Origins of ordinary things: Ice cream

Scooping a spoonful of ice cream and feeling it melt in your mouth on a hot day is a pleasurable feeling.

The process of making the tasteful product starts with blending the mixture of ingredients, followed by pasteurising to kill bacteria, after which the ingredients are integrated to produce a uniform texture. This is followed by cooling and resting to blend the mixture of ingredients before flavouring. After this is done, the mixture is frozen. If there is need to add fruit and sweetened chunks, this is done. The finished product is then packaged and hardened, ready for supply. This is according to Made How, a website on how products are made.

According to Wikipedia, an encyclopaedia, early forms of ice cream were in existence as early as 500 BC when during the middle-eastern Achaemenid Empire, ice would be combined with flavours such as grapes and fruits as a summertime treat.

Other places around the world were also making flavoured ices hundreds of years ago. For instance, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation, in 200 BC China, a milk and rice mixture was packed into snow to freeze before devouring it.

In the 13th Century, Italian merchant Marco Polo who explored China is believed to have brought back an ice cream recipe to his country. According to Today I Found Out, an online knowledge resource, Catherine de Medici of Italy then took the recipe to France when she married King Henry II in 1533.

For a long while, the production of ice cream was an expensive process because of lack of ice storage methods. For this reason, it was mainly available to elite classes. According to the Ice Cream History website, the process became easier when organised collection and underground storage of ice began to spread across Europe and North America in the 17th to 18th Century.

Production was further eased with the surge of industrialisation which brought about the manufacture of insulated freezers. In 1851, Jacob Fusell, an American milk dealer, set up an ice cream factory which made mass production possible, availing the high class food luxury to people from lower classes. German inventor Carl Von Linder’s invention of industrial refrigeration also contributed to increased production of ice cream. This is according to Today I Found Out.

Although ice cream is now deemed affordable in developed countries, it is still a luxury good in many parts of the world. There are many people who have merely heard of it while others rarely get a chance to experience the pleasure of eating it.

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

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