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Sunday, July 22, 2012

National Ice Cream Month; American Style

Since I inadvertently missed National Ice Cream Day last Sunday, I thought it best to at least celebrate National ice Cream Month before it too slips away. Funny thing about National Ice Cream Month, it's always in July. However, National Ice Cream Day has a way of shaking things up a bit because it is celebrated, for no apparent reason except a proclamation, on the third Sunday in July. Yep, I missed it while I was wandering through that garden post last week:)

Ice Cream in America

"The first appearance of ice cream in America is not known, but the first record of any sort indicating its presence in the colonies is a letter, written in 1700 by a guest of Governor William Bladen of Maryland, which states, "...we had dessert no less Curious; among the Rarities of which it was Compos'd was some fine Ice Cream which, with the Strawberries and Milk eat most deliciously."The Great American Ice Cream Book by Paul Dickson ©1973

Who doesn't like ice cream? For many of our immigrant ancestors, ice cream was the first taste experience they had on arriving to America. It seems, the commissioner of Ellis Island at the time insisted that ice cream be part of every immigrant's first meal. In fact, back in 2011, the folks at Turkey Hill (one of this gal's favorite ice cream makers) created an ice cream flavor in honor of Lady Liberty. Lady Liberty Mint (Mint ice cream with chocolate cake crunchies and crunchy chocolate cookie swirl) was created in honor of the Statue of Liberty’s 125th birthday.


New York Times, April 13, 1902

Ice cream was a personal favorite of both President George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who first tasted ice cream in Paris. I'm guessing when he came home from Paris with a French version of a hand churned ice cream Mrs. Jefferson came up with this recipe for her Vanilla Ice Cream. And, can you believe it has been 200 years since Dolly Madison served ice cream at the White House? Here's the scoop, it was in 1812 and the flavor was Strawberry!!!

"While ice cream had graced the tables of president's before, it was Dolly Madison who glamorizing it my first serving it at the White House at state dinners. An impressionable guest describes it with convincing effect; "Last night I was bid by our President to the White House, and it was a most unusual affair. Mrs. Madison always entertains with Grace and Charm; but last night there was a sparkle in her eye that set astir an Air of Expectancy among her Guests. When finally the brilliant Assemblage-America's best-entered the dining room, they beheld a Table set with French china and English silver, laden with good things to eat, and in the Centre high on a silver platter, a large shining dome of pink Ice Cream." The Great American Ice Cream Book p.25

Prior to 1843, ice cream making was a long and cumbersome process. In 1843, a woman by the name of Nancy Johnson invented the basic hand-churn machine that is sometimes still used today. The hand-cranked churn, which used ice and salt for cooling, replaced the pot-freezer method. She was issued patent #3254 on September 9, 1843 for an Artificial Freezer. A similar device was patented in 1848 by a Mr William Young, who called his invention the "Johnson Patent Ice Cream Freezer." It seems, she sold her rights to William Young for just $200.

To all whom it may concern:
Be: it known that I, NANCY M. JOHNSON, of the city of Philadelphia; and State of Pennsylvania have invented a new and useful Improvement in the Art: of Producing Artificial Ices, and that the following is a full and exact description of the machinery for carrying into effect the said improvement.

Mr. Dickson also notes that an African American by the name of Augustus Jackson, who learned to make ice cream while at the White House, later became one of the ice cream pioneers of Philadelphia when in 1832, he started one of the first retail ice cream shops in the city.

Fresh Peach Custard Ice Cream
Step 1 Place 3 cups freshly sliced peaches in a bowl (non metallic) and gently toss with 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Set aside.
Step 2 Scald 2 cups of milk in the top of a double boiler. (Be careful not to boil milk) In a medium bowl beat 3 egg yolks with 1 cup sugar and 1/4 tsp salt. Let scalded milk cool a few minutes, then pour it into the egg mixture and stir. Pour this combined mixture back into the double boiler and cook over medium heat until mixture will coat a spoon. Let mixture cool. Stir in 2 cups light cream and 4 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour mixture into freezing can of your ice cream freezer and follow manufacturer's directions.
Step 3 Churn mixture until approximately half frozen, Then stir peaches into ice cream mixture. Continue with churning (freezing). Old Fashioned Ice Cream Recipes Bear Wallow Books ©1989

In 1888 Frozen Dainties was published by the makers of the White Mountain Freezer Company.

Endorsed by Mary Johnson Bailey (Mrs. D. A.) Lincoln; Mrs. Lincoln of Boston Cooking School fame, Frozen Dainties offered readers "Fifty Choice Receipts for Ice Creams, Frozen Puddings, Frozen Fruit, Frozen Beverages, Sherbets and Water Ices.

"...There are many ways of making the foundation for ice cream, and while I admit that the best "frozen dainties" need the addition of pure cream, I am not a believer in the doctrine advocated by many thast no good ice cream can be made without cream. The following recipes include all the best known and approved methods and from these one may select according to taste or means. Then, by varying the flavoring, ot the manner of serving, and with the help of a good ice cream freezer, a great variety of wholesome and attractive dishes may be made with very little expenditure of time and strength..."

1902 edition

The White Mountain Freezer looked like a bucket with handle and gears on top. The tub was made from Northern Pine which was treated to make it water proof. It was banded with galvanized iron hoops and the cans were made from a a heavy grade of charcoal tin plate while the outside was galvanized to prevent rust. Although there isn't a picture of the White Mountain Freezer in her first publication of the book, there is a rather detailed picture in the 1902 edition. Both these editions are from my personal collection. (click to enlarge)

As fascinating as this all is, and yes, I do find it all incredibly interesting, the most astonishing tidbit in this booklet comes from Mrs. Lincoln's recipe for "seedless" Strawberry Ice Cream. (although she simply calls it Strawberry ice Cream) Read through this recipe, I think you too will be impressed. Have you seen any seedless strawberry ice cream recipes lately?

Before we get to the "finale", I'd like to share a few other ice cream related items I have hanging around the house.

This Kopper Kettle, Sealtest Menu is undated but from the looks of the prices, I'm going to safely say it's vintage:)


This is an undated die-cut recipe book published by Hendler's Ice Cream Company founded by L. Manuel Hendler in 1905. That link will take you an article about Mr. Hendler and Kosher Ice Cream by Lisa Kelvin Tuttle. The Hendler Creamery in Baltimore Maryland was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
Don't you just love these Ice Cream Cone Salt & Pepper Shakers circa 1973

And the Grand Finale Ice Cream Watermelon Bombe!

Thanks everyone for visiting! I would like to take a moment to wish Mae, the hostess of Mae's Food Blog and "toter" of the Artichokes Steamed and Dressed with Mayonnaise to the annual Picnic Game, a very Happy Birthday!!! Thanks Mae for being such a devoted follower and "friend." May you have many, many more!!! Louise:)