Ice cream origins date back to the second century B.C.
Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar.
During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.
Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Historians believe this recipe may have evolved into ice cream during the 16th century.
Charles I had ice cream at his table regularly during the 17th century.
Catherine de Medici introduced frozen desserts to France in 1553 when she married Henry II.
In 1660 ice cream was made available to the general public.
The Sicilian Procopio introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at Caf Procope, the first caf in Paris.
The first official account of ice cream in the New World comes from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen.
The first advertisement for ice cream in this country appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777.
President George Washington spent approximately $200 for ice cream during the summer of 1790.
In 1812, Dolley Madison served a strawberry ice cream creation at President Madison’s second inaugural banquet at the White House.
After the invention of the insulated ice house around 1800, the manufacture of ice cream soon became an American industry pioneered in 1851 by Baltimore milk dealer Jacob Fussell.
Production of ice cream increased over the years due to technical innovations such as steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power and motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment.
Today’s total frozen dairy annual production in the United States is more than 1.6 billion gallons.
In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the “soda Jerk” came about with the invention of the ice cream soda.
In the late 1890’s, due to religious criticism for eating “sinfully” rich ice cream sodas on Sundays, dealers left out the carbonated water and invented the ice cream “Sunday.” The spelling was eventually changed to sundae to remove any connection with the Sabbath.
During World War II, ice cream became an edible morale symbol while each branch of the military tried to outdo the others in serving ice cream to its troops.
In 1945, the first “floating ice cream parlor” was built for sailors in the western Pacific.
When the war ended and the dairy product ration was lifted, America celebrated victory with ice cream.
In 1946, more than 20 quarts of ice cream was consumed per person.