The history behind our favorite dessert

National Ice Cream Day – July 18; National Vanilla Ice Cream Day – July 23; National Hot Fudge Sundae Day – July 25


Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

A toast to ice cream in three simple days.

Maya Adimora, Staff writer

As the weather gets hotter, it is only natural for people to look for ways to cool off. The most popular solution is ice cream. In some ways, it is practically synonymous with summer. Although the frozen treat is very well known, its origin is inconsistent.

Some historians can trace ice cream-like foods to ancient Persia, but the first concrete record dates back to 618-907 AD. Emperor Shang of the Chinese Tang dynasty ate a milk-like substance heated with flour and camphor before being frozen in an ice pool.

Marco Polo is credited for introducing a frozen food to Italy that we now know as a sorbet. (There is no concrete evidence supporting this.)

Similar to wheat and sugar, Europeans introduced ice cream to America. According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), “The first official account of ice cream in the New World comes from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen.” In the United States, ice cream became more than a frozen dessert only the rich could enjoy. As the country industrialized, ice cream became more widespread.

Did you know that vanilla ice cream remains the most popular ice cream flavor in the world? Hundreds of years prior, the French used vanilla to flavor their ice cream after vanilla was used independently of cacao in foods and drinks. Thomas Jefferson brought the flavor to the United States after learning of it in France. In the 1780s, he even wrote his own vanilla ice cream recipe, located in the Library of Congress.

When it comes to the ice cream sundae, 4 U.S. cities claim to have created it. These are Two Rivers, Wisconsin (1881), Buffalo, New York (1889), Evanston, Illinois (1890), Ithaca, New York (1892), and Plainfield, Illinois.

Clarence Clifton Brown created the Hot Fudge Sundae at C.C. Browns in 1906. The ice cream parlor was on Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.

This week, you can celebrate ice cream in three delicious ways. July 18 is National Ice Cream Day, July 23 is National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, and make it even sweeter on July 25 with National Hot Fudge Sundae Day.

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