It could be on a warm summer day or late in the night after a rough break up. Heck, it can be hailing out and I’ll still be curled up on the couch with blankets and a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. There’s no bad time for ice cream that I’m aware of. Here are cool things you may not know about everyone’s favorite frozen dessert:
World leaders find ice cream irresistible
While the origins of ice-cream are unknown, historians believed that since 200 BC, people have known and loved a similar version of what we now know as ice cream. Alexander the Great apparently loved snow and ice sweetened with honey and nectar. Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar of the Roman Empire was known to ask his servants to retrieve snow from the mountains so he can enjoy it with fruits and juices.
This liking for sweet and cold stuff evolved into a much more similar ice-cream recipe a thousand years later when Marco Polo came back to Italy after exploring the Far East, bringing with him an icy dessert like sherbet. Experts believed that sherbet eventually became ice cream sometime in the 16th century. While “Cream Ice” appeared regularly in the table of French royals in the early 16th century, it wasn’t until 1660 that the general public got a taste of this satisfying treat.
America discovers sweet indulgence
The first written account of this cold dessert in the New World (now the United States) was from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen. The first ever ice cream advertisement ever printed in America appeared on the pages of the New York Gazette over 150 years later on May 12, 1977. Someone was holdin’ out.
American presidents were also enthralled by the sweet and cool goodness of ice cream. Inventory records of Mount Vernon say President George Washington spent about $200 for this sweet treat in the summer of 1790—that’s the equivalent over of $5,000 today. President Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, enjoyed an 18-step recipe for an ice cream delicacy. In 1813, First Lady Dolley Madison even served an appetizing strawberry ice cream creation during the second inaugural banquet of President Madison at the White House.
So next time you’re enjoying a come or a ice-cream sandwich, remember: it’s a sweet little taste of the good life.