Ices in England
Posted by Patricia Bingham on August 24, 1998 at 02:13:41:
In response to Sorbet & Ice(s), written by susan l on August 23, 1998 at 22:06:02
] When were sorbets and ices introduced. To make these desserts--how long did the ice last and where did they store it?
Ices and sorbets had been around for quite sometime before they ever made it to England. It started in China during the T'ang period (A.D. 618-907) and is thought to have reached Europe via Arabs and Moors during their time in Spain (A.D. 711-1492). In Europe it was the Italians who perfected the art and thus they are still famous for their ices, ice cream and anything else that includes a frozen dessert. But back to England, the first documented reference is in a description by Elias Ashmole in The Institution, Laws and Cerimonies of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, published in 1672, during the reign of Charles II. The next reference appeared in The London Gazette of Sept 20, 1688. and tells of a banquet in Stockholm to celebrate the birht of James Francis Edward, Prince of Wales, son of James II and Queen Mary, at which iced creams were served. The first English cookery book to appear containing a recipe for ice cream was Mrs. Mary Eales Receipts (1718 and reprinted 1733 and 1744). At this time the ice would not have been churned or beaten and so would have contained larger ice crystals and would have been coarser than the ices we are familiar with today. They were made with cream ad fruit or other flavorings, but no eggs. By 1733 The Modern Cook included recipes with and without eggs and also included the use of elaborate molds. And this portion of his cookbook is said to be largely pliagerized from Francois Massialot's Le Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois pub. in 1691. English Ices of the 18c followed the traditional cream method of sugar, flavors and fruits as opposed to adding eggs which made the mixture smoother and richer in taste. Egg yolks appeared in English ice cream in the middle 18c and probably of French influence. The first book dedicated to water ices was probably Filipo Baldini's De' Sorbette, published in Naples in 1784. Ices were generally only available in wealthy households, due to the obvious problem of keeping it cold. Until about 1843, when Thomas Masters invented tha machine that froze the ice cream mixture and whipped it at the same time. The Ice Book by Masters (1844) was the first devoted entirely to making ices.
Where did they store the ice? Large amounts of ice was harvest every winterr by the wealthy and stored in ice houses on their property. Some were pits with a brick or stone structure at ground level, and others were on the surface. The dessert itself would generally have been made on demand. And if it was stored in the ice house, its lifespan would depend upon the how long the ice lasted and the location of the property. In other words, an ice house in N. England would have been able to keep ice longer than S. England.
Here is a recipe from Mrs. Mary Eagles' Receipts:
To make Sego Cream
take two spoonfuls of Sego and boil it in two waters, draingin the water from it; then put to it half a pint of milk, boil it till tis very tender, and the milk wafted; then put to it a little piece of lemmon peal, and two eggs 9the white of but one) sweeten and boil it till it is thick.
To ice cream
Take tin ice pots, fill them with any sort of cream you like, either plain or sweetened, or fruit in it; put your pots very close. To fix pots you must allow eighteen or twenty pound of ice, breaking the ice very small; there will be some great pieces, which lay at the bottom and top; you must have a pail, and lay some straw at the bottom; then lay in your ice, and put in amongst it a pound of bay salt; fet in your pots of cream, and lay ice and salt between every pot, that they may not touch; but the ice must lie round them every side; lay a good deal of ice on the top, cover the pail with straw, put it in a cellar where no sun or light comes, it will be frozen in four hours, but it may take longer; then take it out and just as you lift it, hold it in your hand and flip it out. When you would freeze any sort of fruit, either cherries, rafberries (there is a constant use here of F instead of S throughout recipes, and S instead of F) currants or strawberries, fill your tin-pots with the fruit, but as hollow as you can; Spring water and lemmon juice sweetened; put enough in the pots to make the fruit hang together, and put them in ice as you do cream.
Here is a piece from the London Gazette dated Sept. 17 1688:
After the meat was taken off, there was ferved up a very fine defert, withj many great piramids of dry sweetmeats, between which were placed all finch fruits, iced creams, and fuch other varieties as the season afforded; at dinner there were twelve forts of wine, and all extraordinary good in their kind...
Here are a few good books which cover ices or/and ice houses:
Ices, the definitive Guide by Caroline Liddell & Robin Weir, ISBN 0-340-58335-5.
The Food Chronology, A Food Lover's Compendium of Events & Anecdotes, from Prehistoric to the Present by James Trager, ISBN 0-8050-5247-X
I have others but I'll have to post them later! Gotta go!
- there was ferved up a very fine defert, ...Thanks Patricia Ann2 15:34:24 8/25/98 (1)
- And I was thinking... P. Bingham 17:52:26 8/25/98 (0)
- Thank you Patricia for that very informative summary on ice(s). susan l 22:45:41 8/24/98 (0)
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