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Ice Cream: A Global History

Laura Weiss

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Soda (carbonated) water thought to have therapeutic powers, so druggists (chemists/pharmacists) were the natural vendors. Fancy dispensers the order of the day. Once they started adding ice cream to the sodas, seating areas were added. With Prohibition in 1920, many bars switched to ice cream parlours.

Need to supply supermarkets changed ice cream. An industrial mix of dry milk, skim milk and whole milk plus sugar, emulsifiers and stabilizers, and, crucially, more air. Result was an ice cream that was inexpensive and long lasting, but was much thinner and fluffier than trad ice creams.

Howard Johnson started with a single drug store soda parlour, but soon realized that the money was in the burgening highway system. He added hot dogs to the mix, and expanded across America. By 1952 he had 355 stores. But today they have all gone.

Premium ice creams, notably Haagen-Dazs (a compltetely made-up name intended to evoke a Scandinavian ideal of clean cold), increased butterfat from 10% of supermarket icecreams to 16%, and much less air. All of which gave ice cream a more velvety feel.

Today Haagen-Daz is owned by General Mills, and marketed in N America by Nestles. Ben & Jerrys is now owned by Unilever.

NZ leading ice cream consumer, 28 liters per person per year. US 25 liters.

Gelato contains about 6% butterfat, but virtually no air.

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