Jul 22, 2008

Animals & Ice Cream

There’s nothing more cute than a puppy or kitten doing something innocent but fun. As a child I remember my little Yorkshire Terrier enjoying the bottom part of my ice cream cone which I would snap off for her as she waited patiently whilst watching me eat most of the ice cream. Maybe it was the cold temperature, but she would never just grab the little ice cream cone all in one go; she would just take a lick then taste it over and over before then gingerly but eagerly taking another. It was so cute! What’s more she loved it too.

Those were the days before video cameras and the Internet so I wondered if with today’s technology I could find other people’s pets with a similar love for ice cream. Sure enough, on YouTube I came across some wonderful clips and compiled my own dedicated page of animals eating ice cream. There you can download clips of dogs, cats, birds, even rabbits, horses and a lizard all eating ice cream!

Unusual animals can be really interesting, especially when they’re young. Here’s a website I found with some great photos of baby animals – from goats, to bears, turtles and lemurs to gorillas and lots more. A great collection of photos for animal lovers to enjoy.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Jun 6, 2008

Ice Cream & Political Passion

My passion for ice cream is strong ... possibly even strong enough to be likened to the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's passion for politics! There, I hasten to add, our similarities end - except for one thing that I discovered only a few days ago.

I was reading Wikipedia's ice cream page and learned to my surprise that Margaret Thatcher had been involved in ice cream making. She was part of a British research team in the 1950's who developed a way of increasing the air content in ice cream for commercial manufacturers. The impact of this was significant in 3 ways:
  • ice cream manufacturers were able to produce the same amount of ice cream but using less ingredients, thereby reducing their production costs.
  • the increased air content made for a softer ice cream which the ice cream eating public took to straight away and began demanding more of.
  • the demand for soft ice cream led to the development of the soft ice cream maker where a single cone at a time can be filled on demand.

    So were it not for the efforts of the 1950's research time and the lady who was to become the first female Prime Minister of Britain, we might never have seen soft serve ice cream chains such as Carvel and many others.

    Before I read about The Baroness Thatcher's ice cream research work I was already aware that the percentage of air in ice cream made by commercial ice cream producers was a serious and indeed a legal issue. I have a section on ice cream ingredients and within that a page about air in ice cream if you would like to read more.

Labels: , , , , ,

Apr 30, 2008

Ice Cream & Class Distinction On The RMS Titanic

One of the interests within my family is maritime history, perhaps not surprisingly as we originate from the British Isles where seafaring is an ingrained in our sense of heritage and culture. There is much within the subject to be interested in dating back centuries, but perhaps the most significant impact ever made by a single maritime event was the tragedy of the British passenger liner RMS Titanic. which sank at 2.20am on 15 April 1912.

The sense of tragedy about the RMS Titanic was not just about the loss of the (then) world's largest and greatest liner or about it having happened on its maiden voyage, but the scale and sense of human loss. Loss in terms of lost lives and also in terms of people's loss of confidence in the future. Up until the tragedy, people of that era had seemed so sure of being in control of their fate, of technology and 'progress'. The tragedy still echoes within the minds of people today, almost 100 years later and as the end of April approaches I felt it somehow appropriate to write this article.

With my strong interest in food and recipes, especially ice cream, I wondered what kind of food was on the menu for that fateful voyage. The wide selection of books we have at home on the subject provided me with some answers. To my surprise, ice cream was on both the first and second class menus for RMS Titanic on 14 April 1912 - the last day the ship ever saw daylight.

The first class menu listed "French Ice Cream" and the second class menu listed "American Ice Cream". Clearly in those days, people felt there was a difference sufficient to be reflected within class distinction. A strange notion today given how massively popular ice cream is and how it seems to transcend all class and cultural barriers.

To see a scan of the second class menu on RMS Titanic for 14 April 1912 (showing "American Ice Cream") go to the website of the National Maritime Museum - here

To see the list of what appeared on the first class menu including "French Ice Cream" go to the Webtitanic site (an Irish tribute) - here

For anyone interested in the difference between the two types of ice cream, "French Ice Cream" is generally regarded as a richer and more complex recipe as it requires a custard base to be made first.

Labels: , ,