Sep 1, 2023 - News

America's ice cream obsession dates back to George Washington

A black and white photo of the ice house at Mount Vernon

The Ice House at Mt. Vernon, early 1900s. Photo: HUM Images/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Washington's love affair with ice cream goes back to George Washington himself.

Why it matters: George and Martha acquired "a cream machine for ice" at Mount Vernon in 1784, setting a precedent for presidential ice cream socials to come.

Flashback: Ice cream was a status symbol back in Washington's pre-freezer day when making it often required manual labor and an ice house.

  • According to Mount Vernon historians, ice was harvested from the Potomac in winter, cut into large blocks, and packed in straw and sawdust to preserve it. The Washingtons' guests feasted on the luxury as late as July.

The intrigue: If you think savory ice cream is a cheffy new fad, think again.

  • Mount Vernon reps tell Axios, "Washington would have familiar berry flavors we are used to today, but also created more savory treats including parmesan and oyster."
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