In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90 percent of the nation’s population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” With this in mind I thought I’d talk just a bit about ice cream and its history.
Did you know…
Each American consumes a yearly average of 23.2 quarts of ice cream, ice milk, sherbet, ices and other commercially produced frozen dairy products.
The Northern Central states have the highest per capita consumption of ice cream at 41.7 quarts.
More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.
Ice cream and related frozen desserts are consumed by more than 90 percent of households in the United States.
Ice cream consumption is highest during July and August.
The most popular flavor of ice cream in the United States is vanilla (27.8 percent), followed by chocolate (14.3 percent), strawberry (3.3 percent), chocolate chip (3.3 percent) and butter pecan (2.8 percent).
Children ages 2 through 12, and adults age 45 plus, eat the most ice cream per person. Those middle-age folks are just fuddy-duddies I guess.
The average number of licks to polish off a single scoop ice cream cone is approximately 50.
The History of Ice Cream and the Cone
The origins of ice cream can be traced back to at least the 4th century B.C. In the Persian Empire, people would pour grape juice concentrate over snow – in a bowl – and eat this as a treat. In particular this was consumed when the weather was hot. Either snow would be saved in the cool-keeping underground chambers known as “yakhchal” or taken from fresh snow that may still have remained at the top of the mountains by the summer capital – Hagmatana, Ecbatana or Hamedan of today. In 400 BC, the Persians went further and invented a special chilled food, made of rose water and vermicelli which was served to royalty during summers. The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavors. Other early references include the Roman emperor Nero (A.D. 37-68) who ordered ice to be brought from the mountains and combined with fruit toppings, and King Tang (A.D. 618-97) of Shang, China who had a method of creating ice and milk concoctions. Ice cream was likely brought from China back to Europe. Over time, recipes for ices, sherbets, and milk ices evolved and served in the fashionable Italian and French royal courts.
After the dessert was imported to the United States, it was served by several famous Americans. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson served it to their guests. In 1700, Governor Bladen of Maryland was recorded as having served it to his guests. In 1774, a London caterer named Philip Lenzi announced in a New York newspaper that he would be offering for sale various confections, including ice cream.
In 1812, Dolley Madison served a magnificent strawberry ice cream creation at President Madison’s second inaugural banquet at the White House.
The first ice cream cone was produced in 1896 by Italo Marchiony. Marchinoy, who emigrated from Italy in the late 1800s, invented his ice cream cone in New York City. Around the same time a similar creation, the cornucopia, was independently introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Stephen Sullivan of Sullivan, Missouri, was one of the first independent operators in the ice cream cone business. In 1906, Sullivan served ice cream cones at the Modern Woodmen of America Frisco Log Rolling in Sullivan, Missouri.
In taking our own advice, Marie made us these delectable sundaes using Blue Bunny reduced fat, no sugar added vanilla ice cream, Hershey’s dark chocolate topping, real whipped cream, and a bing cherry on top – they were absolutely scrumptious – and not all that bad for us either. A win-win situation if ever there was one!
If you missed your chance to party on Sunday, lament not; July is national Ice Cream month, so you still have a few days to get in a lick or two.