May 12, 1777 — If you love ice cream, you might be wondering when and where that first luscious scoop was dropped into a bowl.
Boston claims that honor, based on their founding of Steve Herrell’s eponymous ice cream shop in Somerville, Mass.
But New Yorkers counter that theirs was the home of the first ice cream shop in the United States when on this day confectioner Phillip Lenzi placed an advertisement promoting his Manhattan ice cream store in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury.
Lenzi had recently arrived from London with recipes for jams and jellies, pastries, and sugar plums — and of course the culinary luxury of the day, ice cream.
Made long before the advent of refrigeration the ice creams were made with fine mixtures of cream, salt and sugar, which required no small amount of effort to create. Lenzi offered his catering services “for reasonable rates” and his products at “modest profit.” He stated in his ad, “May be had almost every day, Ice Cream.”
Words of Wisdom
On June 13, 1789, Alexander Hamilton's wife Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, served ice cream for dessert to George Washington at a dinner party. Ice cream was a new and upcoming delicacy in the United states.
After this initial introduction to the desert, it was often served at presidential dinners. George Washington was very fond of ice cream and in the summer of 1790 it was reported that he spent over $200 dollars on the desert. Washington's false teeth and sensitive gums may have caused his hunger for the soft desert, but regardless of the reason, ice cream made its way into the heart of America.