Friday, August 31, 2007
What's cooler than Ice Cream?
Once upon a time, hundreds of years ago, Charles I of England hosted a sumptous state banquet for many of his friends and family. The meal, consisting of many delicacies of the day, had been simply superb but the "coup de grace" was yet to come. After much preparation, the King's french chef had concocted an apparently new dish. It was cold and resembled fresh fallen snow but was much creamier and sweeter than any other after dinner dessert. The guests were delighted, as was Charles, who summoned the cook and asked him not to divulge the recipe for his frozen cream. The King wanted the delicacy to be served only at the Royal table and offered the cook 500 pounds a year to keep it that way. Sometime later, however, poor Charles fell into disfavour with his people and was beheaded in 1649. But by that time, the secret of the frozen cream remained a secret no more. The cook, named DeMirco, had not kept his promise.
This story is just one of many of the fascinating tales which surround the evolution of our country's most popular dessert, ice cream. It is likely that ice cream was not invented, but rather came to be over years of similar efforts. Indeed, the Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar is said to have sent slaves to the mountains to bring snow and ice to cool and freeze the fruit drinks he was so fond of. Centuries later, the Italian Marco Polo returned from his famous journey to the Far East with a recipe for making water ices resembling modern day sherbets.