July is National Ice Cream Month!
Pictured is dessert as the author Jane Austen would have known it in 1810. Only the most privileged English families served “ices”—frozen desserts made of fruit, sugar and water or cream. Cooks often pressed these concoctions into fruit- or flower-shaped molds to make frosty, alluring sculptures (as seen above). “For Elegance and Ease and Luxury,” Austen wrote while staying at the manor house of her wealthier brother Edward, “I shall eat Ice & drink French wine”—two exclusive treats that she did without at her own modest home.
Today, variations on the ice cream idea can be found around the world. Italians created gelato, which is similar to ice cream but with less butterfat. A Japanese confection called mochi ice cream is a ball of pounded sticky rice with an ice cream filling. Sorbets, frozen desserts made with sweetened water, have many variations, from Hawaiian shave ice to Indian chuski.
This ice cream sculpture was featured in the past exhibition, Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture.