• Lemon Icebox Cake from Valerie Bertinelli

    by Dorothy Reinhold on December 6, 2017


    Print This Post Print This Post Lemon Icebox Cake: Actress Valerie Bertinelli shares her recipe for this creamy, tangy, lemony comfort dessert with no baking involved. Just layer, refrigerate and voila!

    Lemon curd lovers will rejoice over this easy recipe, because it puts the delicious spread to great use in a homey, old-fashioned, easy icebox “cake.”

    I made it for family Thanksgiving and everyone loved it, inhaled it, and left me with only a tiny bit to satisfy my own lemon cravings. This is a good thing.

    1920s ice box photo from the National Museum of American HistoryWhat’s an icebox?

    But first, what’s an icebox? It’s a chilled box or cupboard for keeping something cold, especially food. So, in the olden days of the 19th and early 20th centuries, before electric refrigerators, people had a cupboard or chest into which they would put a large block of ice, to keep their food cold. FYI, ice was sold by the pound and delivered by an iceman. You would place a number card into one of your front windows at home to indicate how many pounds you wanted on delivery day (usually 25, 50, 75, or 100 pounds). But the ice box had some failings…

    • You couldn’t open the icebox door very often or the ice would melt too fast.
    • Ice boxes were hard to clean, because ice cut from lakes and ponds in the early days of the ice industry often had natural sediment in it, which would be released into the box as it melted.
    • If the smell of any food permeated the wood inside and got into the insulation, the whole thing became worthless.
    • If you kept the wrong products together in an ice box (butter and fish, for example) one would end up smelling like the other.

    Thus, icebox! (And in case you really want to win Jeopardy, the first successful electric household refrigerator debuted in 1915, with a huge growth spurt in the industry in 1920, when producers uniformly began using Freon as a refrigerant and improved the mechanics of it so it was reliable and quiet enough for inside a house.) Continue Reading…

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