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Did Thomas Jefferson Really Bring Ice Cream to America?

Did Thomas Jefferson Really Bring Ice Cream to America?

Jefferson’s love of ice cream was of historic proportions

Jefferson was in office from 1801 to 1809.

Thomas Jefferson accomplished a lot in his lifetime. Drafter of the Declaration of Independence, President of the United States, builder of Monticello, legendary gourmand, and lover of ice cream. Jefferson’s passion for all things ice cream is well-known, but did he really bring it to America?

First, let’s back up a little. Back in Jefferson’s day, ice wasn’t the easiest thing to come by on a warm day, and the labor-intensive process of making ice cream by hand meant that ice cream was considered a luxury item. Jefferson first encountered ice cream during his time in France from 1784 to 1789, well before the first printed ice cream recipe appeared in an American cookbook, in 1792. When Jefferson took office in 1801, ice cream was still a little-known luxury in the United States, but Jefferson was so enamored by it that he is indeed widely credited with popularizing it in the United States.

Jefferson brought ice cream recipes as well as an ice cream freezer back with him from France, and when he was in office, Jefferson served ice cream to his guests at least six times, according to Monticello.org. Occasionally he even served it inside a pastry crust. During this time, if a food was served at the White House, it immediately became newsworthy. By the time Jefferson left office, ice cream had found its way into more cookbooks, and had become decidedly more popular.

Jefferson’s obsession with ice cream did indeed help to popularize it in the United States. But ice cream wasn’t the only other food he brought back from France with him; other foods and drinks he’s credited with popularizing in the States include macaroni and cheese, French fries, Parmesan cheese, and even Champagne.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

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Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.


Stop Thanking Thomas Jefferson for Inventing Ice Cream

Today, ice cream is as commonplace as water in the United States. But imagine a time—the early 1700s—when Americans scarcely knew what ice cream was. Thanks in part to Thomas Jefferson, however, we have been enjoying the creamy frozen treat since the late 18th century.

Despite rumors to the contrary, Jefferson did not invent ice cream, and he wasn&apost even the first American to bring it stateside. But he did enjoy it immensely when he was the minister plenipotentiary in Paris from 1784 to 1789, and he helped make it mainstream in the US by serving it at the President&aposs House on at least six occasions, according to records.

"He is one of several folks who are instrumental in popularizing ice cream," says food historian Michael Twitty. "It&aposs not that no one had ever had ice cream in America before, it&aposs just that he had the influence to popularize it on a different level."

How do we know Jefferson loved ice cream so much? For starters, he had several ice molds shipped back with his stuff from France, and the tools were also listed in the inventory of his kitchens at Monticello and the President&aposs House in 1809.

He also left a recipe—now found in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress—which happens to be the first recorded ice cream recipe in America. Written in his meticulous script, the recipe calls for six egg yolks, a half-pound of sugar, two bottles of good cream, and one vanilla bean to be combined, boiled, and then placed in a sabottiere, the inner canister that was placed in a bucket of ice and salt and then turned periodically𠅎ssentially, an ice cream maker.

But how likely is it that Jefferson actually created the recipe, even though he&aposs definitely the one that wrote it down? Turns out, not very. Some think it may have come from Adrien Petit, Jefferson&aposs French butler. And Twitty is certain Jefferson&aposs slave and then emancipated chef James Hemings (brother to Sally, Jefferson&aposs slave and purported mother to several of the President&aposs bastard children) had a lot to do with it. Jefferson brought James to France with him for the express purpose of getting him trained in French cooking, according to Lucia Stanton&aposs Free Some Day: The African-American Families of Monticello.

"James got a world-class culinary education in France and he learned from the same people who are cooking for the last monarchy in France," says Twitty. "And he is literate. He learned French while he was there, he&aposs writing down things that he masters in a way that Jefferson never did—in French."

So it&aposs likely that James learned how to make ice cream in France and then made it for Jefferson and his wife Martha, both in France and upon their return, and at the President&aposs House, where he cooked for one summer after he was emancipated.

Twitty points out that, more often than not, Jefferson gets more credit than he deserves with regard to food.

"Actually, all he was doing was sharing culinary fashions he had learned in his travels, and James was an essential part of that process when he came back," says Twitty. "This is an opportunity to talk about Thomas Jefferson as a great gourmet, which he was, but it&aposs also the opportunity to talk about the African-American cooks who were integral in transforming the American diet."

Today, you can indulge in ice cream made from the recipe ascribed to Jefferson at an appropriately presidential place: Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary since its completion. Lloyd Shelton, food and beverage manager of Xanterra Parks & Resorts, who heads the concessions at the national memorial, decided to serve it after discovering a sign from the 1950s created by the original concessionaire at the park.

"It read, &aposThomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America,&apos" recalls Shelton. "This is one of those fun facts—or myths, as it turns out—that was exciting for us because we are always looking for ways to assist the National Park Service in fulfilling their interpretive mission."

After doing some research, Shelton created a poster and then cards with the original recipe and an explanation of its connection with Jefferson. They were so popular with guests that he eventually decided to recreate the recipe to sell at the memorial.

He reached out to several local dairy farms to make an ice cream that was as close to the written recipe as possible. Pride Dairy, a family-run company in Bottineau, North Dakota, accepted the challenge.

"The ice cream is the same as they would&aposve eaten in the 1780s, with the exception that the milk is pasteurized," says Shelton, adding that the recipe has also been adjusted to account for making it in bulk. Pride Dairy even sources its vanilla beans from Madagascar, the most likely place that the Jefferson household would&aposve gotten them from at the time.

Since they began serving it three years ago, Pride Dairy has produced more than 10,000 gallons for the Memorial Ice Cream Shop at Mt. Rushmore and the shop estimates they&aposve sold more than 100,000 ice cream cones.

"The Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream really provides the visitor with the ability to taste history," says Shelton.

And even if that history is contested, the ice cream still tastes just as sweet.

ORIGINAL REPORTING ON EVERYTHING THAT MATTERS IN YOUR INBOX.

By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.