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Ice Cream: A Global History
     

Ice Cream: A Global History

by Laura B. Weiss
 

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Be it soft-serve, gelato, frozen custard, Indian kulfi or Israeli glida, some form of cold, sweet ice cream treat can found throughout the world in restaurants and home freezers. Though ice cream was once considered a food for the elite, it has evolved into one of the most successful mass-market products ever developed.

In Ice Cream, food writer Laura 

Overview

Be it soft-serve, gelato, frozen custard, Indian kulfi or Israeli glida, some form of cold, sweet ice cream treat can found throughout the world in restaurants and home freezers. Though ice cream was once considered a food for the elite, it has evolved into one of the most successful mass-market products ever developed.

In Ice Cream, food writer Laura B. Weiss takes the reader on a vibrant trip through the history of ice cream from ancient China to modern-day Tokyo in order to tell the lively story of how this delicious indulgence became a global sensation. Weiss tells of donkeys wooed with ice cream cones, Good Humor-loving World War II-era German diplomats, and sundaes with names such as “Over the Top” and “George Washington.” Her account is populated with Chinese emperors, English kings, former slaves, women inventors, shrewd entrepreneurs, Italian immigrant hokey-pokey ice cream vendors, and gourmand American First Ladies. Today American brands dominate the world ice cream market, but vibrant dessert cultures like Italy’s continue to thrive, and new ones, like Japan’s, flourish through unique variations.

Weiss connects this much-loved food with its place in history, making this a book sure to be enjoyed by all who are beckoned by the siren song of the ice cream truck.

Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal

“In Ice Cream: A Global History, food writer Laura B. Weiss tells the ­fascinating story of a popular, mass-produced frozen treat that began life thousands of years ago as the dessert of kings. Ice, hauled down from the mountains and stored in ice houses, formed the base of sweetened ­‘sherbets’ for ancient Persian rulers.”
Food Network Magazine

Ice Cream: A Global History . . . look[s] back at ice cream’s enduring appeal to people around the globe—from George Washington''s ice cream cravings to today''s upwardly mobile Chinese—and celebrates the enormous popularity of a beloved treat that never goes out of style. It’s a MUST read this summer . . . with ice-cream in-hand of course! :)”—Food Network Magazine.com

Boston Globe

“In Ice Cream: A Global History, the author traces the cold treat’s long journey from an Italian delicacy for the privileged in the 17th century to a mainstream staple whose popularity boomed in America in the mid-1900s. Weiss, a food and travel journalist who attended Simmons College, chose the subject despite having an ice cream allergy for much of her childhood. ‘Sometimes you are attracted to the things you were denied as a child,’ she says. ‘The day the doctor told me I could finally eat ice cream was a red letter day for me. My mother gave me a spoonful of vanilla, which I can taste to this day.’”—Boston Globe

Dessert Professional

“In her fascinating new book, Ice Cream: A Global History, author Laura B. Weiss takes us on a journey from ice cream’s beginnings in ancient China to its present day evolution into an artisanal offering. Nestled throughout the book are fun factoids. . . . Weiss even discovers that there is one thing the Arabs and Israelis agree on: their love for ice cream.”—Dessert Professional

Toronto Star

 “We are quite taken with the short but engagingly readable Edibles series of handsome little books on basic, well, edibles, as in the cultural and global history of one type of food or beverage. Originating in England from Reaktion Books but written by foodie journalists or food science academics on both sides of the Atlantic, these spritely, much-illustrated books are a peruser’s delight.”

on the Edible series - Winterthur Portfolio

“A fun, smartly written series appropriate for a popular audience that likes to eat . . . the Edible series books provide level-headed and enjoyable overviews of food culture . . . These will create a little library that any foodie will be proud to show off . . . aesthetically pleasing volumes with decent content that would make good presents.”

Palm Beach Illustrated

“Laura Weiss paints a compelling portrait of everyone s favorite dessert. She traces the transition of ice cream from a luxury reserved for the wealthy to an everyday treat accessible to the masses, while never allowing history to obscure a sense of pure pleasure.”

In Mama's Kitchen

“An informative and lighthearted book about ice cream of all varieties. The book is slender to the hand, but packed with history, facts, and stories.”

David Lebovitz

Ice Cream: A Global History is the place to turn if you want to know the backstory of everyone’s favorite frozen treat!”

Food Network Magazine.com

Ice Cream: A Global History . . . look[s] back at ice cream’s enduring appeal to people around the globe—from George Washington's ice cream cravings to today's upwardly mobile Chinese—and celebrates the enormous popularity of a beloved treat that never goes out of style. It’s a MUST read this summer . . . with ice-cream in-hand of course! :)”

Virginia Willis

“The book is perfect read for professional chefs, informed foodies, and culinary historians — as well as curious ice cream lovers. Laura deftly tells the sweet story of one of the world’s favorite foods.”—Virginia Willis Culinary Productions

Winterthur Portfolio

“A fun, smartly written series appropriate for a popular audience that likes to eat . . . the Edible series books provide level-headed and enjoyable overviews of food culture . . . These will create a little library that any foodie will be proud to show off . . . aesthetically pleasing volumes with decent content that would make good presents.”—Winterthur Portfolio, on the Edible series

Library Journal
In her first book, Weiss, who has contributed to such publications as The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, focuses predominantly on Asia, Europe, and America to trace the history of ice cream from its earliest incarnation as a frozen milk-like dessert during the Tang Dynasty (618–907 C.E.) to the myriad treats enjoyed today. Readers learn that along with advances in refrigeration technology, Prohibition also boosted the popularity of ice cream—when people could no longer socialize at bars many went to soda fountains. A chapter surveying ice cream eating habits in various countries reveals some unusual products, such as thick, chewy Turkish dondurma, made using flour milled from wild orchids. Each book in the series, which introduced seven new titles in 2010, features recipes (almost 30 in Weiss's contribution) reprinted from historical and modern sources as well as references, a bibliography, and illustrations (60 here, with 40 in color). VERDICT This academic treatment lacks elegance, but the subject is captivating enough to keep the interest of students of cultural history as well as ice cream fanatics or foodie historians.—Rosemarie Lewis, Georgetown Cty. Libs., SC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781861897923
Publisher:
Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date:
04/01/2011
Series:
Reaktion Books - Edible Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
1,340,403
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Laura Weiss is a professor of journalism at New York University and a freelance author, specializing in food, travel, and lifestyle. Her writings have appeared in the New York Times, New York Daily News, Travel + Leisure, Edible Brooklyn, and on Foodnetwork.com. She blogs about food and society for the Huffington Post and is editor of  foodandthings.com. She was a reporter for Congressional Quarterly, a writer for Time’s school edition, and a director at AOL.

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