July is National Ice Cream Month

What better time is there to celebrate ice cream than in the midst of a long, hot summer?

Vanilla remains America’s favorite flavor according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA). Cone

Some other ice cream facts:

  • Alexander the Great liked snow flavored with honey and nectar, and Nero of Rome added fruit and juices to the snow he ordered to be gathered from the mountains;
  • In about 1295 when Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East he brought a recipe for a sherbet-like dessert widely regarded as the “foretaste” to 16th century ice cream, then called “cream ice.”
  • Italian and English royalty served ice cream delicacies for decades before it was available to the general public in 1660.
  • The first reference to ice cream in the New World of America was in 1744 when a guest wrote about it being served by Governor Bladen of Maryland.
  • Presidents Washington, Jefferson and Madison regularly served ice cream, and Jefferson hand-wrote a favorite recipe.
  • Ice cream manufacturing began in Baltimore in 1851.
  • Ice cream sodas, soda fountains and employment of soda jerks emerged in 1874.
  • Ice cream “Sundays”, now “sundaes” – sodas minus the carbonated water – appeared in 1890 because of religious objections to soda consumption on Sundays.
  • Production is currently more than one-and-a-half billion gallons annually, according to IDFA.
  • The IDFA holds an annual Ice Cream Technology Conference during which producers compete for one of three top awards in the International Dairy Foods Association’s Innovative Ice Cream Flavor Competition.

Where there is ice cream, there is an ice cream cone with a history all its own:

  • An Italian immigrant in New York, Italo Marchiony, invented the ice cream cone in 1896 that was patented in 1903;
  • At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 an ice cream vendor ran out of serving dishes. Next to him, Syrian Ernest Hamwi, was selling waffle-like confections. Hamwi folded one into a cone shape and offered it to the ice cream vendor who filled it with ice cream, sold it and repeating the process, sold the remaining ice cream in a “cornucopia” to satisfied customers.
  • Hamwi opened his cone-making company in 1910; nationwide production was nearly 250 million cones in 1924. Today, fewer than five machines can produce as much because of advances in technology and automation.

Ice cream for diabetics?

Anyone with health concerns should check first with their doctor before adding sweet treats to the menu. For diabetics who get a green light to add specially formulated ice cream choices to their diets, Diabetic Living online magazine has a list of ice cream products that have earned its seal of approval. Check it out here.

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