Ice cream may have its roots in China, going as far back as 200 B.C. when the Chinese mixed rice and milk and froze it in snow. But in America, the first official account of what remains today the best-tasting concoction on the planet, ice cream came to the New World from a letter written in 1744 by a Scottish guest at the dinner table of then Maryland Governor William Bladen. The guest praised the ice cold strawberry dessert. A newspaper printed it. And a sweet star was born that most likely will never lose its twinkle.
(Interesting that the ice cream immortalizer was a Scott. My first encounter with a Scott was 1960 when I was studying in Paris. Her name was Cherry and she loved eating [of all things] condensed sweet milk from a can, because she said it tasted like ice cream. But I digress.)
The first advertisement for ice cream appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777. A popular caterer announced he would have ice cream available “almost daily.” That set the New Yorkers beating a path to his door. Historical records at the time show that President George Washington spent $200 for ice cream in 1790. It was a sweltering summer that year. Be mindful $1 in 1793 was equal to $59.40 today. So, George spending $200 for ice cream would have been a big deal.
It’s recorded that President Thomas Jefferson left behind an 18-step recipe for a favorite ice cream delicacy that resembled today’s Baked Alaska. And still later, in 1813, Dolley Madison served at her husband’s second inaugural banquet a yummy strawberry dessert everyone raved over. It was as simple as mixing strawberries and sugar, letting the macerated fruit stand for half a day, then mashing and straining it through a coarse towel, adding more sugar and beating in a quart of fresh, heavy cream.
Ice cream didn’t move out of the homes of the wealthy elite until insulated ice houses were invented. But by 1851, ice cream production took off thanks to technological innovations such as electric motors, packing machines and freezing processes.
The International Dairy Foods Association reports this:
“Wide availability of ice cream in the late 19th century led to new creations. In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the ‘soda jerk’ emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda. In response to religious criticism for eating ‘sinfully’ rich ice cream sodas on Sundays, ice cream merchants left out the carbonated water and invented the ice cream ‘Sunday’ in the late 1890’s. The name was eventually changed to ‘sundae’ to remove any connection with the Sabbath.
“Ice cream became an edible morale symbol during World War II. Each branch of the military tried to outdo the others in serving ice cream to its troops. In 1945, the first ‘floating ice cream parlor’ was built for sailors in the western Pacific. When the war ended, and dairy product rationing was lifted, America celebrated its victory with ice cream. Americans consumed more than 20 quarts of ice cream per person in 1946.”
Fast forward to today, we learn “the average American consumes 48 pints of ice cream per year. A blog on the Internet called, Reference.com, reports Americans are the top consumers of ice cream worldwide, followed by New Zealanders.
“Consumption is broken down by state, with the residents of the District of Columbia consuming the most ice cream, followed by residents of Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Texas.
“Approximately 9% of milk produced in the U.S. goes toward the production ice cream, and 12 pounds of milk are required to produce a single gallon of the frozen dessert.
“Vanilla accounts for as much as 29% of ice cream sales, making it the most-popular ice cream flavor of all time.”
With the GreenAcres annual Ice Cream Social just around the corner, we acknowledge our faithful sponsors, Alden’s Organic and Nada Moo Dairy-Free Ice Cream companies which have helped us supply hungry customers for several years who will soon be waiting for the cold stuff with toppings of their choice from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 11 for our Bradley Fair, Oklahoma City, Stillwater and Lawton stores. And from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, July 13 for our Wichita 21st and Maize store and our store in Kansas City, Mo.
If you’re in the vicinity of any of these stores, please join us for ice cream, free samples and discounts from another valued partner, Solgar. The afternoon promises to be fun, frozen and FREE to the public. Come join us!