The Ice-Cream Makers | Chapter 10 of 24 - Part: 1 of 3

Author: Ernest van der Kwast | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 1155 Views | Add a Review

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The Fraudster Marco Polo and the Invention of the Ice-Cream Cone

My father spent his whole life dreaming of things that don’t exist. In summer, at the ice-cream parlour, he used to fantasise about contraptions that could change the world, or at least make many people’s lives a little easier. In winter, he used to retreat into the basement to work on his ideas among the pillar drills and the sanders. He actually came up with a few inventions: a keyhole attachment that makes it easier to locate the lock’s keyway in the dark; a shoehorn with a long handle so you don’t have to bend down; and an extendable egg cup that doubles as a mug. But there was either no interest or else the inventions were already in the shops.

He was furious when he found out that the giant shoehorn was already available. ‘They’ve stolen my idea.’

‘Who are “they”?’

‘The Chinese!’

The Chinese came in for a lot of blame, at home in Italy but also at the ice-cream parlour in Rotterdam. According to my mother, it was all down to an old Chinese man who had taken a seat outside Venezia one summer’s day. We were still small at the time and would forget just about everything we heard. I certainly don’t remember the argument that is said to have taken place that sunny day.

The man pointed to the text above the red-and-white striped awning: Venezia Ice-Cream Parlour, authentic Italian ice-cream. ‘You do know that ice-cream is a Chinese invention?’ he asked my father.

‘No.’

‘When Marco Polo returned from China in 1296, he brought back ice-cream recipes.’

‘That’s the first I’ve heard of it.’

‘It’s true,’ he said. ‘It’s in all the history books. Study them and you can reach but one conclusion: the Chinese invented ice-cream.’

My father burst out laughing. ‘Ice-cream a Chinese invention?’ he uttered. ‘That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard in years.’

‘It’s true, it really is,’ the man said. ‘Marco Polo spent more than twenty years in China and when he returned he introduced ice-cream to Europe.’

‘Rice,’ my father said. ‘Not ice!’

‘No, no, ice.’

‘Rice and duck,’ my father said. ‘Rice and chicken, rice and turkey.’

‘Peach-flavoured ice-cream, caramel ice-cream, vanilla ice-cream.’

‘We’ve got all those.’

‘Thanks to Marco Polo, thanks to the Chinese.’

‘Did they invent the pizza too?’ my father wanted to know.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Did the Chinese invent the margherita pizza too? Did Marco Polo arrive in Venice with a square box? Was he really a pizza delivery boy?’

‘You’re making fun of me.’

‘You’re making fun of my family, of our tradition. I got up at six o’clock this morning to make ice-cream according to my grandfather’s recipe. He used to harvest snow up in the mountains back in the day.’

‘Marco Polo got there first.’

‘Would you like to order anything?’

‘Do you have raspberry ice-cream?’

Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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