Nero, Marco Polo and Nancy Johnson of New Jersey all have a place in ice cream history.
The first two celebrity sweet tooths are reputed to have taken a great fancy to the frozen dessert as far back as the first and 13 th centuries A.D., respectively.
Nancy Johnson delivered ice cream to the masses in 1846 through the invention of the hand-cranked freezer.
Sadly, Johnson was not married to an attorney and a similar freezer was patented by a "Mr. Young" on May 30, 1848. At least he had the courtesy to call it the "Johnson Patent Ice Cream Freezer."
That ice cream maker worked under the same principles as does today’s White Mountain Hand Crank version. A manually turned handle agitated a container filled with a liquid mix resting in a bed of salt. After many, many cranks, the liquid turned into ice cream. And it still does.
While there are degrees of automation with today’s ice cream makers, the basic step eliminated is the hand-cranking. (Your children are very grateful for this.)
Cuisinart’s Automatic Frozen Yogurt, Ice Cream and Sorbet Maker — as well as Rival’s Gel Canister — use pre-frozen canisters in place of child labor. The canister, however, must be placed in the freezer 24 hours in advance for optimal results. (Raw ingredients should also be as cold as possible.) The thinking behind all this cold stuff is the faster the ice cream mix freezes, the smaller the ice crystals and the smoother the texture.
Planning, other than ingredients, is something you won’t need with either Musso’s Lussino 4080 or the DeLonghi Ice Cream Maker. Both machines are highly prized — and high priced — for their compressors. Neither requires a pre-frozen bowl. Just deposit the ice cream liquid mix and flip the switch.
Presto, you’re eating double-gooey, bubble gum/gummy bear ice cream in 30 minutes.
Of course, if you’re a stickler for tradition, the White Mountain Hand Crank will transport your family back to 1872, when this machine was first used. Thomas Sands invented it. He operated the White Mountain Freezer Company in New Hampshire. This traditional ice cream maker can be a bit messy, but it gives children an appreciation for electricity and at least a cursory understanding of the chemistry behind that delicious phenomenon we call ice cream.