The recent heat waves have sent Americans running to their freezers to grab a pint of ice cream, but how was this delicacy preserved and dished in George Washington’s time?
In February 1790, George Washington purchased “2 iceries compleat” from the Comte de Moustier, the French minister to the United States for use at the Executive Mansion in New York City. The iceries were essentially fashionable porcelain coolers to preserve this delicate desert in the sweltering summer heat.
The iceries currently on display in Mount Vernon’s Small Dining Room are elegant blue-and-white Chinese export porcelain examples that were once owned by Elizabeth Willing Powel, wife of Samuel Powell, mayor of Philadelphia. Ice would be packed inside the vessel and along the molded lid to cool the saucer of dessert until the Washingtons were ready to have it served.
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