Did you know that ice cream can be dated all the way back to the second century B.C.? That might sound unbelievable, but it’s very true. We might not think of ice cream as something ancient, but it is, and it’s also quite famous. Alexander the Great enjoyed it. Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar sent people to retrieve it. Marco Polo returned to France from the Far East with a recipe for what is now sherbet. During the 17th century, Charles I regularly had “Cream Ice”. George Washington spent $200 on ice cream once, and Thomas Jefferson apparently had an 18-step recipe for ice cream. History has proven that everyone wants and love ice cream.
Now, ice cream is sold everywhere and inexpensive. If I wanted, I could go to the nearest gas station or Walmart right now and get any kind of ice cream that I want. It’s that simple. However, this wasn’t always the case. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that ice cream became widely available to the general public. Once it did, ice cream turned into an overnight sensation, still being a popular dessert for everyone. Whether it’s classics like vanilla and chocolate or flavors like mint chocolate and rocky road, everyone loves ice cream.
Today (Saturday) at the Barker Mansion, we are having an event called Winter Ice Cream Social. People that come for the event will learn more about ice cream and it’s history. Also, people participating will have the chance to make their own ice cream and eat it too. It will be highly entertaining. Read more below to learn how the event went and hear from some of the people that stopped by.
For more about the history of ice cream and other interesting facts, visit here: The History of Ice Cream
The Ice Cream Social was a thunderous success. We had a lot of families stop by, try some ice cream, and make their own. People of all ages, an infant to the elderly, came together to make some wholesome ice cream. As people finished their homemade ice cream, I went around and spoke with a handful of them. I wish I had the opportunity to talk with everyone, but we had so many people that there was so many people I, one person, could speak to.
Irregardless, I went around and spoke with some families. One family, Kelly and her son Mason, made another visit to the mansion. They really enjoyed making their own ice cream. Mason found it really cool, though it was tough to keep shaking the bags of ice. A great thing I learned about Mason was that he loves history. So, the Ice Cream Social was a blend of two great things. His mom, Kelly, thought it was the best of both worlds for him. They believed the event was a great idea, always looking for fun ways to learn more and more about history.
Another family that visited for the event consisted of Carol, Rachel, Bella, Katey, and Jenna. Carol and Rachel have visited the mansion many times and they thought the Ice Cream Social was a fantastic idea, especially for the kids. They found it be a great way to show the kids a historical site like the Barker Mansion while also giving them something fun to do. It worked since all three girls, Bella, Katey, and Jenna, had a blast eating and making ice cream. Since everyone was able to explore the first floor of the mansion, the three girls walked around and thought the different rooms were really cool. Katey, who has visited the mansion before, said her favorite room in the entire mansion is Catherine Barker’s room.
Dan, Kathy, Joan, and Emilia all came to visit the mansion. After talking to people, it became a pattern for many that this was the first time they were visiting. A lot of them had wanted to visit in the past, but never had the time. Whether it was just driving past or hearing about an event, many people had made it their plan to visit at some point. Dan and his family were some of those people, though his mother Joan had visited in the past. Once again, they all enjoyed the Ice Cream Social, thinking it was a great learning experience. A big reason for the visit, for Dan, was to learn more about the Barker family and their connection to Michigan City. It’s sometimes easy to forget about the historical roots of a city. For Dan and his family, they were able to learn about the history of their city and enjoy ice cream they made. Emilia outstandingly loved making ice cream and had a lot of fun with it as well.
I also got to talk to Sai and Rohini who brought their daughter Aditi to the event. As everyone else, they liked the event and were really fond of being able to walk around the first floor. They were also able to go outside and see the garden. They thought the mansion was beautiful, inside and out. Sai mentioned how he has driven past the mansion many times and wanted to come for a visit. After doing so today, he loved all the things he saw and all the knowledge of the mansion and its history he absorbed.
The last family I had the pleasure to speak with included grandparents Mel and Pat, their daughter Pam, and Pam’s daughter Jessica. They loved being involved with the actual process of making ice cream. Pam told me repeatedly that she plans to make more homemade ice cream at home with Jessica. This visit to the mansion was a first for everyone. They marveled in its beauty and were astonished by how well preserved the mansion is. As many other first time visitors, all four hope to visit again to take a tour of the mansion and see the entirety of it all.
Overall, our Winter Ice Cream Social was a success. We saw a lot of families come in and have a wonderful time making and eating ice cream. For many, this was a first-time visit, and they truly enjoyed the event and viewings of the different rooms on the first floor. It’s always great to see people coming out to learn a bit of history with their children. In the end, people of all ages were able to learn some history, of ice cream and Michigan City, while snacking on vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream.
P.S. If you’d like to know how to make your own ice cream, feel free to check out the recipe we ued – Ice Cream Recipe Handout