By Curt Oden - Exline correspondent
The weather at the end of this week is really great, after the hot summer that we have had so far. It makes for nice days, to spend at the Iowa State Fair for those of you that are planning to attend.
With the hot weather that we have had this year, it would be a good time to think about ice cream. It is a cooling treat on a warm, summer afternoon. With this week’s column I thought I would include some history about ice cream and how it became an all time favorite treat.
This recipe this week is for homemade ice cream as taken from a handwritten recipe that belonged to President Thomas Jefferson. It was made at his Virginia plantation near Charlottesville and modernized for the most part, for use today.
Thomas Jefferson's Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes about 4 pints (2 quarts, or a 1/2 gallon)
6 yolks of eggs
1/2 lb. sugar (1 1/4 c.)
2 bottles (quarts) of good cream (4 pints)
1 vanilla bean
Mix the yolks and sugar together. Put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of vanilla. When near boiling, take it off and pour it gently into the mixture of eggs and sugar. Stir it well.
Put it on the fire again, stirring it thoroughly with a spoon to prevent it's sticking to the casserole. When near boiling, take it off and strain it throgh a towel.
Put it in the ice cream maker canister or the “Sabottiere” as Jefferson called it . Then set it in ice an hour before it is to be served. Put into the ice a handful of salt. Put salt on the coverlid of the canister and cover the whole with ice. Leave it still half a quarter of an hour.
Then turn the canister in the ice 10 minutes. Open it to loosen with a spatula the ice from the inner sides of the canister. Shut it and replace it in the ice open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides when well taken, stir it well with the spatula. Put it in moulds, jostling it well down on the knee. Then put the mould into the same bucket of ice. Leave it there to the moment of serving it. To withdraw it, immerse the mould in warm water, turning it well till it will come out and turn it into a plate.
“In lieu of going through the complicated instructions of this recipe once the mix is made, it is suggested, you place it in the ice cream maker canister and churn with either an electric ice cream maker or a hand cranked one, until the ice cream is made and ready to eat, without even using any ice cream molds as Mr. Jefferson had done.”
Ice cream in some form, has been around for years. There are legends of ice being brought from the mountains during the reign of Emperor Nero, of the Roman Empire, when he served from A.D. 37 until 68. This ice would be mixed with fruit toppings and served. Then there are stories of King Tang, who reigned from A.D. 618 to 97 from Shang, China. They are thought to have had a method of mixing a creation of milk and ice into a type of dessert.
At some point it is believed that the idea of making these icy treats was brought back to Italy by early explorers. The Italians are alleged to have created different ways of chilling and freezing drinks and they may have been making sorbets back in the mid-1500s. A lot of these versions can not be verified at this late date.
The first ice creams created from milk and cream, that produced flavored confections, was thought to have been made in Italy and France in the mid 1600s.
One of the earliest known written accounts of making an early style dessert of this nature was written between 1692 and 1694 in Europe. It details how the ingredients of snow, sugar, salt, lemon juice, cherries, strawberries and other fruits were mixed together with flavorings to create a cooked dessert that could be served chilled. Thus, making it one of the original ice cream recipes.
In Naples, Italy in 1775 the first known cookbook that was totally dedicated to contain recipes for making frozen desserts, was published by Filippo Baldini. It contained recipes for sorbets and creating milky “sorbets” that referred to what is now known as ice cream.
These ideas eventually reached the Royal Courts of the French Monarchy and to other European countries, including England.
In England “Cream Ice“ was served during the 17th century. The first time iced cream was mentioned was in 1671, when ice cream was served at the Feast of St. George at Windsor Castle as written by Ashmore in 1672. It was also thought to have been served regularly on the table of King Charles I during that time in England.
An English lady named Mrs. Mary Eales, was the first person in that country to publish a cookbook in 1718 that contained early ice cream recipes.
Eventually, the art of making ice cream reached America. One of the earliest known people to serve ice cream occurred in Maryland. It was provided by the daughter of Lord Baltimore, Barbara Jannsen, the wife of Royal Gov. Blandon of Maryland in 1744, to her guests.
On May 12, 1777 an advertisement appeared in the New York Gazette newspaper, that stated a confectioner named Philip Lenzi was announcing he was going to sell ice cream almost every day. This was one of the first known ice cream shops in America.
During the summer of 1790, it was reported by a New York City merchant on Chatham Street, that President George Washington spent $200 on ice cream that year.
George Washington was also known to have homemade ice cream at Mount Vernon. He would begin in the winter by having ice harvested off of the frozen Potomac River that flowed passed his estate. He would store the ice in the winter, in a below ground ice house, for use during the warm summer months.
Using a renowned cookbook of that time period called “Hannah Glasse’s Art of Cookery,” Martha Washington made a cream, slushy version of what we now call ice cream. The concoctions mixed with sugar and cream had added fruits to them as their only flavoring. Tiny white French porcelain cups, were used to serve guests the delectable treat, which only contained an ounce or two of the dessert.
When George Washington died, it was listed in his estate records that he owned two pewter ice cream pots.
In 1784, Thomas Jefferson is said to have acquired an ice cream recipe from France that he made at Monticello. It's also said he brought back a machine to make his ice cream in, that we would now call an ice cream freezer. At Monticello, Jefferson also had a huge ice house that was dug deep into the ground for preserving ice for the summertime.
On his ice cream machine, the inner canister where you place the ice cream mix, to make the ice cream was called a “Sabottiere” as Mr. Jefferson referred to it. Recently a recipe was uncovered that was written in his own hand, for making vanilla ice cream.
Among the favorites of President Jefferson, he was known to have an 18 step recipe for an ice cream delectable that was like a modern type of Baked Alaska.
First Lady Dolley Madison, the wife of President James Madison, was known to have served guests a delicious strawberry ice cream dessert at his second inaugural banquet at the White House in Washington, D.C. in 1813.
A cookbook was published around 1824 in America entitled, “The Virginia Housewife,” was the first known to feature a vanilla ice cream recipe.
Most early ice creams were flavored with fruit and honey. As ice cream became more available, other things were added to flavor and enhance the taste.
By 1832, a confectioner named Augustus Jackson, was creating recipes for making and selling ice cream that he made, in his shops in Philadelphia.
After ice houses became readily available, more people began to make ice cream. It isn’t known who thought of the idea to mix rock salt with ice, to help freeze the mixture into its smooth, creamy consistency, but it helped further ice cream production.
When the homemade ice cream maker was invented, with its wooden bucket and inside canister, along with its paddles or dasher, to help churn the mixture into ice cream, it too, was another improvement in making ice cream at home.
It is Nancy Johnson who is known for inventing the method of a hand cranked ice cream freezer in 1846, whose basic style is still in use today. In 1848, a man named William Young patented a similar type of machine for making ice cream, giving credit to Nancy Johnson by calling it the “Johnson Patent Ice Cream Freezer.”
By 1851, a Baltimore, Md. milk producer named Jacob Fussell was one of the first to commercially produce ice cream for sale to the public by establishing the first large ice cream plant. Soon this became a nationwide industry.
A man named Alfred Cralle was issued a patent on the Feb. 2, 1897 for ice cream molds and scoops to dip out the ice cream with.
A man named Thomas Sands came up with his own version of the hand cranked ice cream freezer in 1872. He established his business producing them in Laconia, N.H. and called it the White Mountain Freezer Company. Although a fire in 1881 halted his production when his factory burned.
He then moved to Nashua, N.H. and built a new, large factory building there. The property also contained a foundry and other buildings necessary for the production of his ice cream freezers.
The business continued that way until 1888, when a corporation was formed. The White Mountain Freezer Company owned patents on many of the things that were designed, made and used to make their renowned ice cream freezers.
On May 4, 1930 another fire struck the business and it moved to another location. Alaska Freezer Company of Wichendon, Mass. bought out the company in 1963.
Then, a group of investors bought the company in 1974, calling it the White Mountain Freezer Company. One of those investors soon bought out the other owners by 1981 and renamed it, White Mountain Freezer Inc. Today it is the largest maker and sellers of ice cream freezers in the world.
As technology increased eventually electricity was used to power refrigeration units. More ice cream could be produced for an ever growing group of consumers.
A version of the hand cranked ice cream maker was eventually updated to utilize a small electric motor, thus saving all of that hand cranking, to produce the cold treat.
With today’s technology, there are many versions both big and small, of home use electric ice cream makers. There are even counter top models.
Today the most popular flavors in order of their popularity are vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan and strawberry.
The August birthdays were celebrated at the Exline Old Country Store on Wednesday, Aug. 1. Those celebrating their special day included, Jill Sharp on Aug. 4, Ruth Matheny on Aug. 12, John Overgard on Aug. 17, Zetta McElderry, along with Eleanor Moore and Marge Traxler on Aug. 23 and Morgan Cline on Aug. 26.
The couples enjoying anniversaries this month are: Don and Dorothy Haines on Aug. 21, celebrating 63 years of marriage and Stan and Mirie Huston celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary on Aug. 27.
Condolences go out to the family of Murl and Marge Hatfield of rural Exline. Murl’s sister Vera V. (Hatfield) Regnier passed away Aug. 2 at the age of 83 in Wahoo, Neb. She was born April 17, 1929, the daughter of Jasper and LaVivien (McFarland) Hatfield. Vera graduated from Moulton High School and in her early years, was a school teacher herself, in the one room, Eureka Country School, near Exline. Later, Vera worked as an assembly line worker for Kawasaki.
She married Harold Regnier, who preceded her in death. She is survived by four children, who live in Nebraska and Iowa.
Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 6 at the Butherus, Maser and Love Funeral Home, in Lincoln, Neb. with her burial in the Wyuka Cemetery there.
Mark it on you calendar, that the Exline Recreation Committee is having an Ice Cream Social on Saturday, Aug. 25, at 5:30 p.m. in the community center. There will be a speaker from the women’s shelter in Ottumwa present that evening. This person serves as a four county representative, including Appanoose County. She will be the guest speaker.
During the course of the evening, they will have forms available listing what items the shelter can use to distribute to its clients. If anyone is interested in donating any of these things, let them know the day of the gathering.
Just to let everyone know, the Cincinnati United Methodist Church is going to have a special event on Sunday, Aug. 26, at 2 p.m. It is called “Music and Ice Cream.” They are going to serve ice cream and be entertained that afternoon by John Van Welden and the Brushy Community Church Singers. Everyone is invited to attend.