The Massive Amount Of Money George Washington Spent On Ice Cream

The world takes ice cream for granted these days with it conveniently found at supermarkets, gourmet creameries, and made in at-home electric ice cream machines. But think about America in the mid-1700s; a fledgling group of colonies with little in the way of culinary frivolity, much less something as delicate as frozen cream with sugar. Ice cream was destined to become part of the American story when President George Washington took a shine to the sweet new treat that was introduced to America by the French, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

An early mention of ice cream in 1744 gave an inkling of the coming trend, followed by the product's first advertisement in the New York Gazette in 1777, explains the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). This was just a year after America declared its independence from the British Empire and 12 years before Founding Father and statesman George Washington took his oath of office as president. But his affinity for ice cream never waned as he brought it to his home at Mount Vernon in Virginia at a surprisingly high cost.

Why George Washington spent so much money on ice cream

As early as May 1784, records show a purchase by Washington of a "Cream Machine for Ice," notes the Journal of the American Revolution. A subsequent accounting in 1790 by a New York business merchant revealed that he spent $200 on ice cream that summer, which equates to almost $6,300 in today's currency, per the Official Data Foundation. While serving his nearly eight year term as president, Washington bought a notable amount of ice-cream-making paraphernalia, including an ice cream spoon, two ice cream molds, two "iceries compleat," 12 ice plates, and 36 ice pots.

Washington and his wife, Martha, incorporated ice cream into official entertaining, and it was indulgent. Only wealthy people would have ice cream, and Mount Vernon Research Historian Mary V. Thompson explained why it was so expensive. A person would need to own at least one cow that was not used for profit, afford imported sugar and salt, and have plenty of free time to make the luxury dessert (per the Journal of the American Revolution). But even more intimidating was procuring the needed ice, notes the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which had to be cut on a river in freezing winter temperatures, moved to an ice house, and layered in sawdust or straw for year-round underground storage.

Yes, George Washington spent a lot of money on ice cream. However, today's ice cream aficionados are likely to laud his persistence and investment in what Yahoo Food now calls America's favorite dessert.