A Brief History on Ice Cream

According to this article, “The Chinese are generally credited for creating the first ice creams, possibly as early as 3000 BC. Marco Polo is popularly cited for introducing these tasty concoctions to Italy. The ice creams we enjoy today are said to have been invented in Italy during the 17th century.”

So frozen treats have been around for a very long time and have varied in ingredients, flavor, and composition from era to era, and culture to culture. 


Apparently, the Roman Emperor Nero who lived from 37 to 68 A.D. ordered slaves to walk up mountains to get him snow that could be flavored to his requests.

This frozen sugary cream dessert most of us love so much is simply America’s take on the frozen dessert during this time in history.

I want to focus on my favorite reason why ice cream gained popularity in America. This explanation is that Americans faced with the unfair burden of prohibition were like, “Well we still have these saloons, these communal areas, now we just need a new substance we can get sick off of if we consume too much.” While it was already fairly popular, ice cream saw this as the perfect opportunity to take it from where booze left off. According to this article, “Both Anheuser-Busch and Yuengling refocused their manufacturing attentions on a more legal vice: ice cream. Anheuser-Busch owned a fleet of refrigerated trucks and used them to transport their new brand of dessert.”

Ice cream was waiting in the balance ready to pounce, and it did, this is when America fell to ice cream, because with this came the rise in ice cream parlors, and there was never any looking back.


Today’s ice cream is everywhere, but it’s not just ice cream, we now have items like the Dairy Queen Blizzard. This is why I am of the opinion ice cream should be everywhere, because you know what, ice cream makes everything better, and not just a bad breakup, but also like any chocolate candy ever invented. The Dairy Queen Blizzard is a testimony to this. This pairing effectiveness of ice cream is not only in play when talking chocolate candy though, ice cream is consistently a team player and almost always has something to bring to the table. Take a second to think about how much less pie would be eaten in this country without ice cream. According to this article, Pie a la mode is pie served with a scoop of ice cream and was invented by John Gieriet in Duluth, Minnesota (wooo!) in 1885. I don’t think it’s a question; our pie economy would suffer without the vital stimulation ice cream provides.

“Jam Bun” from Milkjam Creamery. Ice cream of your choice inside a donut sandwich!!

There have been many innovations in ice cream as we continue to usher in the 21st century. When I say this I am talking about things like the Wendy’s Frosty, and with that the combination of a Frosty and fries. People talk about #21stcenturyproblems on Twitter, and when I think that sweet and salty and hot and cold interplay that this combo provides I consider it an unparalleled #21stcenturyblessing. Other innovations include frozen yogurt. Frozen yogurt contains less fat than regular ice cream because it uses milk instead of cream.

Though I do not remember my first time having ice cream, that does not mean I don’t have great memories eating ice cream that I do remember. I am confident that this probably holds true with the majority of you. Whether it is a sundae your grandpa would always treat you to when you visited, or a post game ice cream sandwich, I think food can aid in memories and more importantly the people involved in those memories. Do you remember the first time you had Dippin’ Dots ice cream? That is the best thing about ice cream, and food in general, we are talking about a communal activity. No I will never forget the first time had Dippin’ Dots, I was 12 at a Twins vs. Royals game that attended with my family. And without that over priced delicious cup of dry pebble ice cream to jog my sensory memory I might have never remembered that. Lastly it is important to note that we live in a city with very impressive ice cream shops so I will leave you with my personal favorite frozen treats in the Twin Cities. Sebastian Joe’s, Pumphouse Creamery, Sonny’s Crema Café, and my new favorite, Milkjam Creamery.


2 thoughts on “A Brief History on Ice Cream

  1. Good research on this. I never thought of Ice Cream’s history before. I didn’t know Ice Cream has such a rich history. That is really interesting that it became popular during prohibition and the pie a la mode Duluth connection! I love dip and dots, lol.

  2. good article, i’ve learned something new with ice cream and also going to get some. I see some one have done good research, good job.

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