How Sweet It Is

The Cool History of Ice Cream…

Ice cream is awesome. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. And homemade ice cream is even more awesome than the store-bought version.

But do you know how it came to be? How did people go from eating plain snow to eating deliciously sweet ice cream?

Eons ago, some smart people in ancient China figured out that snow could taste better if they added some fruit juice or honey to it. They made “fruit ices” and presented the frozen treats to their emperors. They also made a frozen, milk-like concoction with cow, goat or buffalo milk, flour and something called camphor that gave it a pleasant aroma.

The Arabs also liked to drink cold stuff. They made “sharbat,” which means “drink” in their language. They put cherry, pomegranate, quince or other fruits in it. This potion was so good that it traveled all the way to Europe, where they learned how to make it even better.

The Italians added cream or eggs to sherbet and called it “sorbetto.” This was the first step toward making ice cream. One of the first people to sell sorbetto was Francesco Procopio Cuto, who had a café in Paris in the 1680s.

French dessert chefs added more eggs and cream to sorbetto and called it “crème glacée.” This made it richer and smoother.

Ice cream crossed the Atlantic Ocean as Europeans moved to America. Some of early America’s most famous citizens loved ice cream: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Dolley Madison. In 1790, the first ice cream shop opened in New York City.

In the 19th century, ice cream became easier to make and cheaper to buy, thanks to new machines and inventions. Ice cream also became more fun and creative, with new flavors, toppings and shapes.

In the 20th century, ice cream became even more awesome and popular. New kinds of ice cream like s
oft-serve, gelato, frozen yogurt and mochi were introduced. Ice cream also became a worldwide thing, with different countries and places making their own versions and specialties.

Today, ice cream is the best dessert ever that can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere, anytime. It comes in hundreds of flavors and combinations, from classic vanilla to wasabi. It can be served in cups, cones, bowls, sandwiches or cakes. It can be decorated with sprinkles, nuts, fruits or syrups. It can be simple or fancy, cheap or expensive, healthy or decadent.

But no matter how you like your ice cream, one thing is certain: it is always delicious. And awesome.
If you want to make your own ice cream at home, here is an easy recipe that only needs four things and no special machines. •

Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

Servings: 4 -6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 T vanilla extract

Step 1: In a big bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla until well mixed and smooth.

Step 2: Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container and cover with plastic wrap.

Step 3: Freeze for at least 6 hours, stirring every hour or so to break up the ice bits.

Step 4: Enjoy your homemade vanilla ice cream with your favorite toppings or by itself.

About Terry Olson

Terry loves culinary arts, adult beverages and hiking in the North State wilderness. You may find him soaking up the sun at one of our area’s many state or national parks or sitting on a barstool sipping on a cold locally brewed craft beer.

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