot's recipes resulted in a coarse, pebbly texture. Latini claims that the results of his recipes should have the fine consistency of sugar and snow.

Ice cream recipes first appeared in England in the 18th century. The recipe for ice cream was published in Mrs. Mary Eales's Receipts in London in 1718.

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Bellis, Mary. "A Brief History of Ice Cream." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/augustus-jackson-ice-cream-1991920. Bellis, Mary. (2020, August 26). A Brief History of Ice Cream. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/augustus-jackson-ice-cream-1991920 Bellis, Mary. "A Brief History of Ice Cream." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/augustus-jackson-ice-cream-1991920 (accessed February 1, 2023).