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The First Handwritten Ice Cream Recipe Included Mace And Ambergris (+20 More Facts)

cream day

National Vanilla Ice Cream Day is observed annually on July 23rd.

In North America, the most common use of vanilla flavoring is for ice cream, and many people consider vanilla to be the ‘default’ flavor.

Like with cherry trees and Washington, it seems some stretching of the truth applied to Thomas Jefferson. Our third president’s love of vanilla ice cream, most likely discovered during his time in France, lead to a belief that he brought the recipe to the United States. However, evidence exists supporting colonists made ice cream before Jefferson’s recipe surfaced.

By the time he was elected President, Jefferson’s fondness for the frozen dessert had become evident. According to Monticello.org, visitors reported being served the ice cream several times during his presidency. Jefferson produced a handwritten copy of a vanilla ice cream recipe in the 1780s. The Library of Congress houses the original Jefferson recipe. For more ice cream history, travel to Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and ask for a scoop of the exact recipe.

  • Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family, the largest family of flowering plants in the world.
  • It’s a tropical orchid, and there are more than 150 varieties of vanilla, though only two types – Bourbon and Tahitian — are used commercially.
  • Vanilla grows within the 20-degree band either side of the Equator and is native to the Americas.
  • The Olmeca people on the Gulf Coast of Mexico were perhaps the first to use vanilla as a flavoring in beverages.
  • The Totonaca people of the Gulf coast of Mexico were probably the first people to domesticate vanilla.
  • The country that consumes the most ice cream is USA, followed by Australia then Norway.
  • The most popular flavor is vanilla, then chocolate
  • Chocolate ice cream was invented before vanilla
  • Vanilla was rare and exotic in the late 1700’s
  • Ice cream in America in the 1700’s was rare and enjoyed by the elite
  • The first written ice cream recipe was found in a 1665 recipe book
  • Industrial ice cream production in the US began in 1851
  • The majority of Americans – around 90% have ice cream in their freezers
  • The Ingredients of the First Handwritten Ice Cream Recipe Will Disgust You. Sometime around 1668, English noblewoman Lady Anne Fanshawe wrote down the first official ice cream recipe. She originally called it “icy cream,” and it called for some pretty strange things. To prepare the ice cream, the recipe states to boil cream with mace. If that doesn’t throw you off, wait till you see what comes next. For flavor, Fanshawe wrote to use orange flower or ambergris with some sugar. If you don’t know what ambergris is, it is essentially whale vomit. Occasionally, sperm whales suffer from a buildup in their intestines, which ends up coming up in the form of a vomit-like substance. This is known as ambergris, and in the past it was commonly used to make things like candles or perfumes.
  • There’s a Simple Trick to Help Brain Freeze. The real word for brain freeze is sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia. But you can keep calling it brain freeze or frozen headache. What is brain freeze? In simple terms, you have temperature sensors on the roof of your mouth. When cold objects hit it before your body has time to process, your nerves send a message to your brain that signal heat loss. This is what brings on that massive headache halfway through eating your ice cream. To combat brain freeze, hold your tongue against the roof of your mouth. This will help warm your sensors and get your brain out of panic mode.
  • Today the average American eats about 20 quarts of ice cream a year―the world’s highest per capita consumption
  •  Farmers in Vermont used to feed leftovers provided by Ben and Jerry’s to their hogs. The hogs didn’t seem to care for Mint Oreo Cookie.
  • 19% of Americans say they eat ice cream in bed.  3% eat ice cream in the bathtub.
  • In Canada, more ice cream is sold in the winter months than in the summer.
  • Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was part of the team that first invented the method of making soft serve ice cream


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