If you haven’t already discovered “historic gastronomist” Sarah Lohman‘s blog – Four Pounds Flour -, I highly recommend it. Her post about the origins of the use of liquid nitrogen in the making of ice cream is great reading for kitchen geeks.
In 1987, a microbiologist in Lexington, KY, got the idea to flash freeze ice cream with liquid nitrogen, a chemical he was familiar with from working in his lab. This was the start of the “ice cream of the future,” Dippin’ Dots, which is frozen by spraying ice cream mix into cyrogenic freezer. You can see a cool video of how it works here.
One would think using liquid nitrogen to freeze ice cream was a modern discovery. But 86 years before Dippin’ Dots, British cookbook author Agnes Marshall, known as the Queen of Ice Cream, proposed the use of “liquid air” to freeze ice cream.