Home  |  Reviews  |  Vlogs  |  Interviews  |  Guest Posts  |  Fairy Tales  |  Jane Austen  |  Memes  |  Policies

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Guest Post & GIVEAWAY: How Jane Austen Kept her Cool: An A to Z History of Georgian Ice Cream

All this month, Maria Grace has joined us to share excerpts of A Proper Introduction to Dragons, as well as joining us for this year's Janeite Conversations, , but today, she's going to cool us off with a Regency summer treat! And to keep those #summervibes going strong, she’s back to offer up a giveaway for you!
Click through to find out more and to enter to win!

...In the meantime, for elegance and ease and luxury, the Hattons and Milles’ dine here today, and I shall eat ice and drink French wine, and be above vulgar economy. -Jane Austen to Cassandra, Godmersham, June 20, 1808

We know Jane Austen ate ice cream. What might her favorite flavors have been? Pride and Pistachios? Sense and Strawberry Cream? Whatever it was, we can be fairly certain it wasn't vanilla-- read more to find out why!

Take a romp through period recipes, personalities and polite society and get a taste for the ice cream Jane Austen would have eaten!

Georgian Ice Cream and Ices
After making its way on to the culinary scene, ice creams and sorbets exploded in popularity during the Georgian era. We know that Jane Austen, and many others in her day ate ice cream. But how much do we really know about the ice cream that Jane Austen ate? Take this quiz and test your Georgian Ice Cream IQ.

Ice Cream IQ

What flavor of ice cream would have most likely been Jane Austen’s favorite?
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Rose-water
  • Saffron
Ice cream cones were invented in the early 1900’s
  • True
  • False
Which of the following is the MOST important ingredient for making ice cream?
  • Salt
  • Cream
  • Sugar
Jane Austen might have used a hand crank ice cream machine to make ice cream.
  • True
  • False
Jane Austen was likely to have bought ice cream from street peddlers.
  • True
  • False
Ice cream was sometimes molded into the shape of meat, like a pig’s head.
  • True
  • False
Ice cream and ices were always served at the end of the meal with the sweet course.
  • True
  • False
Which ice cream based treat was Jane Austen most likely to have eaten?
  • Fried Ice Cream
  • An Ice Cream Bombe
  • Baked Alaska

When was ice cream considered ‘in season’?
  • summer
  • winter
It usually took several hours to freeze ice cream in Jane Austen’s day
  • True
  • False

How did you do? Answers at the end of this post.

The First Ice Cream in England
The first known recipe for true (dairy-based) ice cream was found (unpublished) in the diary of Lady Anne Fanshawe, an English memoirist. The recipe was written around 1665 under the name icy cream. (Kraft, 2014)

You might notice some interesting ingredients for flavoring including orange blossom water, mace, and ambergris, (a waxy substance produced in the gut of whales.) Honestly, between you and me, I can’t imagine what it must have tasted like.

Here’s her recipe, with original spellings:
To make Icy Cream
Take three pints of the best cream, boyle it with a blade of Mace, or else perfume it with orang flower water or Amber-Greece, sweeten the Cream, with sugar let it stand till it is quite cold, then put it into Boxes, ether of Silver or tinn then take, Ice chopped into small peeces and putt it into a tub and set the Boxes in the Ice covering them all over, and let them stand in the Ice two hours, and the Cream Will come to be Ice in the Boxes, then turne them out into a salvar with some of the same Seasoned Cream, so sarve it up at the Table
Ice cream’s first appearance on a menu was in 1671 where documents show it was served at the kings table for King Charles II feast for the Knights of the Garter held in St. George's Hall at Windsor Castle.

Freezing Ice Cream Before Refrigeration

In the early days of ice cream making, confectioners were uncertain about freezing techniques, worrying about how much ice they needed, the how much salt to mix with the ice, and—perhaps most significantly—how keep the salt out of the ice cream. Beyond all that, they were concerned about storage and drainage, problems endemic to the days before refrigeration. Flavor, on the whole, seemed less important than freezing. (Quinzio, 2002)

Early recipe books focused a great deal of attention to the freezing process. Eale’s 1718 treatise is typical, suggesting you take any sort of cream you like, then detailing how to freeze it.

To Ice Cream.
Take Tin Ice-Pots, fill them with any Sort of Cream you like, either plain or sweeten’d, or Fruit in it; shut your Pots very close; to six 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; set 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 on every Side; lay a good deal of Ice on the Top, cover the Pail with Straw, set it in a Cellar where no Sun or Light comes, it will be froze in four Hours, but it may stand longer; than take it out just as you use it; hold it in your Hand and it will slip out. When you wou’d freeze any Sort of Fruit, either Cherries, Rasberries, Currants, or Strawberries, fill your Tin-Pots with the Fruit, but as hollow as you can; put to them Lemmonade, made with Spring-Water and Lemmon-Juice sweeten’d; put enough in the Pots to make the Fruit hang together, and put them in Ice as you do Cream.
Following her instructions produces a solid lump of iced cream, rather unlike anything we would eat today—or possibly be interested in eating given the lack of attention to flavor.

By the 1770’s improved directions—separate form recipes for actual ice cream flavors—suggested stirring the mixture as it froze to maintain a pleasing texture.

Early Ice Cream Flavors

By the late seventeen hundreds into the early eighteen hundreds, the freezing process was well enough established to really focus on flavors. A perusal of cookbooks from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century suggests that fruit flavors were probably among the most popular of ice creams. Hannah Glasse (1747) offered a typical recipe (and one that later appeared in a number of other cookbooks thanks to lack of copyright protections, but that’s another story…)

To make Ice-Cream.
PARE and stone twelve ripe apricots, and scald them, beat them fine in a mortar, add to them six ounces of double-refined sugar, and a pint of scalding cream, and work it through a sieve; put it in a tin with a close cover, and set it in a tub of ice broken small, with four handfuls of salt mixed among the ice. When you see your cream grows thick round the edges of your tin, stir it well, and put it in again till it is quite thick; when the cream is all froze up, take it out of the tin, and put it into the mould you intend to turn it out of; put on the lid, and have another tub of salt and ice ready as before; put the mould in the middle, and lay the ice under and over it; let it stand four hours, and never turn it out till the moment you want it, then dip the mould in cold spring-water, and turn it into a plate. You may do any sort of fruit the same way. (Glasse, 1747)
In theory any cream or custard recipe could become an ice cream, which offered any number of wild sounding options which sound more modern than Georgian. Cookbooks included recipes for: avocado, eggplant, lavender, crumbled macaroons, caramel, ginger, lemon, tea, anise seed, chervil, tarragon, celery, parsley, cucumber, asparagus and parmesan cheese! These were the sorts of flavor that Jane Austen and her compatriots would have been most likely to have enjoyed.
But wait there’s more! Check out How Jane Austen Kept her Cool: An A to Z History of Georgian Ice Cream for more ways to enjoy ice cream in Jane Austen’s day.

Ice Cream IQ Answers: 1.c 2.b. 3.a 4.b 5.b 6.a 7.b 8.a 9.a 10.b

To find out more about these answers, read How Jane Austen Kept her Cool: An A to Z History of Georgian Ice Cream

**** GIVEAWAY ****
Maria Grace has offered up an ebook of How Jane Austen Kept her Cool: An A to Z History of Georgian Ice Cream to one lucky Austen in August reader! To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter below. And make sure to leave some comment love for Maria!
Anyone caught trying to “game” the system will have their entries invalidated, and will be barred from future giveaways. Void where prohibited.
PLEASE do not leave sensitive information, home addresses, or email addresses in the comments. These comments will be deleted and entries invalidated.
All Austen in August giveaways are open until September 7th at 11:59 Eastern.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event
Click here to return to the master list of Austen in August posts!


  1. That was fun. I did alright. I gotta say though some of those flavors sound pretty gnarly. Asparagus? Blech.

  2. I"m with you, I can't figure out what asparagus ice cream is supposed to taste like. Everything I imagine isn't pleasant!

  3. I love Maria's resarch and the details about ice cream history! Some of the info is really surprising like the flavors, especially the salty ones. Actually, like gazpacho, some of them might be a refreshing dish on a hot summer day, not as a dessert, of course. Thanks!

  4. Fascinating post. I had never given any thought about the type of ice cream that they had during this time period and what Jane might have eaten. It's interesting to discover what it would have been like. I don't know about some of those flavors, I just can't imagine enjoying eating them.

  5. Oh wow! I did so-so at the quiz, but loved getting the historical trivia.

  6. I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved the historical information.

  7. One finds an ice so much more delicate, refined, and refreshing than some all-too-heavy iced cream!

  8. I didn't know the history of ice-cream making so this was new to me. Thank you for highlighting this research, Maria.


Tell me all your thoughts.
Let's be best friends.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...