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Ice cream should be made with milk or cream, as its base; but often, commercial versions have neither of these in their natural state - the fat element coming from palm oil.
Ice cream in its present form, probably didn"t appear until the 18th century, before that time, ices had been more what we would call sorbets, or water ices. It is thought these were invented by the Chinese before 1000BC, and possibly introduced to Europe by Marco Polo in the 14th century.
"Modern" ice cream - i.e. made on a commercial scale - was popularised in the U.S.A. at the end of the 19th century; this was possible because of the widespread introduction of efficient refrigeration.
The U.S.A. alone, now consumes over 750 million gallons of it a year (that"s about 30 pints per person per year) - mostly low grade products inflated with air, full of additives; treated with emulsifiers (so it will be stiff enough to retain the air); and with stabilisers to prevent the formation of ice crystals.