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Cook's Country

In the Library with Toni Tipton-Martin: The Birth of Philadelphia-Style Ice Cream

In this video, Toni Tipton-Martin explains who deserves credit for modern ice cream.
By Published Feb. 15, 2023

Augustus Jackson is often called the “father of ice cream.” This black entrepreneur was a chef at the White House before moving on to open his own confectionary shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. There he sold quarts of eggless ice cream for $1 a piece to other black-owned parlors in the city. He eventually went on to become one of the wealthiest residents of the time in the city. This eggless style of ice cream became known as “Philadelphia-style ice cream.” 

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There is some debate over who actually was the first to start making an eggless-style ice cream. Many people credit former first lady Dolley Madison, who was known for serving ice cream at the White House, with creating this style. But in his book, The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas, Adrian Miller makes a strong case that Jackson rather than Madison deserves the credit for the creamy treat.

Cook's Country's Editor in Chief, Toni Tipton-Martin, gives a more detailed story in the video below. 

And check out our recipe for eggless no-churn vanilla ice cream that pulls learnings from the work of Jackson.