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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The ice cream country

The United States became the ice cream country. By 1919 it was making 100 million gallons annually. 

Steamer ships started installing freezer compartments so that ice cream could be shipped to India, Japan, and China, despite the often-cited erroneous claim that Asians didn’t eat dairy products. 

During Prohibition, from 1920 to 1933, with no bars at which to gather, soda fountains became the place for many people to meet. Their popularity tapered off when Prohibition ended. 

Freezers were still too large and expensive for retail stores. This did not change until the 1930s, when Clarence Birdseye and General Foods started installing smaller, cheaper freezing units with display windows in stores in their effort to promote frozen food. 

The final stage of allowing consumers to buy ice cream and keep it at home did not begin until after World War II, when refrigerators started to be built with working freezers. In Europe, few people had refrigerators in their homes until much later, not even in France. 

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a French monk, Marcel Audiffren, invented the world’s first electric-powered household refrigerator. But he sold the idea to General Electric, and so refrigerators became American.
Source: Milk! by Mark Kurlansky

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