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Ice Cream ! Xi Zhu

2014 S AN F R ANC I S CO


Published by Reaktion Books Ltd 33 Great Sutton Street London www.reaktionbooks.co.uk First Published 2014 Copyright @ Xi Zhu 2014 The right of Xi Zhu to be identified as designer of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patens Act 1988.

Zhu, Xi. Ice Cream! / Xi Zhu. ISBN 641.3.2222.11111 NC999.6.C2B36 2014 700.92 - dc22 20140227


Contents PA RT 1

History of Ice cream 1.1

Introduction 1.2

Origins in Roman emperor Nero 1.3

King Tang of Shang, China 1.4

Spread to Europe 1.5

Expansion in popularity 1.6

Production PART 2

Recipes of Ice Cream PART 3

World Well-known Ice Creams


INTRODUCTION

I scream, you scream, We all scream for ice cream! Howard Johnson, Billy Moll and Robert King,1927 It’s called gelato in Italy, glace in France and morozhenoe in Russia. From Tokyo to Turin, from Denver to Delhi, everyone loves ice cream. With the possible exception of romance — ‘You love is better than ice cream’, singer Sarah McLachlan has crooned — there are few of life’s pleasures, culinary or otherwise, that can match ice cream’s potent allure. What accounts for the sweet frozen treat’s irresistible appeal? First, ice cream is just plain delectable. Composed of ice cream or milk, sweeteners and flavourings, which are churned and frozen, ice cream boasts an icy sumptuousness. What’s more, ice cream packs an emotional wallop. Stoking the pleasure-producing regions of the brain, ice cream is known for its ability to generate feelings of well-being, ‘It’s amazing how quickly you recover from misery when someone offers you ice cream’, marvelled teenager Eugene Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs, American playwright Neil Simon’s coming-of-age play. 1


Of course, ice cream tanalizes the taste buds and delights the eye. There’s the frothy ice cream soda sipped through a straw at the neighbourhood soda fountain. There’s the luxurious taste of a gelato-topped cone, relished while strolling through the streets of Rome. There are the Indian Kulfiwalas hawing cardamom-perfumed kulfi on the streets of Delhi and Mumbai. There’s melting hot fudge enrobing a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a decadent pairing of heat and cold that rarely fails to thrill children and adults alike. But ice cream also conjures up powerful memories — sounds recalled from childhood or distinctive events, such as birthdays or patriotic celebrations. One of the measures of ice cream’s potent appeal is how the mere sight of the sweet, frozen confection immediately taps into memories of carefree childhood idylls, not to mention the innocence of simpler time. There’s the merry call of the ice cream man — trolling city streets in a boxy white truck in New York or on a bicycle in Saigon — and his promise og carefree summer days. (My own earlist ice cream memories are bittersweet. Hobbled by a dairy allergy, it was only at age four that I finally got to sample the frozen dessert. It was vanilla — and it was simply the most haavenly food I had ever tasted.) As befits a food so strongly identified with fun, the story of ice cream is a lively one. It’s a moveable feast peppered with Chinese emperors and English Kings, former slaves, women inventors, shrewd businessmen, Italian immigrant hokey pokey INTRODUCTION


Gelato served from a Carpigiani-made gelato truck at the Bologna fair in 1958


ice cream vendors, a gourmand First Lady, health food advocates, temperance apostles and modern-day food snobs. Ice cream — at various points in it history, it’s been called ‘ice’, ‘ice-cream’ and ‘cream’ — began its ascent to worldwide dessert fame as a luxury food that only the upper crust could afford. As ice cream travelled through history, it evolved from a food identified with an opulent lifestyle into a mainstream consumer sensation coveted by paupers and princes alike. Though the Chinese are said to have been the first fashion a dairy-like frozen dessert, ice cream as we now know it was initially formulated in Europe, principally in Italy, but also in France, England and other parts of the Continent. Ice cream then travelled across the Atlantic to America. In fact, Americans like to claim ice cream as their national dessert, conferring upon it a status rivalling the mythic apple pie. It’s true that American entrepreneurs and culinary inventors did contribute mightily to ice cream’s meteoric rise on to the world food stage. Worldwide favourites like the cone, the sundae and the soda fountain is an American icon, and the commercial ice cream industry was also spawned and nurtured by us business and culinary talent. In fact, many of today’s most recognized global ice cream brands, such as Häagen-Dazs and Baskin-Robbins, claim American roots. Yet without culinary influences from the Old World, ice cream in the us would never have evolved into the global mass-market phenomenon it eventually became. Early Italian,


French and English confectioners created ice cream recipes and techniques that spawned the modern ice cream that we cherish today. Italian immigrants spread the art of ice cream making throughout Europe and North America. There, they sold their wares on the streets of New York, London, Berlin and other cities, where they paved the way for ice cream to emerge as one of the world’s most beloved street foods. Despite the sizeable American influence, indigenous ice cream culture flourish worldwide. For example, Italian gelato is prized by ice cream connoisseurs everywhere. In Turkey and Parts of the Middle East, salepi dondurma, an ice cream enhanced with orchid root, continues to flourish. Still today, national ice cream traditions are fading, blending into a universal version of what once was a distinctive local dessert. In fact, ice cream had been transformed into a culinary blank slate which can take on the colouration of just about any food culture. A Long Island, New York ice cream maker produces Kulfi — using a pre-mixed American ice cream base. In Brooklyn, a group of women express their Eastern European Jewish culinary roots through ice cream. Matzoh Crunch, anyone? Even gelato, that supposedly sacrosanct Italian ice cream, has been transformed by outside influences. There’s now green tea and cheddar cheese gelato being served from Des Moines to Delhi. In Italy, I sampled flavours like ginger and spicy Aztec chocolate, some clearly nor handmade and 5 / INTRODUCTION


displaying flavour notes culled from regions far beyond Florence and Rome. In fact some might ask at this point: is gelato even Italian any more? Ice cream also evolved into a celebrated cultural icon, appearing in artistic works as varied as Picasso paintings and Hollywood movies. Who can forget George Bailey in the 1946 Frank Capra classic It’s a Wonderful Life, dishing up chocolate ice cream to Mary at the local ice cream fountain — while the young girl whispers, ‘George Bailey, I’ll love you till the day I die’? Over the years, historians have sometimes elected to focus on the myths and legends — not to mention the legendary disputes — that color ice cream’s trajectory through history. Did Catherine de Medici really bring ice cream to France? Who was the true creator of the ice cream sundae? There are some of the questions that culinary historians and ice cream lovers have pondered for decades. Ice Cream ! will review some of these epic debates. But Ice Cream ! will focus even more on the story of how the frozen dessert was altered from a food for the high-born into the widely consumed mass-market product it has become today. Along the way, Old World and New World economic, social and culinary influences combined to create the sweet indulgence that few can manage to resist.

INTRODUCTION


PART 1

History of Ice Cream

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.


THE EARLY ICE CREAM AGE

Ice Cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal. Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners. In some cases, artificial flavourings and colourings are used in addition to, or instead of, the natural ingredients. The mixture of chosen ingredients is stirred slowly while cooling, in order to incorporate air and to prevent large ice crystals from forming. The result is a smoothly textured semi-solid foam that is malleable and can be scooped. The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another. Phrases such as “frozen custard”, “frozen yogurt”, “sorbet”, “gelato” and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, such as the United States, the phrase “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients. Products that do not 11


Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes, are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan. The most popular flavours of ice cream in North America (based on consumer surveys) are vanilla and chocolate. No specific person has officially been credited with inventing ice cream. Its origins date back as far as 200 B.C., when people in China created a dish of rice mixed with milk that was then frozen by being packed in snow. The Chinese King Tang of Shang is thought to have had over ninety “ice men” who mixed flour, camphor, and buffalo milk with ice. The Chinese are also credited with inventing the first “ice cream machine.” They had pots they filled with a syrupy mixture, which they then packed into a mixture of snow and salt. Other early ice cream-like confectionery indulgers include Alexander the Great, who enjoyed eating snow flavoured with honey. Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar of Rome was said to have sent people up to the mountains to collect snow and ice which would then be flavoured with juice and fruit—kind of like a first century snow cone. These early “ice creams” were obviously a luxury indulged in by the rich, as not everyone had the ability to send servants up the mountains to collect snow for them. In Japan, the fourth-century emperor Nintoku was so taken with ice and its ability to preserve food that he declared 1st June to be national ice day. One day, one of the imperial THE EARLY ICE CREAM AGE


princes spotted an ice pit and asked how the ice was stored. He was told by a local peasant: The ground is excavated to a depth of over ten feet. The top is then covered with a roof of thatch. A thick layer of reedgrass is then spread, upon which the ice is laid. The months of summer have passed and yet is it not melted. As to its use — when the hot months come it is placed in water or sake and thus used.

The prince carried the news back to his father, Nintoku, who promptly adopted the newfangled ice storage method. Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat asserts, in her History of Food, that “the Chinese may be credited with inventing a device to make sorbets and ice cream. They poured a mixture of snow and saltpetre over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup, for, in the same way as salt raises the boiling-point of water, it lowers the freezing-point to below zero.”[8][9] Some distorted accounts claim that in the age of Emperor Yingzong, Song Dynasty (960–1279) of China, a poem named Ode to the ice cheese was written by the poet Yang Wanli. Actually, this poem was named Ode to the pastry and has nothing to do with ice cream.[10] It has also been claimed that, in the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan enjoyed ice cream and kept it a royal secret until Marco Polo visited China and took the technique of making ice cream to Italy. In the sixteenth century, the Mughal emperors used relays of horsemen to bring ice from the Hindu Kush to 12


While it may be debatable whether Marco Polo really introduced the methods for making ice cream from China to Europe, there were other channels whereby that information could have travelled from East to West.


Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes, are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan. The most popular flavours of ice cream in North America (based on consumer surveys) are vanilla and chocolate. No specific person has officially been credited with inventing ice cream. Its origins date back as far as 200 B.C., when people in China created a dish of rice mixed with milk that was then frozen by being packed in snow. The Chinese King Tang of Shang is thought to have had over ninety “ice men” who mixed flour, camphor, and buffalo milk with ice. The Chinese are also credited with inventing the first “ice cream machine.” They had pots they filled with a syrupy mixture, which they then packed into a mixture of snow and salt. Other early ice cream-like confectionery indulgers include Alexander the Great, who enjoyed eating snow flavoured with honey. Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar of Rome was said to have sent people up to the mountains to collect snow and ice which would then be flavoured with juice and fruit—kind of like a first century snow cone. These early “ice creams” were obviously a luxury indulged in by the rich, as not everyone had the ability to send servants up the mountains to collect snow for them. In Japan, the fourth-century emperor Nintoku was so taken with ice and its ability to preserve food that he declared 1st June to be national ice day. One day, one of the imperial


ITALY: THE BIRTH OF ICES AND ICE CREAM

Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes, are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan. The most popular flavours of ice cream in North America (based on consumer surveys) are vanilla and chocolate. No specific person has officially been credited with inventing ice cream. Its origins date back as far as 200 B.C., when people in China created a dish of rice mixed with milk that was then frozen by being packed in snow. The Chinese King Tang of Shang is thought to have had over ninety “ice men” who mixed flour, camphor, and buffalo milk with ice. The Chinese are also credited with inventing the first “ice cream machine.” They had pots they filled with a syrupy mixture, which they then packed into a mixture of snow and salt. Other early ice cream-like confectionery indulgers include Alexander the Great, who enjoyed eating snow flavoured with honey. Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar of Rome was said to have sent people up to the mountains to collect snow and ice which would then be flavoured with juice and fruit—kind of like a first century snow cone. These early “ice creams” were obviously a luxury indulged in by the rich, as not everyone had the ability to send servants up the mountains to collect snow for them. In Japan, the fourth-century emperor Nintoku was so


Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes, are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan. The most popular flavours of ice cream in North America (based on consumer surveys) are vanilla and chocolate. No specific person has officially been credited with inventing ice cream. Its origins date back as far as 200 B.C., when people in China created a dish of rice mixed with milk that was then frozen by being packed in snow. The Chinese King Tang of Shang is thought to have had over ninety “ice men” who mixed flour, camphor, and buffalo milk with ice. The Chinese are also credited with inventing the first “ice cream machine.” They had pots they filled with a syrupy mixture, which they then packed into a mixture of snow and salt. Other early ice cream-like confectionery indulgers include Alexander the Great, who enjoyed eating snow flavoured with honey. Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar of Rome was said to have sent people up to the mountains to collect snow and ice which would then be flavoured with juice and fruit—kind of like a first century snow cone. These early “ice creams” were obviously a luxury indulged in by the rich, as not everyone had the ability to send servants up the mountains to collect snow for them. In Japan, the fourth-century emperor Nintoku was so taken with ice and its ability to preserve food that he declared 1st June to be national ice day. One day, one of the imperial

A yakhchal, an ancient type of ice house, in Yazd, Iran.


PART 3

World Well-Known Ice Creams

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.


H채agen-Dazs is an ice cream brand, established by Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx, New York, in 1961. Starting with only three flavors: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee, the company opened its first retail store in Brooklyn, New York, on November 15, 1976. The business now has franchises throughout the United States and many other countries around the world.


PART 2

Recipes of Ice Cream

Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone.


CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM Chocolate ice cream is ice cream with natural or artificial chocolate flavoring. Chocolate is the second most common flavor of ice cream in the United States, after vanilla. It can be eaten in a bowl, cup, or cone.


PREPARATION

STEPS

Makes about 1 quart

1. Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

2 cups heavy cream 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate 1 cup whole milk ¾ cup granulated sugar Pinch of salt 5 large egg yolks ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

2. Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan. 3. Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instantread thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath. 4. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)


Ice cream