Recently I was visiting with my husband’s side of the family. They had rented a cabin in Thurmont, Maryland and had taken a brief vacation away from their normal lives. When I arrived on the last day they were about to partake in some amazingly yummy ice cream. If you’ve had Hagen Daz’s 5 ingredient ice creams then you know what I’m talking about. My father-in-law announced that we were eating Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for ice cream. That sparked the question, “where did Thomas Jefferson get his recipe anyway?!” I thought it was from China but others though Italy. This blog is the answer to that query.
It turns out that the origins of ice cream go way back and, in a way, everyone was right. Aspects of ice cream came from both the Roman Empire and China. “…ice cream can be traced back to at least the 4th century B.C. Early references include the Roman emperor Nero (A.D. 37-68) who ordered ice to be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings” Also, “King Tang (A.D. 618-97) of Shang, China who had a method of creating ice and milk concoctions. Ice cream was likely brought from China back to Europe.”
However, no one person can be credited with bringing ice cream to the United States. The colonists brought the recipe with them. “The earliest reference to ice cream given by the Oxford English Dictionary is from 1744, reprinted in a magazine in 1877. 1744 in Pennsylvania Mag. Hist. & Biogr. (1877) I. 126 Among the rarities..was some fine ice cream, which, with the strawberries and milk, eat most deliciously.“
2. bottles of good cream.
6. yolks of eggs.
1/2 lb. sugar
mix the yolks & sugar
put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of Vanilla.
when near boiling take it off & pour it gently into the mixture of eggs & 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 thro’ a towel.
put it in the Sabottiere*
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 Sabotiere & cover the whole with ice.
leave it still half a quarter of an hour.
then turn the Sabottiere in the ice 10 minutes
open it to loosen with a spatula the ice from the inner sides of the Sabotiere.
shut it & replace it in the ice
open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides
when well taken (prise) stir it well with the Spatula.
put it in moulds, justling 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 & turn it into a plate.
*The sabottiere is the inner cannister shown in the drawing. There was no crank to turn it; when Jefferson wrote “turn the Sabottiere in the ice 10 minutes,” he meant for someone to grab the handle and turn the cannister clockwise and then counterclockwise.