This summer’s stifling temperatures make National Ice Cream Day a welcome treat! National Ice Cream Day is the third Sunday in July, or sundae Sunday. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday in July National Ice Cream Day and designated July as National Ice Cream Month. He called for all people of the United States to observe those events with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
We think that appropriate ceremonies means enjoying your favorite flavor and learning more about this delight. While you are cooing off with your cone, check out these fun ice cream facts:
1. Americans are the No. 1 consumers of ice cream worldwide, eating 48 pints of ice cream per person every year on average. New Zealand comes in at number 2.
2. The exact origins of ice cream are unknown. Shannon Jackson Arnold wrote in “Everybody Loves Ice Cream: The Whole Scoop on America’s Favorite Treat,” that “legends about ice cream’s early history abound: Marco Polo brought back the recipe for ice cream from China. Italian Catherine de Medici introduced the treat to France when she married King Henry II.”
3. Immigrants at Ellis Island were served ice cream as part of the welcoming to America.
4. About 9 percent of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream.
5. Charles E. Minches of St. Louis, Missouri is said to have invented the ice cream cone in 1904 at the World’s Fair in St. Louis when he filled a pastry cone with two scoops of ice cream. This claim, however, is not without controversy. Italo Marchiony of New York City filed a patent for the ice cream cone months before the fair opened. And, he was selling lemon ice in cones as early as 1896.
6. Vanilla is the most popular flavor, accounting for 20-29% of overall sales of ice cream with chocolate coming in a distant second.
7. Ice cream became popular here after the American Revolution, when the Americans had continued contact with the French and Thomas Jefferson became particularly fond of it as U.S. Ambassador to France. The Library of Congress possesses a copy of a recipe for vanilla ice cream used by Thomas Jefferson written in Jefferson’s own hand. President George Washington allocated a total of $200 on ice cream purchases during the hot summer of 1790.
8. The biggest ice cream sundae in history was made in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1988, and weighed in at over 24 tons, according to IceCream.com.
Many ice cream stores are offering deals or freebies in honor of the occasion, and you can find a list of them here.
Keep in mind that tweens can easily make ice cream, especially if you have an ice cream maker. My tween has made ice cream making a summer project (find more information on it here) and I have to say that the chocolate and strawberry ice cream and lime sorbet that she’s made thus far have been fabulous.
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