You Scream, I Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream
Who doesn’t love the taste of ice cream? I doubt if there is anyone there who’d say that. Really, this is a phenomenon that never fails to amaze me. Kids love it, grown-ups it, and all those in between clamor for more. It’s amazing what this dessert does to our senses. It’s kind of fun just to think about it.
I can’t forget the first time I tasted ice cream when I was a kid. It was an ice cream sandwich and the taste was heavenly. Imagine a two slices of rich cake stuffed with vanilla and strawberry ice creams in between. Take bite, and let the flavor swirl around your tongue and the coolness tickle your throat. Yep, that’s what I always remember. It was a good memory.
That brings us to the topic of ice cream itself. Legend has it that King Charles of England had a lavish party where ice cream was first served. The king and his guest loved it so much that he ordered the French chef who invented it never to reveal the secret, bribing him to keep it that way. Fortunately for us, the secret got out because the chef thought that the recipe is too good to be kept in the castle.
Ice cream is a science and art in itself. It’s amazing to think of how many ways ice cream is prepared, and the different styles of this cold dessert. Around the world, ice cream is enjoyed by many people. And because of the variety and different tastes of the people in different places, it won’t come as a surprise that ice cream evolved into many forms and called by many names.
As a science, ice cream is proof of the harmonious combination of different ingredients. I say harmonious because a slight variation in the composition would ruin an otherwise good dessert. Ice cream is composed of a variety of ingredients that lend it its texture and taste that we all love.
Ice cream is composed mostly of milk fat, milk solids, milk, sugar, and stabilizers such as agar from seaweeds. The reason for the high content of dairy products is because it’s the necessary component in the texture and “chew factor” of ice cream. Sugar is needed since it aids in the right freezing temperature of ice cream and prevents it from melting too fast. It also enhances the flavor of ice cream and the various fruits and ingredients added to it. Agar is a common stabilizer since it helps keep the ice cream’s form while it’s served.
As for the making of ice cream itself, the process is fairly simple. Mix all the ingredients together. You’ll just have to make sure that it’s mixed well so that there would be lesser chances of clumping. In freezing ice cream, it’s important that the mixture is constantly being put in motion, since ice particles would form in the mix. This would destroy the ice cream’s texture. To avoid this, specially designed ice cream makers are manufactured. Through this device, a smooth ice cream can be easily achieved.
Now, we all might wonder why we are so attracted to the taste of ice cream. Frankly, I’ve been wondering about that myself over the past few years. Luckily, research on this topic has yielded some interesting results. Researchers over at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia have revealed that the enzyme amylase, found in our saliva, may have a huge contribution over our perception of texture and taste. That’s because it’s responsible for the breaking down of starch into sugar and other components. It also aids in the digestion of fats and other solids as well.
Since ice cream has been known to have starch in it (in order for it to have a more uniform texture), that could very well explain the preferences of people to ice cream. The researchers also said that the amount of amylase in individuals differs from each other, which could tell us why there are those who like ice cream and there are those who don’t.
Now that we know where some of the sweetness of ice cream comes from, we could now understand why people like this classic dessert, children particularly. So if more research could be done on this enzyme and how it is linked to obesity (obese people usually eat the highest amounts of rich foods like ice cream), then we could unlock the secrets of a healthy living.
As for me, all this talk about ice cream has made me hungry. Maybe I’ll just stop over at my favorite ice cream parlor and treat myself with a nice serving of ice cream sundae. This time, I can appreciate ice cream even more. It’s not hard to forget the science that made this art possible.