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I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for Ice Cream!

July 24, 2015

Here in Texas, we all love to scoop up a nice bowl of ice cream or pile it high on a cone to cool down during the frequently 100°+ summer days. With Blue Bell still on recall for the summer, many of us in Waco and all across Texas have sought out alternatives to the preferred creamery of the South, though finding a replacement is extremely difficult. So just what are you to do when you’ve tried a plethora of frozen confections, yet they all manage to fall short? Make your own ice cream, of course! There are several perks to making your own ice cream: you can control the consistency and the sweetness, you can make any flavor your heart desires, it’s a great summertime science lesson, and it’s just plain fun. Here at the Dr Pepper Museum, we’ve tested out a few methods and recipes to find the best way to make our own homemade ice cream, (which we will be serving up Saturday, July 25th from 1-3PM) and we’d love to share our findings!

Every ice cream mixturIMG_1925e needs a good base. Many homemade ice cream adventurers swear by an egg custard method, which can be messy and time consuming, but does yield a slightly creamier texture. If you’re aiming to impress with your culinary prowess, the egg custard may be right up your alley, but when looking for a fun and tasty treat to make with ease, a Philadelphia style base is simple and delicious. All you need to make about two quarts of ice cream is 6 cups of whole white milk, and 2 14-oz cans of sweetened condensed milk. Whole milk is important! It has the most fat content, around 3.25%, and is homogenized (the fat molecules are evenly distributed, so they don’t separate to the top). As you mix the ice cream, the fat clusters break up and air pockets are created, giving the ice cream its smooth texture. That’s why low- or no-fat ice creams don’t taste nearly as good as the fatty stuff.

As for flavoring, if you have a syrup you’d like to add, such as a soda syrup, vanilla extract, fresh fruit juice, or even a coffee syrup, just add it into the milk and condensed milk base to taste, and stir it together. For a flavor where you don’t have a liquid on hand to pour straight in, there is a solution! Say you wanted to make a buttered popcorn flavor. Just make the base normally, then pour it into a pot on medium heat. While waiting for the base to warm up, pop the bag of popcorn, and mix in the popcorn as it dissolves a little into the base. Stir frequently, and heat the base until there are small bubbles forming, but do not let the mixture boil.

Pour the mixture (with the popcorn still inIMG_1919 it to infuse the flavor even more) into a refrigerator-safe container, let it cool with the lid off, then place it in the fridge for at least 3 hours. This is also important for the texture of the ice cream. If the mixture starts out at room temperature when you put it into the maker, it takes longer to freeze and creates large ice crystals, which disrupt the creaminess. But if the mixture is already chilled it will freeze more quickly in the maker, and produce smaller crystals. When your 3 hours are up, remove the mixture from the fridge, and strain out any of the chunky bits left.

Now, if you have an ice cream maker, pour the strained mix into the canister and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, usually involving ice and salt. But what to do if you don’t have an ice cream maker on hand?

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Take a quart sized zip-top plastic baggie and fill it a little over halfway with the mixture. Place the quart bag into a gallon sized zip-top baggie filled with ice and rock salt and get to shakin’! Shake it for 15-30 minutes or until it starts to thicken up. If the bag is too cold to hold with bare hands, try wearing gloves, or rig up a contraption with tupperware containers that will allow you to roll it around on the floor.

After you have sufficiently mixed up your ice cream, place it in back in the cleaned refrigerator safe container, and place it in the freezer for another 3 hours, or until frozen to the desired consistency. So why salt with the ice? It’s actually for the same reason you put salt on ice when it snows. It lowers the freezing temperature of the ice, so that it won’t freeze as quickly. The ice cream only needs to be a little under 32°F to freeze, but if it reaches that point too quickly, or goes too far below, the consistency and texture won’t be quite what you want in the perfect ice cream.

After reading this novel, it’s time to take a break and make your own sweet treat, or come out to the museum and get a sample for yourself! Here’s a condensed version of the recipe that might be a little easier to follow:

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 9.27.10 AM

 

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The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. During the spring and summer, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. During the fall and winter, the museum is closed on Mondays; other days remain the same.  For more information, visit us on the web at
drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

 

Celebrating the Ice Cream Soda

June 18, 2015

Soda Fountain logo 2Coming up on Saturday, June 20 is a uniquely American holiday – National Ice Cream Soda Day!  Because this sweet treat has its roots in the soda fountain just like Dr Pepper, we’ll be celebrating it around here this weekend.

Your first question probably is what is an ice cream soda exactly?  It is soda water, syrup, and a scoop of ice cream.  Sounds delicious, doesn’t it?  Will Rogers called them “the finest thing that you have ever tasted in all your life.”

top view of a chocolate ice cream soda

It developed out of a uniquely American institution, the soda fountain.  Harper’s Weekly November 21, 1891 issue declared, “Soda water is an American drink.  It is as essentially American as porter, Rhine wine, and claret are distinctly English, German, and French.  The millionaire may drink champagne while the poor man drinks beer, but they both drink soda water.”  By 1895 there were more than 50,000 soda fountains in the United States and virtually every one of them was serving ice cream soda.  With more than sixty syrup flavors available, there was a taste to satisfy every taste bud.

Before the 1890s, the ice cream soda was made with sweet cream instead of ice cream.  Today this type of soda would be kin to the Italian cream soda, a French Soda or cremosa. Three people claim to have invented the ice cream soda.

Up first as a possible inventor is Fred Sanders. He substituted ice cream for sweet cream on a hot day in Detroit when the sweet cream kept turning sour due to the heat.  He romanticized the story this way.  A newlywed couple came in looking for a refreshing treat.  Due to the heat, the sweet cream was sour, so Sanders substituted ice cream in their order.  They returned several times always asking for the same thing.  Eventually they brought friends and asked for the same sweet concoction.  Word spread around Detroit about the ice cream soda. The good citizens of Detroit then spread the word of the new ice cream treat around the country.

Next up is Philip Mohr who lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey.  He had several clients who commuted to New York City for work.  One of those commuters who was a regular complained that the soda water just wasn’t cold enough.  Mohr decided one day to try ice cream in his sarsaparilla soda and liked it.  His employees liked it.  He offered it to his customer.  He loved it and brought friends to try it.  Mohr then began advertising his new ice cream soda with a sign outside and got more even more interest in it.  Mohr credited its popularity to his high quality ice cream.

Another potential inventor is Robert McCay Green, Sr from Philadelphia.  He is most often cited as the inventor and had some documentation of this new treat’s development.  He was a food vendor at the fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1874.  He served sweet cream sodas until he ran out of sweet cream.  He quickly bought ice cream and planned to let it melt, but demand forced him to add the ice cream to the soda water.  A lesser known version of his story that might actually be a bit more plausible says he sold soda fountains and heard about centennial.  He arranged for a space to display a new elaborate soda fountain, but had to use an older simpler one when his supplier withdrew.  A competitor had a showier piece and Green had to be convinced to stay in the exhibition by the committee and friends several times.  He hit upon the idea of combining soda water and ice cream to create something new and showy.  He used vanilla ice cream and 16 different flavors.  Business only totaled $8 the first day.  He offered them free to a few people the following day.  He also offered uncirculated money as change.  Receipts went to $200 per day before the event closed.

side view of chocolate ice cream sodaDespite its popularity with hot thirsty patrons, the ice cream soda was not well-received by soda fountain managers.  It took longer to make. It required more equipment in order to keep the ice cream frozen.  Its ingredients cost more, so it was more costly to make.  Plus patrons that ordered it stayed longer, taking up precious space at the soda fountain.  The goal of soda fountains at this time was to get people in and out, but if they ordered an ice cream soda they were more likely to linger, savoring each and every drop of cold creamy ice cream.  Some fountain managers went as far as refusing to serve them unless there were empty seats in the fountain.

But people still asked for this popular treat in droves.  The flavors were almost endless – anise, apple, apricot, banana, birch beer, blackberry, blood orange, Catawba, celery, champagne cider, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, cognac, concord grape, coriander, crabapple, cranberry, cream soda, crushed violets, currant, egg chocolate, egg phosphate, ginger, ginger ale, gooseberry, grape, green gage, grenadine, horehound, java, lemon lime, maple, mead, mint julep, mocha, mulberry, nutmeg, orange, orris root, peach, peach almond, peach cider, pear cider, peppermint, pineapple, pistachio, plum, quince, raspberry, raspberry cider, raspberry vinegar, root beer, rose, sarsaparilla, strawberry, Valencia orange, vanilla, walnut cream, wild cherry, and wintergreen.  Which one would have been your favorite?

These days, there are still many delicious variations of the original ice cream soda, including root beer floats, Boston coolers, and pink cows. To celebrate National Ice Cream Soda Day, all you need is soda, a few scoops of ice cream, and a straw!  Even better come in and have one made for you at the Dr Pepper Museum soda fountain.

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The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. During the spring and summer, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. During the fall and winter, the museum is closed on Mondays; other days remain the same.  For more information, visit us on the web at
drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

The Bubbly Penafiel

June 2, 2015

photograph of a Penafiel signToday, we are going to take a slight excursion from looking at our normal topics of soda and Dr Pepper related items and venture to look at a sparkling water created south of the border.  Peñafiel is Mexico’s top sparkling water and is now owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group but not too long ago, this popular drink was only available in Mexico.

Peñafiel got its start in humble origins.  It was created by the Peñafiel family in Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico in 1948 and first bottled in San Nicholas, Tetitzintla.  In little over a decade, Peñafiel had expanded into Mexico at large.

Peñafiel was acquired by Cadbury Schweppes in 1992.  While under Cadbury Schweppes, the brand grew with an increased line of products and innovative packaging.  Peñafiel Twist, fruit-flavored mineral water that contains 75% fewer calories than traditional soft drinks, was introduced in 2003 with Peñafiel Naturel, a drink with no artificial sweeteners that still offers around 75% fewer calories than traditional soft drinks, following the next year.

photograph of a Manzana Penafiel canToday, Peñafiel is part of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and the product line holds a variety of choices.  From sparkling water to limeade, there are a variety of flavor choices depending on what you are searching for.  Some, like the sparkling water, limeade and Twist, are more classified under the water category while products, like Fresa and Mandarina, are seen to be more in line with traditional soft drinks.  Through the product line expansion, Peñafiel has really grown from its humble origins to become become known internationally  .  Although a large portion of sales of Peñafiel come from Mexico, Dr Pepper Snapple Group is dedicated to furthering the product line and expanding the consumer base for this unique product.photograph of a Penafiel bottle

photograph of a Penafiel bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. During the spring and summer, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. During the fall and winter, the museum is closed on Mondays; other days remain the same.  For more information, visit us on the web at drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

Collections Spotlight

April 2, 2015

An interesting donation came in a few weeks ago that we wanted to share with you.  Collections Associate Margaret has got the scoop for you!

In the throes of World War II, young men were called to serve their country overseas leaving many companies with gaps in their workforce. Women were asked to rise to the occasion and take on the jobs traditionally performed by men, be it clerical to industrial labor. The then Dr Pepper Company was not immune to the loss of hands for production. In an effort to continue delivery and the manufacturing process, Dr Pepper hired on the wives, siblings and other female industrialists to temporarily and in some cases permanently, work in the bottling facilities. These women were nicknamed the Pepperettes. This month’s collection spotlight features photographs of a handful of the Pepperettes of the Fort Worth, Texas bottling facility in 1944. Also shown are the managers of the Fort Worth bottling plant Rollie and J. B. Dorris relations of Henry B. Dorris who founded the Fort Worth bottling facility in 1928 after working for over twenty years for the Waco based Dr Pepper Company.

Jayee, Gene, Loraine, Louise, Helen, and Helen

Jayee, Gene, Loraine, Louise, Helen, and Helen

Featured in all of the photographs is Helen Taylor, who at eighteen years joined the Pepperettes on the Dr Pepper bottling line during the war. Her experience inside the company was monitoring the conveyor belts of Dr Pepper bottles and packing for the trucks. Helen Taylor’s daughter, Betty Brett remembers her mother remarking about being allowed to pull a Dr Pepper bottle straight off the line whenever she felt thirsty.

photograph of Pepperettes Lou, ?, Violet, and Helen

Lou and Gene front row
Violet and Helen back row

Balancing family life with the new environment of a career, women like Taylor worked the same eight hour days as their male counterpoints. They even may have worn the same uniforms refitted for the female form or were issued new tailored route salesman suits. Either way, the surprising swiftness in which women were incorporated into the work force speaks volumes to the efficiency and aptitude of companies such as Dr Pepper in coping with war time employment and production.

photograph of the Ft. Worth team in the radio studio

The Ft. Worth team ready for their super-duper question. Left to right: Helen Taylor, John Hawes, Violet Owens, and Charles Richardson.

Many of the News and Views as well as the Clock Dial publications from 1942-1945 illuminate the role women played in the operation of the bottling machinery in articles titled “Womanpower”. Even during the misery of the war however, Pepperettes and other Dr Pepper employees found time to relax. In an article titled “Dallas and Ft. Worth Fight Air Battle” in the April 1945 issue of News and Views, Helen Taylor was a featured contestant on the quiz radio show “The Quiz of Two Cities” sponsored by Listerine toothpaste. Helen was the first round contestant for the Fort Worth bottling team followed by fellow Pepperette Violet Owens in the third round versus the Dallas Dr Pepper bottling team in a four round challenge of general knowledge questions. In each round, one contestant from each team answered three questions worth both points and money. If the contestant answered the question correctly, the money went into their own pocket. If the contestant’s response was incorrect, the money went into a jackpot for a team oriented bonus round called the “super-duper question”. After a nail-biting tie, the Dallas team went on to win the jackpot prize of sixty-three dollars. After the war, Pepperettes continued to work on in various capacities at Dr Pepper bottling facilities, however, the nickname would not reappear until the early 1980s as a reference to a band of “I’m a Pepper” commercial dancers.

photograph of Happy Pepperettes - Violet, Helen, Georgia, and Gene

Happy Pepperettes – Violet, Helen, Georgia, and Gene

Photograph of Pepperettes - Violet, Helen, and Gene

Violet, Helen, and Gene

photograph of J. B. Dorris standing in front of stacks of crates with filled Dr Pepper bottles

J. B. Dorris

photograph of Rollie Dorris outside the Ft. Worth bottling plant

Rollie Dorris

Photograph of Rollie Dorris, Dr Pepper plant manager, 1944, Ft. Worth

Rollie Dorris, Dr Pepper plant manager, 1944, Ft. Worth

article about the Ft. Worth Pepperette team

Ft. Worth Pepperette team article

photograph of 1940s Ft. Worth Dr Pepper bottle showing the bottom label

1940s Ft. Worth Dr Pepper bottle

photograph of 1940s Ft. Worth Dr Pepper bottle

1940s Ft. Worth Dr Pepper bottle

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The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. During the spring and summer, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. During the fall and winter, the museum is closed on Mondays; other days remain the same.  For more information, visit us on the web at drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

The Venerated Vernors Ginger Soda

March 30, 2015

green, yellow, and white Vernor's Ginger Soda logoCheck out what Collections Associate Rachael discovered about Vernors Ginger Soda this month.

Vernors Ginger Soda, formerly Vernor’s Ginger Ale, is a “deliciously different” soft drink found mainly in the Midwest.  Invented in Michigan at some point between 1866 and 1880, it has been touted as having a cult following of primarily Michiganders and Midwesterners.  The drink is not like other ginger ales on the market, lending to its slogan of “deliciously different”.  It has an intense ginger flavor, more closely associated with a ginger beer than ginger ale, and is extremely effervescent.  In fact, the carbonation is so powerful, that it has been known to lead to coughing fits if it is breathed in.  Regardless of this side effect, people still love it and continue to drink it.

label on a Vernors Ginger Ale bottle that says gingery Vernors, deliciously different!Growing up in Michigan, I am quite familiar with Vernors and the following it has.  Everyone is familiar with old wives tales and remedies and, of course, many are regional.  During the early days of the soda fountain, soda was considered to have health benefits, although today we do not usually think of soda this way.  In Michigan, Vernors was no exception to this and was considered to have many health benefits.  Today, Vernors is still considered to be a cure-all, the best medicine for anything from a stomach ache to a hangover, not to mention just an overall tasty pop.  So how did this drink become so popular?  To examine this, we will briefly look at the history of Vernors.

Vernors can that says original Vernors, it's differentVernors was invented by James Vernor in Detroit, Michigan.  The story of how Vernors was invented has a few different variations, however.  Undoubtedly the most popular story is that James Vernor was experimenting with flavors while at his job at Higby and Stearn’s Drugstore before he left to fight in the Civil War as part of the 4th Michigan Calvary in 1861.  When he returned in 1866, he discovered that the elixir he had left to age in a barrel during his time in the war had aged to perfection.  He subsequently opened his own pharmacy and Vernor’s Ginger Ale began to be produced.  This is most likely the romanticized version of the story.  It is more accepted that Vernor, always thinking of different soda concoctions, developed the idea for Vernor’s Ginger Ale while he was fighting in the Civil War and brought the idea to fruition after he returned and opened his own pharmacy.  This idea is supported by the original patent for Vernor’s, which states the creation date as 1880, and the fact that a barrel of ginger ale would most likely not have remained untouched at his employers’ business for four years.  Regardless, whether the date of its creation was 1866 or 1880, it remains America’s oldest surviving soft drink.

James Vernor was known to have high standards not only in his pharmacy but also in the making of his soft drinks.  He used only the finest ingredients – distilling fine Jamaican ginger in the proper proportion to other fruit juices.  The water was purified with a special purification system and even the carbonic gas was produced by Vernor so that every step of the way all of his ingredients would meet his high requirements.  This special attention surely helped the drink sky rocket to one of Detroit’s favorites and lead to the business needing to be expanded.  The business continued to grow and eventually opened up franchises as it became popular throughout the Midwest.

Vernor's Ginger Ale sign from the 1950sJames Vernor was not just a pharmacist but a politician and was held in high esteem by much of the community.  It is with his work ethic, that Vernor’s was woven into the very fabric of Detroit and became an extremely popular drink among Michiganders.  Although the company had some setbacks, and has changed hands multiple times, it is still an extremely popular drink in Michigan and elsewhere.  In the late 1950s, the company underwent a major change.  Until this point the company had been private, but due to financial reasons, the decision was made to take the company public.  It was at this point that the apostrophe was dropped from the company’s name.  At a later point in time, the drink name was changed from Vernors Ginger Ale to Vernors Ginger Soda.  After changing hands many times, Vernors was eventually purchased by Cadbury Schweppes in 1993 and was later incorporated into Dr Pepper Snapple Group when it spun off from Cadbury Schweppes in 2008.  This move allowed Vernors to expand further from the Midwest and is now available in 33 states.  Although it is available in many states, Michigan still accounts for most of its sales.

Vernors Ginger Soda cookbook featuring a baked ham recipe and an apple jello recipe that both use VernorsAlthough not wildly popular in the United States as a whole like Dr Pepper or Coca-Cola, many Midwesterners have fond memories of the drink.  Whether it was a recipe that their parents used when they were sick or their memories of the trademark Vernors gnome, Woody, Midwesterners, especially Michiganders, almost all have a memory of this pop.  Aretha Franklin uses Vernors to glaze her holiday ham.  Many Michiganders who have retired in Florida still enjoy their Vernors, making it another large market for the drink.  My father can still remember the first time he had Vernors when he was around eight.  His older sister convinced him to try it, it tingled and made him cough but he loved it, and it has been his favorite pop ever since.  Vernors is even featured in the television show “Parks and Rec”, set in Indiana, where it can be seen everywhere from pop machines to the actors enjoying cans of it.  Much as Dr Pepper is enjoyed in Texas as a Texas original, Vernors is enjoyed in the Midwest as a Michigan original and one could say that is has been woven in the culture of that state and region in many ways.

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The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco. During the spring and summer, the Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15. During the fall and winter, the museum is closed on Mondays; other days remain the same.  For more information, visit us on the web at drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

Love is in the air!

March 9, 2015

Valentines_Logo2Some of you may be aware that we have a variety of spaces that are available for renting here at the Museum.  Over the years, we have hosted a variety of Christmas parties for local businesses, birthday parties in the soda fountain, and even proms for local high schools.  Recently we have noticed that love seems to be in the air!  Rehearsal dinners, receptions, and even a wedding or two!

rehearsal dinner tables

rehearsal dinner tables

 

rehearsal dinner dessert tables

“Sam did a great job in helping me with all of my questions and making sure everything went smoothly.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a unique location to hold an event.” – Michelle Robins

 

wedding portrait by Dr Pepper truck at the Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

Wedding portrait outside Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

photograph of rental gallery at the Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

dance floor at wedding reception at the Dr Pepper Museum

Photograph by Ashley Munn

Dr Pepper cupcakes

 

Dr Pepper bottle as wedding favor

photograph by Ashley Munn

Dr Pepper bottle as wedding favor

photograph by Ashley Munn

For more ideas on developing your own Dr Pepper themed wedding, visit us on Pinterest.

So if February saw something shiny and sparkly land on your finger, book the Dr Pepper Museum for your special day.  Learn more here.  Facilities Manager Sam Torres is ready and waiting to assist you!

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The Dr Pepper Museum is located at 300 S. 5th Street in downtown Waco.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM and Sunday from Noon until 5:00 PM, last ticket sold at 4:15.  For more information, visit us on the web at drpeppermuseum.com. To purchase your own
Dr Pepper memorabilia, visit the Museum’s online gift shop.

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