National Ice Cream Month – July 2012

July is National Ice Cream Month! What a fantastic way to celebrate a month! Here is some history and fun facts on this delicious dessert.

President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. Did you know that 90% of the nation’s population consumes ice cream at least once a year? So, President Reagan decided that the United States needed a month to recognize this cold and lovely treat!

Americans Love Their Ice Cream

We all know what ice cream is – that frozen dessert made from dairy products (milk or cream) and usually combined with fruits or flavorings or toppings or pretty much anything that strikes your fancy to make those flavors and sundaes that we all love. Everyone has “their” ice cream flavor. Personally, mine is Death By Chocolate. My daughter loves Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. What’s your favorite? People, typically, have their favorite “place” as well. Every Manlius-ite better say Sno Top!

 

Ice cream probably started as far back as the Persian Empire, but it was more like a slushie than the creamy yummy goodness that we know today. It was snow topped with fruit juices and fruit. The Arab World was probably the first to use milk as the main ingredient to produce something similar to what we eat today. They were also the first to sweeten the mixture with sugar rather than just fruit.

The first true ice cream recipes, however, appeared in 18th-century England and America. Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were known to have regularly eaten and served ice cream at their homes. The first U.S. patent for a small-scale handcranked ice cream freezer was issued to Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia in 1843. The invention of the ice cream soda (which is attributed to Robert Green in 1874, but there is no proof of this) really sent American tastebuds after the cold confection!

The ice cream sundae, which came to be in the 19th century, does not have a conclusive creator. But once the ice cream cone was created around 1900 (supposedly at the 1904 World’s Fair), Americans now had to make that famous choice: cone or in a bowl? Parents around the world groaned once they figured out what kid’s favorite choice would be :-D.

Once people could have refrigerators and freezers in their own homes starting in the 20th century, the increase in availability and the demand of the cold treat skyrocketed. Stores, flavors, and types expanded rapidly. People now had a choice, as well, between soft and hard ice cream. The amount of toppings and the explosion of “specialty parlors” like Coldstone Creamery, has also added to the appeal and the variety of this yummy dessert.

With so many flavors, toppings, and varities, how is one to choose? Well that’s the greatest part of this month! Go out and try them all! Hope you have a chilly July as you celebrate National Ice Cream Month.

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