Getting a couple scoops of ice cream is a notable past time for most people. When we are kids, it seems like the entire world revolves around ice cream! And as adults, we like to treat ourselves to something sweet every now and then. We eat ice cream, our grandparents ate ice cream, and their grandparents ate ice cream! But how did ice cream evolve into the scientific process you see at your local Sub Zero store? At Sub Zero Ice Cream, we love science and learning, so we decided to do some research to find out just how much ice cream has changed.

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B.C. – Before Cream

Variations of ice cream have been recorded to date back as far as the second century B.C., when Alexander The Great enjoyed eating snow flavored with honey or nectar. Biblical sources also claimed that King Solomon partook in the same sweet treat as Alexander The Great. When the Roman Empire was thriving, Nero Claudius Caesar went as far as sending servants into the mountains to collect snow, only to have them run back before it melted, where he would flavor it with fruits and juices.

Marco? Polo! Sherbert!

We’ve all enjoyed a rousing game of Marco Polo at the pool, but the actual explorer, Marco Polo, is possibly responsible for other kinds of summer fun – sherbert. Sometime near the turn of the 14th century, Marco Polo returned from his travels with a recipe that was similar to what we know today as sherbert: a dairy-free, fruit-based ice cream. Historians believe that this evolved into the ice cream that we are familiar with.

We All Scream For Ice Cream

So, we know that the nobility had access to ice cream, but how prevalent was it among commoners? The first recorded offering of ice cream to the public was in the mid-1600s, at the first Parisian cafe, Cafe Procope. This cafe was owned by Italian chef Francesco Procopio Cuto, who is known for developing the basic concept of gelato – Italian ice cream. As a child, Procopio enjoyed the same snow-based ice cream as his predecessors, suggesting that by this time, commoners knew the scoop on ice cream. With a special business license from Louis XIV, Procopio was able to sell and develop his creation.

Ice Cream In America

By the 1700s, ice cream was becoming more well-known in the United States, and happened to be the favorite treat of some of our presidents. Most notably, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Washington, according to merchant records, spent $200 on ice cream in the summer of 1790 – equivalent to about $4,800 today. So that’s where our tax dollars went! Jefferson, on the other hand, preferred to make his own ice cream, and even had an almost 20-step recipe which can be seen here. From Jefferson forward, presidents were known to serve guests various flavors of ice cream at events.

Modern Day Ice Cream

As ice boxes – or as we call them, freezers – became more common in households and factories, ice cream began to be manufactured for the masses. By the 1900s, ice cream was pretty widely available to just about anyone who wanted it, and even became a symbol of hope for troops during World War II.

From Slow Churn To Liquid Nitrogen

Just as it seemed like ice cream couldn’t get any better, it did. In the early 2000s, Sub Zero’s founder, Jerry Hancock, put his chemistry background to good use by developing a patented way to instantly freeze ice cream using nothing more than liquid nitrogen. This fast-freeze method ensures that there are minimal ice crystals in the finished product, making it the creamiest, freshest ice cream available. Don’t believe us? Stop by one of our dozens of locations today, and watch as our ice cream is made before your eyes, exactly how you like it!