One of the first lines of the Wikipedia article for sherbet pretty much sums it up:
“Sorbet is often confused with Italian ice and often taken to be the same as sherbet.”
Translation: like most other things, we usually don’t know what the hell we’re eating.
Say the word ‘sorbet’, and you instantly think of a gently-mustached fellow handing you a warm hand towel and giving you a soft, refreshing lemon sorbet to cleanse your pallet in preparation for a cut of meat that will probably cost roughly half your net worth.
Say the word ‘sherbet’, and you think of multicolored garbage (that for some reason is always labelled “Superman flavor”) in the back of a gas station, served to you in a paper Dixie cup with an ice cream scoop that’s older than you are and made up of at least 75% rust.
And yet, if you do a little reading, you’ll find out that they’re…pretty much the same thing. One ingredient (milk, if you didn’t do your homework already) separates sorbet from sherbet, and it’s only one damn percent of it. One. And trust me, there’s plenty of sorbet recipes out there on the food-blog-net-web-thing that don’t have a trace of milk or cream in them, and plenty of sherbet recipes that do.
Case in point: if you’re looking down on Gas Station Steve for eating that nuclear raspberry-flavored sherbet, just know that you’re pretty much eating the same thing over at Chez Paycheck.
Minus the superhero themed flavors.
And the rust. —Fresh Beats, Fresh Eats