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Of Sugar and Snow

Of Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making

Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Of Sugar and Snow
    Book Description:

    Was ice cream invented in Philadelphia? How about by the Emperor Nero, when he poured honey over snow? Did Marco Polo first taste it in China and bring recipes back? In this first book to tell ice cream's full story, Jeri Quinzio traces the beloved confection from its earliest appearances in sixteenth-century Europe to the small towns of America and debunks some colorful myths along the way. She explains how ice cream is made, describes its social role, and connects historical events to its business and consumption. A diverting yet serious work of history,Of Sugar and Snowprovides a fascinating array of recipes, from a seventeenth-century Italian lemon sorbet to a twentieth-century American strawberry mallobet, and traces how this once elite status symbol became today's universally available and wildly popular treat.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94296-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. ONE Early Ices and Iced Creams
    (pp. 1-25)

    A royal dinner in seventeenth-century Naples was a dazzling spectacle. The splendor of the décor complemented the magnificence of the foods, to the delight of the guests. Confectioners seized the opportunity to demonstrate their considerable talents and turned tabletops into showcases of their art. They carved hams from ice and displayed them in baskets made of sugar paste; they shaped lions and bulls from butter and posed them in battle stance. They created fruit-and-flower-filled ice pyramids that glistened in the candlelight. They molded gods from marzipan to watch over the mortals at the table.

    The foods that the diners actually...

  6. TWO Crème de la Cream
    (pp. 26-49)

    During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, France set the style in upper-class European dining and in the making of ices and ice creams. In fact, the first book completely dedicated to ice cream was written by a Frenchman, Monsieur (first name unknown) Emy, and published in Paris in 1768. French cookbooks were being translated and distributed in England, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy. Traveling chefs were disseminating the French culinary repertoire. Employing a French cook was the height of fashion, and well-to-do families in England, Russia, and Italy vied for them. In Sicily, they were calledmonzu,a word derived...

  7. THREE Ingenious Foreigners and Others
    (pp. 50-74)

    Italians were celebrated for their ices, and, in turn, they celebrated ices. Italian poets and novelists wrote paeans to ices. Italian confectioners and even nuns delighted in fooling diners by sending ices to the table disguised as slices of turkey, bunches of asparagus, and lush, ripe peaches. Yet Italians did not give us the valuable printed guides to their art that French confectioners such as Emy and Gilliers did. Just two eighteenth-century Italian books dealt with ices, and they were written by a physician and a Benedictine monk rather than a cook or a confectioner.

    The Neapolitan physician and author...

  8. FOUR The Land of Ice Cream
    (pp. 75-102)

    England lagged behind the continent in ice cream making, and America lagged behind England. In America, until well after the Revolutionary War, ice cream was a rarity. Pastry chefs and confectioners were few and far between. Ice for freezing was not always available and was difficult to store, even for those who had ice houses. Sugar was expensive. Making ice cream was also, as we know, a physically taxing, time-consuming job. Even wealthy households with servants seldom served ice cream. It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that ice cream was available to the average American, and...

  9. FIVE Screaming for Ice Cream
    (pp. 103-128)

    When ice cream peddlers began appearing on city streets in the early nineteenth century, children were no doubt delighted. Adults had a more ambiguous reaction; initially welcoming, their response quickly turned sour. Before long, they questioned the quality of the ice cream, the cleanliness of the vendor, and the health problems associated with ice cream made in less-than-pristine environments. When vendors cried their products in the streets, the noise offended some ears. Fashionable confectioners and ice cream shopkeepers disdained the peddlers. Social reformers didn’t approve of them, because they believed the poor should not waste what little money they had...

  10. SIX Women’s Work
    (pp. 129-154)

    In 1850,Godey’s Lady’s Bookcalled ice cream “one of the necessary luxuries of life” and proclaimed that “a party, or a social entertainment, could hardly be thought of without this indispensable requisition.” The writer was trying to persuade readers to buy “a recent valuable invention, in the shape of an ‘ice cream freezer and beater.’ ” According to the article, Masser’s Self-Acting Patent Ice-Cream Freezer and Beater would make ice cream more easily and much faster than the old method, which it called difficult, laborious, and uncertain. It said, “And if there is any one article, above all others,...

  11. SEVEN Modern Times
    (pp. 155-179)

    At the turn of the twentieth century, ice cream was one of the country’s best-loved desserts, and the cone was about to become its constant partner. The ice cream cone had originated in the nineteenth century, but it didn’t become a popular street food until after the 1904 World’s Fair in Saint Louis. Many of the visitors to the fair ate an ice cream cone there for the first time and took a taste for the treat home with them afterward. They made the ice cream cone an American institution.

    The fair, or as it was actually named, the Louisiana...

  12. EIGHT Ice Cream for Breakfast
    (pp. 180-207)

    When Howard Deering Johnson was a child in Quincy, Massachusetts, he loved the strawberry ice cream his mother made on Sunday afternoons in the summer. She used fresh cream from the family’s cows and luscious ripe strawberries, and he never forgot the flavor. The years passed, and Johnson grew up. He served in France during World War I, came back, and worked as a salesman for his father’s cigar business. In 1925, he bought a drugstore with a small soda fountain in Quincy’s Wollaston neighborhood. Johnson started out by buying his ice cream from a local manufacturer. But he remembered...

  13. EPILOGUE. Industry and Artistry
    (pp. 208-214)

    Today, the ice cream business is a vast global enterprise. In fact, it’s so big that it’s not called the ice cream business anymore. It’s the frozen dessert business. It includes ice creams, low-fat and nonfat desserts (formerly known as ice milks), water ices, sherbets, sorbets, frozen juice bars, frozen yogurts, gelati, and more. Multinational corporations such as Unilever, Nestlé, and General Mills own most of the major brands, including Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Dreyer’s, Good Humor, Klondike, Popsicle, and Häagen-Dazs. They market the ice creams in nearly every country in the world, changing flavors and packaging to respond to local...

  14. NOTES
    (pp. 215-238)
    (pp. 239-260)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 261-279)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 280-282)