Summer is a great time to relax, travel, take a little time for yourself, and be thankful for the fact that ice cream is no longer made with whale poop.
Gastropod, a podcast that uncovers the science and history behind food, recently released an episode about the origins of ice cream, and yes, it is poop-filled.
Apparently, Italian scholar Giambattista della Porta published the key to ice cream making (lowering the water's freezing point) in 1558. His trick was then used by a fancy English woman named Lady Anne Fanshawe, who wrote what is believed to be the first recipe for ice cream, christening it "icy cream."
The recipe is as follows:
"Take three pints of the best cream, boyle it with Mace, or else prefume it with orange flower water or ambergreece, sweeten the cream, with sugar... let it stand until it is quite cold, then put it into Boxes, either of silken or firm then take ice chopped into small peeces and putt it into a tub and set the Boxes in the ice covering them all over, and let them stand in the ice two hours, and the cream will come to be ice in the Boxes, then turne them out into a [illegible] with some of the same seasoned cream, so serve it up to the table."
Note that in addition to "silken boxes" (which we would like 10 of, posthaste!), the recipe calls for "ambergreece," (or ambergis) which is made by sperm whales. According to Christopher Kemp in his history of ambergris, there's a "a digestive defect" in 1% of sperm whales that causes squid consumed by the whale to make it's way to the whale's bowels, where it causes a blockage in the intestinal tract. Long story short, feces accumulate and become cement-like. The ambergis (poop) then floats to the ocean's surface, where it's discovered by adventurous folks who definitely don't know they're holding poop.
So yes, this was used in the original ice cream recipe. And the podcast showrunners, Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley actually tried the original recipe on the show, and thought the poop was just delightful. "It was like vanilla on drugs," Twilley said.
Or, you know, you could just have regular vanilla ice cream without the whale poop.
h/t Tech Insider
Lucy Meilus is a staff writer for Thrillist and thinks ice cream is just okay. Berate her on Twitter at @Lucymeilus and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.