• Mikel Perez-Yi

Don't eat my ice cream

I don't know anyone who doesn't enjoy ice cream. If they exist, then I hope to never meet them. Ice cream has a history that stretches further than you might think. Ice itself has been an ingredient in meals as far back as 3000 BC and originated in China. according to legend, it was Marco Polo who brought the recipe and technique to make ice cream to Italy. Across many regions you can find varying recipes involving ice, often iced or frozen juices. They all share a need for sweet sugary flavors. The first ice creams that resemble what we enjoy today, emerged in the 17th century. Ice Cream was enjoyed mostly by the elite due to the expensive need for ice to make it. Ice as a product was shipped from mountain tops and transported as huge pieces in order to prevent melting before arrival.

Ice Cream holds a special place in the world of deserts and is certainly one of the oldest ones. However, the beginnings of Ice Cream in America can be found under the name Augustus Jackson. formerly a chef in the White House, Augustus Jackson ran a successful catering business in Philadelphia. He pioneered new techniques to create Ice Cream and developed newer flavors. He packaged Ice Cream and then sold them to Parlors around the city. Jackson was well known and became one of the wealthiest men in Philadelphia. Even more impressive was the fact that he accomplished this in 1820 and was African American. Jackson was so well known that he was actually credited by many as the inventor of modern Ice Cream. The "Father of Ice Cream" as he was called, created the methods used today to create Ice Cream in the great quantities and flavors we now enjoy. Most notably, his addition of salt. by adding salt to his mixtures and too the ice itself, he lowered the freezing temperature. The result being, one could keep the mixture at a colder temperature without it freezing solid. colder temperatures allowed better control of the ingredients and better textures of the Ice Cream.

There is no evidence that Jackson patented any of his recipes or techniques and he virtually disappears from public record, even his death has no information. Being that he was African American and it was the 1820s, 40 years prior to the civil war, it is not surprising. However it is certainly known he died a wealthy man. Something he most assuredly deserved as the Father of Ice Cream in America


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