This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
In New York the daily consumption of ice in the summer months amounts to upwards of 10,000 tons. At the proper hour you may walk down a street and see upon every door-step a lump of ice varying in size from a foot square upwards. In fact, ice is as much an article of necessity with Americans as milk.
To make ice at home, says La Science en Famille, take a cylindrical earthen vessel and pour three and one-third ounces of commercial sulphuric acid and one and three-fourths ounces of water into it, and then add 1 ounce of powdered sulphate of soda. In the centre of this mixture place a smaller vessel containing the water to be frozen; then cover the vessel and, if possible, revolve the whole with a gentle motion. In a few minutes the water in the small vessel will be converted into ice. The same mixture can be used a second or third time for making a block of ice. The operation should, if possible, be performed in a cool place - in a cellar, for example.
At a princely entertainment there were 19 tables arranged about a lofty central crystal fountain 9 feet high and 5 1/2 feet in diameter, from which the water trickled down through trailing plants, amidst which stood aquatic birds of gay plumage. The fountain was surrounded by a gravel path with rock-work. Huge blocks of ice were raised on buffets 7 feet high in various parts of the room; into these were thrown different shades of color, thus giving a striking effect.
A dome of ice hollow and with a light inside makes an attractive window show for a res-staurant or ice-cream house. It is made by setting a round-bottomed copper candy kettle full of water, plain or colored, in a tub of ice and salt freezing mixture. When frozen an inch or two thick, turned out, a hole bored in the bottom with a hot iron, used bottom side up, with a lamp or gas inside.
There is no more tempting way of serving strawberries, on a hot morning, than from a block of clear ice. Chip a well in its centre and drop the berries into it. A cluster of yellow roses, or other flowers, or even ferns alone, will prove appropriate decoration. •