Margaret Thatcher Invented Soft Serve Ice Cream, Basically

Much has been said about Margaret Thatcher today as news broke that one of recent history’s most iconic and controversial political figures had died, and Thatcher was mostly remembered for her effects on modern politics in the UK — but did you know that Thatcher sort of invented soft serve ice cream?

Margaret Thatcher’s contribution to soft serve ice cream and science is a bit of buried lore, resurrected upon her death. And while the effects of conservative politics on the direction of the modern era are continually debated, what is not nearly as controversial is the supreme brilliance of a vanilla ice cream cone — for which we may have Margaret Thatcher to thank.

Thatcher was not always a politician, and in her earlier career, the future PM was a chemist at Oxford. In the 50s, Thatcher was tasked with a challenge that led to a revolution in frozen dairy desserts … and we all know how that turned out.

Thatcher graduated Oxford in 1947, and soon began work on revolutionizing soft serve. (Brits call it “soft scoop,” which is typical of their linguistic weirdness considering there is no scoop involved, that is the whole freaking point here.)

According to The Atlantic, Thatcher soon managed to work up a solution to enable the development of soft serve, or soft scoop:

“Thatcher’s task in that [chemist] role? To figure out a way to whip extra air into ice cream using emulsifiers — so that the ice cream could be manufactured with fewer ingredients, thereby reducing production costs. (And so that, additionally, the dairy-y result could flow from a machine rather than being scooped by hand.) She being Margaret Thatcher, she found that way. And her work resulted, ultimately, in the swirly stuff we know today as soft serve.”

margaret thatcher dies

Reaction to Thatcher’s legacy in soft serve has been remarkably more across the board positive than for her political career:

Does the invention of soft serve soften your view of the recently deceased Margaret Thatcher?