How Margaret Thatcher Helped Invent Soft-Serve Ice Cream

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Thank you. Photo: Suzanne Plunkett - WPA Pool/Getty Images

This morning, Margaret Thatcher died at age 87 owing to complications from a stroke. One of the lesser-known accomplishments of Britain's first female prime minister is her role in the creation of soft-serve. Thatcher, an Oxford chemistry grad, supported herself financially in the fifties by working at food manufacturer J. Lyons and Co. There, she became part of a team of chemists that developed key emulsifiers for ice cream. By increasing the amount of air and making it possible to churn soft-serve out of a machine, Thatcher paved the way for Britain's Mr. Whippy trucks. Her work also had financial benefits: Soft-serve allowed manufacturers to cut costs by using a smaller amount of ingredients. Though Thatcher later faced scrutiny for eliminating free school milk, earning the nickname "Milk Snatcher," she did an invaluable service to dairy. Eat a smooth, creamy (yet still airy-light!) soft-serve cone today in remembrance of the Iron Lady. [Daily Intelligencer, DailyMail, Telegraph UK]