In America, a Food for the Masses

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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America transformed this delicacy into a food for the masses. Ice cream making was an awkward, small-batch procedure until 1843, when a Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia patented a freezer consisting of a large bucket for the brine and a sealed cylinder containing the ice-cream mix and a mixing blade, whose shaft protruded from the top and could be cranked continuously. Five years later, William G. Young of Baltimore modified Johnson’s design to make the mix container rotate in the brine for more efficient cooling. The Johnson-Young freezer allowed large quantities of fine-textured ice cream to be made with a simple, steady mechanical action.