History of Ice Cream Cones

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Author Linda StradleyHistory of Ice Cream Cones by Linda Stradley of What's Cooking America.

 

ice cream cone
For a detailed history of the following individual types of ice cream, click on the underlined:
Baked Alaska - Ice Cream and Ices - Ice Cream Sundae

 


There is much controversy over who invented the first ice cream cone. From my research, I feel that the first cones were not invented in the United States. Both paper and metal cones were used in France, England, and Germany before the 19th century. Travelers to Düsseldorf, Germany reported eating ice cream out of edible cones in the late 1800s.

Before the invention of the cone, ice cream was either licked out of a small glass (a penny lick, penny cone, penny sucker, or licking glasses) or taken away wrapped in paper which was called a "hokey pokey." The customer would lick the ice cream off the dish and return the dish to the vender, who washed it and filled it for the next customer. As you can guess, sanitation was a problem. An even bigger problem was that the ice cream vender couldn't wash the dishes fast enough to keep up with demand on a hot day.

Ice cream in a cup also became known as a "toot," which many have been derived from the Italian word "tutti" or "all," as customers were urged to "Eat it all." They were also known as "wafers," "oublies," "plaisirs," "gaufres," "cialde," "cornets," and "cornucopias."
 



Wafers, Cornucopias and Cornets

1700s - During the 1770s, ice cream was referred to as "iced puddings" or "ice cream puddings." The cones used were referred to as wafers. During this period, wafers were considered as "stomach settlers" and were served at the end to the meal to calm digestion. They eventually became luxurious treats and were an important element of the dessert course. When rolled into "funnels" or "cornucopias," they could be filled with all sort of fruit pastes, creams, and iced puddings.


1770 -
From the article, Wafer Making, by Ivan Day at the web site of Historic Food:

Wafer cones are first mentioned in Bernard Claremont's  The Professed Cook (London: 1769) and in Mary Smith's The Complete Housekeeper & Cook (Newcastle: 1770) . . . The earliest English record of this usage is in Charles Elmé Francatelli's The Modern Cook (London: 1846), in which he recommends cornets filled with ice cream as garnishes for a number of ice cream puddings.


1807
- In The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages, by William Harlan Hale and the Editors of Horizon Magazine shows a colored engraving, titled Frascati, that was published in 1807 with the caption:

The ladies caricatured in 1827, were members of the new fashionable set that gathered every day in Parisian cafes to gossip over ices and Mocha . . . Frascati's near the Opera was one of the most popular of dozens of cafes that sprang up in  post-Revolutionary Paris. People gathered there to eat ice cream, sip liqueurs, gamble, and flirt . . .

Cafe Frascati was originally opened in 1789. It was a restaurant and gambling house that was also famous for serving ice cream suppers. The restaurant had a reputation that any lady could be seen dining there without any scandal or stain on her character. Cake Frascati was closed down after a law against gambling appear in 1847. Robert J. Weir and his wife Caroline Liddell, noted historians on the history of ice cream and the ice cream cone, were able to purchase the 1807 colored engraving, titled Frascati, in 2003.


1820 - In the cookbook by William Alexis Jarrin called The Italian Confectioner, Jarrin describes himself on the title page as an "ornamental confectioner," attributes recent advances in the confectioner's art in England to two factors: "the aid of modern chemistry and the French Revolution, which led many leading chefs and confectioners to seek refuge and employment in England." Jarrin talks about the wafers used for ice cream. In his book he sometimes used the Italian version of William, Guglielmo, thus he is also referred to as G.A. Jarrin.

An article by Jeri Quinzio, The Ice Cream Cone Conundrum in the Radcliffe Culinary Times states:

But when did they start putting ice cream into these estravagant cones? G. A. Jarrin, an Italian confectioner working in London in the nineteenth century, wrote that his almond wafers should be rolled  "on pieces of wood like hollow pillars, or give them any other form you may prefer. These wafters may be made of pistachios, covered with currants and powdered with coarse sifted sugar; they are used to garnish creams; when in season, a strawberry may be put into each end, but it must be a fine" . . . He suggested turning another of his wafers into "little horns; they are excellent to ornament a cream."


1888
- A cookbook called Mrs A. B. Marshall’s Cookery Book, written by Agnes B. Marshall (1855-1905) of England who ran a school of cookery contained a recipe for "Cornet with Cream."

"The cornets were made with almonds and baked in the oven, not pressed between irons." She also added:  "These cornets can also be filled with any cream or water ice or set custard or fruits, and served for a dinner, luncheon, or supper dish."


1894
- Charles Ranhofer (1836-1899), chef at the famous Delmonico's restaurant in New York published his cookbook called The Epicurean: A complete treatise of analytical and practical studies on the Culinary Art in 1894. This cookbook has been considered one of the most important books in modern cooking. It contained culinary information and a fascinating look at elite restaurant cooking from the Civil War to the turn of the 19th century. The cookbook contained a recipe for "Rolled Waffle-Cornets" filled with flavored whipped cream. Since nearly everything that Ranhofer served was widely imitated, it is certain that several upscale restaurants probably sold elegant waffle cornets filled with whipped cream.

 



Italian Immigrants in London

1850s - The first true ice cream cone, used exclusively for ice cream only, appears to have been the invention of the Italian immigrants living in the Manchester, England area during the inter-war period in the middle 1800s. The food trade, and in particular ice cream, provided a living for many Italian families. These immigrants were grossly exploited labor, often lodged in poor conditions and paid little. They progressed from pushing barrows to acquiring horse-drawn vans to sell their ices.

The term "Hokey Pokey"  presumably evolved from the Italian cry that the Italian vendors hawked their cheap ice cream, although what this originally was is not known. There have been several suggestions: a corruption of "Ecce, Ecce" (Look, Look); a derivation of "Hocus Pocus;" a corruption of "Ecco un poco" (Italian for Here’s a little),  the Italian "Oche poco" (Oh how little) - the last one being a reference to price, rather than the quantity, which gives it the most plausibility. At the end of the 1800's there were around 900 Hokey Pokey men in London's Little Italy. By 1884, people were calling the cheap ice cream and the street vendors "Hokey Pokey" men. Italian immigrants had spread throughout Europe and the Unites States vending their ices and ice creams. The term "Hokey Pokey" was also used in the United States.

Carlo Gatti (1817-1878), came to London from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, may well have been the first person to sell ice cream. He came to London in 1847 and sold refreshments from a stall. He sold pastries and ices in little shells. "The Penny Ice," also know as "halfpenny ices," caught on rapidly and Gatti was at the forefront of selling ice cream to the ordinary man or woman, who had previously been unable to afford a taste of such luxury. He was so successful that he and others encouraged many more Italians to immigrate to London to help sell.

For his ice cream business, he had to import ice in huge quantities from Norway. Gatti built huge ice house pits near Kings Cross in the 1850’s, where he stored the ice he shipped to England from Norway by sailing ship and then canal barge. He built two underground ice wells to store the ice. Each well was a huge cylinder about 10 metres in diameter and 13 metres deep and could hold up to 750 tons of ice.

"Halfpenny Ices" from the 1877 book called Victorian London by J. Thompson and Adolphe Smith:

Italian ice-men constitute a distinct feature of London life, which, howeer, is generally ignored by the public at large, so far as its intimate details are concerned. We note in various quarters the ice-barrow surrounded by groups of eager and greedy children, but fail to realize what a vast and elaborate organization is necessary to prove this delicacy in all parts of London. . . .

In little villainous-looking and dirty shops an enormous business is transacted in the sale of milk for the manufacture of halfpenny ices. This trade commences at about four in the morning. The men in varied and extraordinary   déshabille pour into the streets, throng the milk-shops, drag their barrows out, and begin to mix and freeze the ices. Carlo Gatti has an ice depot close at hand, which opens at four in the morning, and here a motley crowd congregates with baskets, pieces of cloth, flannel, and various other contrivances for carrying away their daily supply of ice. Gradually the freezing process is terminated, and then the men, after dressing themselves in a comparatively-speaking decent manner, start off, one by one, to their respective destinations. It is a veritable exodus. . . .

. . . The real ice, however, for which there is a universal demand, is that known under the generic term of cream ice. But milk is indispensable to its manufacture, and indeed eggs should also be used. This necessity altogether destroys the golden dreams suggested by the water ices, and great are the efforts made to sell the latter, or at least to mix a goodly proportion with the expensive cream delicacy. Nevertheless, the profits on selling cream ices must amount to nearly a hundred per cent, so that after all the Italians are not so much to be pitied because their customers display inconsiderate pertinacity in their demand for that form of ice which is not only the most agreeable to the palate, but the most wholesome and nutritious. . . .

English writer and journalist, Henry Mayhew (1812–1887), was asked by the London newspaper, Morning Chronicle, to be the metropolitan correspondent for its series "Labour and the Poor" in 1849.  He began writing and editing a vast survey of the working class and poor of the city of London. He published his works first in 82 serial installments in the form of letters to the Chronicle, and in 1851 in volume form as London Labour and the London Poor. His interviews with workers and with street folk convey a vivid sense of the lives of London's poor. His method of quoting his interviewees at length and apparently in their own words produced an evocative survey of the London underclasses and one of the first pieces of documentary journalism. He interviewed street sellers of ices and ice cream. Some of the comments are below:

The sale of ice-creams was unknown in the streets until last summer, and was first introduced, as a matter of speculation, by a man who was acquainted with the confectionary business, and who purchased his ices of a confectioner in Holborn . . . There were many difficulties attending the introduction of ices into street-traffic. The buyers had but a confused notion how the ice was to be swallowed. The trade, therefore, spread only very gradually, but some of the more enterprising sellers purchased stale ices from the confectioners. So little, however, were the street-people skilled in the trade, that a confectioner told me they sometimes offered ice to their customers in the streets, and could supply only water! . . 

From a street-dealer I received the following account: -
"Yes, sir, I mind very well the first time as I ever sold ices. I don't think they'll ever take greatly in the streets, but there's no saying. Lord! how I've seen the people splntter when they've tasted them for the first time. I did as much myself. They get among the teeth and make you feel as if you tooth-ached all over. I sold mostly strawberry ices. I haven't an idee how they're made, but it's a most wonderful thing in summer -freezing fruits in that way. One young Irish fellow -I think from his look and cap he was a printer's or stationer's boy -he bought an ice of me, and when he had scraped it all together with the spoon, he made a pull at it as if he was a drinking beer. In course it was all among his teeth in less than no time, and he stood like a stattey for a instant, and then he roared out, -`Jasus! I'm kilt. The could shivers is on to me!' But I said, `O, you're all right, you are;' and he says, `What d'you mane, you horrid horn,* by selling such stuff as that. An' you must have the money first, bad scran to the likes o' you!'

Roland Antonelli of Manchester, England gave me the following facts on his family’s history making and selling ice cream cones and wafers in the early 1900s:

During the same time period that Antonio Valvona was manufacturing ice cream cones (see 1902 below), Domenico Antonelli with his wife Cristina and six children were manufacturing street Barrel Piano's, and at a separate site, a wholesale and retail Italian food and wine business. In response to Antonio Valvona's competition, Domenico also started to manufacture ice cream cones and wafers in Manchester, trading as The International Wafer Co. Our success was rapid, and in 1916 the Barrel Piano Factory was closed and all efforts were directed into the ice cream cone and wafer bakery.

In 1924, a new factory, called Antonelli Bros. Ltd,  was built the focused on making cookie biscuits, thus moving away from making ice cream biscuits. In 1961, my two brothers and I left to set up a new smaller bakery, back to specializing in biscuits for the Ice Cream Trade. Two years later, The International Biscuit Company was sold and my fathers generation retired. The company still manufactures under the direction of my two sons, Mark and David.

 



Ice Cream Cone Patents

Now the question is - Who invented the first commercial ice cream cone?
 

Up until recently, historians seem to think that Italo Marchiony's patent in 1903 was the inventor  (see 1903 - Italo Marchiony below).

Recently Steve Church of Ridgecrest, California discovered a long forgotten patent for an Apparatus for Baking Biscuit Cups for Ice Cream by Antonio Valvona of Manchester, England. This patent, by Antonoio Valvona, clearly shows that the ice cream cone had been around prior to Italo Marchiony's patent.


1902 - Antonio Valvona of Manchester, England received Patent No. 701,776 on June 3, 1902 for an "Apparatus for Baking Biscuit Cups for Ice Cream." The patent says:

"By the use of the apparatus of this invention I make cups or dishes of any preferred design from dough or paste in a fluid state this is preferably composed of the same materials as are employed in the manufacture of biscuits, and when baked the said cups or dishes may be filled with ice-cream, which can then be sold by the venders of ice-cream in public thoroughfares or other places."

Antonio Valvona (A.Valvona & Co. Ltd) was firstly an ice cream manufacturer and in 1901 was listed at Glasshouse Street, Ancoats Manchester. In 1907, he moved his biscuit operation to The Bridgewater Mill, Rodney Street, Ancoats. In 1919, the families Colaluca and Rocca opened a factory in Mill Street, Ancoats later trading as the Colroc Biscuit Co. Ltd. Colroc closed in the late 1950's, and Valvona having sold to new owners moved to Oldham north Manchester but closed in the late 1970's.


1903 - On September 20, 1903, Italo Marchiony (1868-1954), an Italian immigrant living in New York, NY, filed a patent application for a "molding apparatus for forming ice-cream cups and the like." U.S. Patent No. 746,971 was issued to him on December 15, 1903. His patent drawings show a mold for shaping small cups, complete with tiny handles - not a cone. His invention in his patent application is described as:

"This invention relates to molding apparatus, and particularly such molding apparatus as is used in the manufacture of ice-cream cups and the like."

Marchiony always insisted that he had been making cones since 1896 where he sold his homemade ice cream (lemon ice) from a pushcart (hokey-pokey) on Wall Street in New York. He originally used liquor glasses to serve his ice cream in. To reduce his overhead, caused by customers breaking or wandering off with his serving glasses, he baked edible waffle. While the waffles were still warm, he folded them into the shape of a cup (with sloping sides and a flat bottom). His waffle cups made him the most popular vendor on Wall Street and soon afterward, he had a chain of 45 carts operated by men he hired.

When cones became popular after the 1904 St. Louis Fair, Marchiony tried to protect his patent through legal channels but failed. Since Marchiony's patent was for only the specific mold construction and there were lots of other ways to mold cones, his patent was not much good. Marchiony's ice cream and wafer company thrived at in Hoboken, New Jersey until his plant was destroyed by fire in 1934. He retired from his business in 1938. It wasn't until Marchhiony's obituary was printed in the New York Times on October 29, 1954, that this story was made public.
 

Ice Cream Cone Rolling Machine Patents:

1912 - According to some historians, cones were rolled by hand until 1912, when Frederick Bruckman, an inventor from Portland, Oregon, patented a machine for doing the rolling. In 1928, Nabisco bought out Bruckman's company and rights. Presently, I can find no patent record for this.

1923 - The first patent for an Ice Cream Cone Rolling Machine is dated back to January 2, 1923 (U.S. patent No. 1,440,851) and its inventor is the Armenian Harry G. Tatosian of Bridgeport Connecticut who filed the application on February 11, 1921. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/1440851.pdf

1924 - U.S. patent No. 1,481,813 for a Cone Rolling Machine was issued to its inventor, Carl R. Taylor of Cleveland, Ohio on January 29, 1924. He described it as a "machine for forming thin, freshly baked wafers while still hot into cone shaped containers" for ice-cream. Multiple dies were designed on a turntable, such that when formed, the cone had time to cool and harden before rotating into position for release. The whole machine was to be set up beside a batter baking machine which provides the supply of the hot, flat wafers. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/1481813.pdf

 



1904 St. Louis World's Fair

In 1904, St. Louis, Missouri recognized the importance of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty to the history of the United States by inviting the country and the world to participate in the "greatest of expositions," the St. Louis World's Fair (also known as the St. Louis' Exposition and the Louisiana Purchase Exposition). The celebration also honored explorers Lewis and Clark and their epic journey into the unknown American west in 1804, which both began and ended in St. Louis.

During the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, there were approximately 50 ice cream stands at the Fair and a large number of waffle shops. It is generally accepted that the 1904 Fair was the place where the ice cream cone became popular and where the great ice cream cone controversy began:


There are several versions to this story:


Ernest Hamwi - The first version, and said to be the official version by the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers (IAICM), credits pastry maker, Ernest Hamwi, with coming to the aid of Arnold Fomachou, a teenage ice cream vendor, by rolling the ice cream in crisp wafers that he called a Zalabia (a wafer-thin, waffle-like confection sprinkled with sugar). According to the article, Zalabia and the First Ice-Cream Cone, written by Jack Marlowe:

Nor, it turns out, do zalabia hail from the Arabian Gulf: They are historically Levantine, popular in Syria, Lebanon and parts of Iraq and Turkey. For that matter, they're not made in a waffle iron—they're too flat; they most resemble Italian pizzelle, including in the grid pattern that marks their surface. (North African zalabia is a very different dessert: It consists of looping, pretzel-like strands of deep-fried batter, smothered in honey or syrup and often tinted a garish orange.)

After the fair, Hamwi sold his waffle oven to J. P. Heckle and helped him develop and open the Cornucopia Waffle Company. Hamwi traveled for the company introducing the cornucopia. According to his account, they served approximately 5,000 free ice cream cones at the Augusta, Georgia, Fair to introduce the product to the public. In 1910, Hamwi opened the Missouri Cone Company.

Hamwi was interviewed by The Ice Cream Trade Journal in the May 1928 issue, and he was quoted as saying that he was located next to an ice cream booth at the 1904 exhibition. Ice cream concessionaires all over the fair grounds began to purchase his waffles, calling them cornucopias.  Hamwi was so intrigued with the idea and the World's Fair Cornucopia was born. Hamwi's story and claim is based on this interview



Nick Kabbaz
- It is also claimed by the family of Nick Kabbaz, an Syrian immigrant, that he and his brother, Albert, were the originators of the cone. The Kabbaz brothers may have worked for Ernest Hamwi in his booth at the Fair and came up with the idea of folding cakes to insert ice cream in and also the idea of making them in the cone shape. Kabbaz was later president of the St. Louis Ice Cream Cone Company.



Abe Doumar
- Abe Doumar (1881-1947) also claimed to have invented the ice cream cone in a very similar way at the Fair. The story is that sixteen-year-old Abe, an recently arrived Syria immigrant, was met at the dock by a recruiter. He was given unique items to vend at the St. Louis Fair (paperweights filled with water purportedly from the River Jordan). In Arab robes, he set up shop in one of  the streets of Jerusalem section of the St. Louis Fair. One evening while talking to one of the waffle concessionaires, he suggested that he could turn his penny waffle into a 10-cent cone if he added ice cream. He then bought a waffle and rolled it into a cone, to which he added ice cream from a neighboring stall. In one fell scoop, he invented what he called "a kind of Syrian ice cream sandwich."  Doumar stated that he shared the idea freely among the vendors (it was in this way the notion spread from stand to stand). He immediately began selling them nightly, after 6 p.m., where the concessionaires gathered in the entertainment area of the fair.

When the Fair closed, Abe was given one of the waffle irons to take home. In North Bergen, N.J., Abe worked out a cone oven (a four-iron machine) and had a foundry make it. He brought his parents and three brothers to America to help him sell these cones. He then set up business at Coney Island, New Jersey, with three partners in 1905. The first of his many ice cream cone stands at Coney Island.

His nephew, Albert, later wrote a family history called The Saga of the Ice Cream Cone. Albert Doumar provided papers, photos and parts of the original cone machine for the Smithsonian Institution, and they have noted that though many claim credit, there is no doubt the machine is the real deal. Doumar keeps a red album of family/business photos and clippings. In the front is a worn paper signed by Peggy Cass, Gary Moore, Alan Alda, and Kitty Carlisle, panelists on a popular TV show from 1972. The paper is the text that Doumar read on the air when he was a guest on the show, on Sept. 26 of that year. It reads in part:

“I, Albert Doumar, come from a royal family in the world of ice cream. We Doumars proudly claim the title of creator of the ice-cream cone. While there are others who claim that they were first, there is little doubt that that great American treat actually began back in 1904 at the St. Louis Exposition when my relative, Abe Doumar, had the brilliant idea of rolling a waffle into a scoop and filling it with ice cream. He then created a special cone-making machine which could be used inside or outside. The Doumar ice-cream cones were sold from temporary stands at resorts or fairs and at the most elegant soda fountains. … Signed: Albert Doumar.” The show was “To Tell the Truth .”



David Avayou
- A Turkish native, David Avayou, who had owned several ice cream shops in Atlantic City, New Jersey, claimed that he started selling edible cones at the St. Louis Fair. He claimed that he had first seen cones in France, where ice cream was eaten from paper or metal cones, and had applied the idea in edible form at the Fair. Avayou later recalled,
"I spent three weeks and used hundreds of pounds of flour and eggs before I got it right, but finally I found the right combination."  After the Fair, he went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he set up a concession in a department store.



Charles Menches
- According to another story, Charles Robert Menches and his brother Frank of St. Louis, Missouri, ran ice cream concessions at fairs and events across the Midwest. The family of the brothers claim they came up with the ice cream cone at the 1904 World's Fair when a lady friend, who for daintier eating, took one layer of a baked waffle and rolled it into a cone around the ice cream. They had the idea to wrap a warm waffle around a fid (a cone-shaped splicing tool for tent ropes). The waffle cooled and held it's shape to provide an edible handle for eating ice cream.

After the fair, Charles and his brother started a business called the Premium Ice Cream Cone and Candy Company in Akron, Ohio. The brothers are also credited with the invention of candy-coated peanuts and popcorn that was sold under the name "Gee Whiz," today known as Cracker Jacks. They are sold are credited with the first hamburger.

At the close of the 1904 St. Louis Fair, the popularity of this of eating ice cream in a "cone" had industries racing to produce molds and machines to be used for baking ice cream cones. Demand for cones quickly outstripped the hand-rolled waffle makers.

 



SOURCES:

Ancoats My Inheritance, Italian Heritage Association.

Case 4: The Baker and Confectioner's Art, Exhibition curator: Katie Sambrook,  ISS: Information Services and Systems, University of London.

Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla: A History of American Ice Cream, by Ann Cooper Funderburg, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1995.

Industries, Ice Cream & Barrrel Organs and The Ice Cream Families, Memories of the Italian Colony of Ancoats and The Ice Cream Families, by Anthony RLA

Enduring Popularity, Italo Marchiony (1868-1954), Hoboken, New Jersery Inventors Hall of Fame, Special Citations.

Harvest of the Cold Months - The Social Hisotry of Ice and Ices, by Elizabeth David, Viking - The Penguin Group, 1995.

Ice Cream Cone Conundram, by Jeri Quinzio, Radcliffe Culinary Times, Vol. X, No. 1, Spring 2000, Radcliffe Culinary Friends of the Schesinger Library, the Rradcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Ice Cream History and Folklore, University of Guelph, Dairy Science & Technology.

History of the Menches Brothers, Menches Bros. 1885.

Ices, Plain and Fancy,The Book of Ices, by A. B. Marshall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976 reprint of 1885 edition.

Carlo Gatti, London Canal Museum.

Mrs. A.B. Marshall, London Canal Museum.

Steve Church, Ridgecrest, California.

The Great American Ice Cream Book, by Paul Dickson, published by Galahad Books, 1972.

The Horizon Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating and Drinking through the Ages, by William Harlan hale and the Editors of Horizon Magazine, American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc., Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1968. - pgs 252 TO 255.

The Ice Screamer, Issue #103, August 2004.

<The Mysterious Origins of the Ice Cream Cone by Joe Tobias American Dairy Science Association Historian.

The Ocean View Nickle Tour - Part VII, by Albert Doumar.

Victorian London - Publications - Social Investigation/Journalism - London Labour and the London Poor; 1851, 1861-2; Henry Mayhew, The Victorian Dictionary, compiled by Lee Jackson.

Wafer Making, by Ivan Day, Historic Food

Zalabia and the First Ice-Cream Cone, by Jack Marlowe, Saudia Aranco World.

 

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