Country Kitchen: Enjoy Icecream in the Summertime

Country Kitchen: Enjoy Icecream in the Summertime

By Mary Emma Allen

No one seems to know just when ice cream, a favorite American dessert, first was made. However, itÂ’s said that Marco Polo found the Chinese, in the 13th century, making ices from water and milk. In 14th century Italy, especially in Venice, water ices were very popular. From there this dessert spread to Paris.

Ice cream was served around 1640 at a banquet of Charles I of England. The guests raved to such an extent about this cold, creamy dessert that Charles instructed the cook to keep the recipe secret. However, the cook apparently did not obey the king and ice cream soon became very popular.

Not long after this, Louis XIV of France served his guests a cold dessert in silver dishes.

Ice Cream Reaches America

The American colonists, around 1774, copied the European trend and served ice cream desserts. They also began including strawberries in their recipes. Advertisements for ice cream appeared in New York newspapers.

Prominent government leaders included ice cream on the menu when entertaining in their homes and at state dinners. George Washington had pewter pots his servants used exclusively for making ice cream.

Mrs. Alexander Hamilton apparently introduced this dessert to the Washingtons. Thomas Jefferson learned about different types of ice cream recipes when he lived in France. Baked Alaska became a luxurious dish on the menu at state dinners when he was President.

Dolly Madison, wife of James Madison, who became the fourth president, served strawberry ice cream on the menu in 1812 at the second Inaugural Ball.

First Commercial Ice Cream

In the earliest years of ice cream, this delicacy was made in hand cranked freezers. However, in 1851, commercially produced ice cream was introduced by Jacob Fussel. The first ice cream cones made their appearance at the St. Louis WorldÂ’s Fair in 1904...and the ice cream world was revolutionized.

Supposedly a Mr. E. Hamwi, who sold wafer-thin waffles, suggested his neighbor use rolled up ones for serving ice cream when he ran out of dishes. The customers liked these hard, cone-shaped waffles so well that a new tradition was born.

Ice Cream Toppings

The many flavors of ice cream can be served with a variety of toppings.

*Spoon Fresh Fruit over the ice cream. My husband likes mashed and sweetened strawberries. I enjoy fresh blueberries with my ice cream. Peaches also make a tasty combination.

*Hot Chocolate, Carmel, or Butterscotch toppings are very popular, especially when whipped cream is added. You might sprinkle over chopped nuts and add a cherry.

*Nutmeg grated or sprinkled over vanilla ice cream makes an interesting variation some people enjoy.

*Cereal toppings are tasty, too. Crush some of your favorite cereal, sweetened or not, and sprinkle over your favorite ice cream. Some like to stir the cereal into the ice cream.

*Crushed Cookies of your favorite type also add flavor to ice cream.

*Coconut, plain or toasted, can be sprinkled over a dish or ice cream or sundae.

*Ice Cream Balls - Scoop balls of ice cream and roll in coconut., crushed cookie or cereal crumbs and/or chopped nuts. Serve plain or with sauce.

These are just a few of the many ice cream ideas you can serve. Use your imagination and youÂ’ll create many more.

(C) 2002 Mary Emma Allen

About the Author

Mary Emma Allen has been writing her "Cooking Column" for newspapers and online publications for 30 years and has compiled a family cookbook. SheÂ’s currently compiling a cookbook/story book, "Tales From a Country Kitchen." Visit her web site for more cooking articles. Contact her at

The Country Kitchen Series

Window to the World

Mud Season Means Spring!

Memories at the Kitchen Table

The Pioneer Kitchen

Fascinating Jelly Jars

Cook to Cook Letter Writing

Backyard Picnics

Summertime Picnics

Cookie Cutters!

Eggplant Tips

Summer Meal Ideas

Strawberry Festivals!

Special Dinnerware

Collecting Recipe Cards


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