A Ice cream is one of the most popular desserts in the world. Over four billion gallons (15.1 billion liters) are consumed each year, worldwide. Although many people enjoy this frozen dessert, not too many people know its history.
B Eating frozen sweets started about two thousand years ago. In ancient Italy, Persia and China, ice (or sometimes snow) was mixed with fruit or fruit juice. In ancient Rome, the Emperor Nero had snow brought down from the mountains and mixed with fruit.
C Arabs were the first people to add milk to frozen desserts. Instead of fruit juice, they added sugar as a sweetener. But sugar wasn’t the only thing added. They also added dried fruits and nuts. As early as 1,000 years ago ice cream could be found in Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo.
D Much later, in the sixteenth century, the rulers of ancient India used horsemen to bring ice down from the mountains to make sorbets. Also during this time a famous Italian duchess, Catherine de Medici brought ice cream to France. A hundred years later, in the seventeenth century, ice cream could be found in England.
E After this time, ice cream and ice cream recipes were mentioned in books. One of the earliest ice cream recipes appeared in a cookbook from 1718. The Oxford English Dictionary claims that the first mention of the phrase “ice cream” was in a magazine that was published in the year 1744.
F About one hundred years later, in the 1870’s, a German engineer invented something that would later help make ice cream available worldwide. This invention was the freezer. Later still, in 1926, an improved method of freezing was invented. This is when ice cream started to spread all over the world because it could be more easily made and transported.
G These days there are many companies that sell ice cream and the number of different flavors available is well over 1,000. Frozen desserts have been around for a long time and will most likely be enjoyed well into the future.