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Distributed for Reaktion Books

Ice Cream

A Global History

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.

Click here for a special, limited-time offer for the entire Edible series.  

176 pages | 40 color plates, 20 halftones | 4 3/4 x 7 3/4 | © 2011


Food and Gastronomy

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

David Lebovitz, author of The Perfect Scoop

“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.”

Wall Street Journal

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

“The subject is captivating enough to keep the interest of students of cultural history as well as ice cream fanatics or foodie historians.”

Library Journal

 “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.”

Toronto Star

“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

“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.”

Palm Beach Illustrated

“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.”

In Mama's Kitchen

Table of Contents

Introduction: Everyone Loves Ice Cream

1. The Early Ice Cream Age
2. Confectioners and Colonists
3. Ice Cream for the Masses
4. Ice Cream’s Golden Age
5. Cones and Novel Ice Cream Treats
6. Ice Cream Goes Mass Market
7. The New Ice Cream Age

Select Bibliography
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements

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