Since I first read about Dolley Madison in about third grade I have always thought she was one of the classiest in a long line of First Ladies. I’ve recently learned just how classy she was – in 1813 she served ice cream at the Inauguration Ball celebrating the inauguration of her husband James, who was pretty classy himself.
Today, July 17, 2016, is National Ice Cream Day. July is always National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month is always National Ice Cream Day. President Ronald Reason proclaimed the mid-summer celebrations of America’s favorite treat in 1984. (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=40141)
Fortified by a couple scoops of butter pecan I set about to learn what I could about the historic significance of the national treasure. (Troubled times demand an occasional break from the news of the day!)
Eschewing any distracting nutritional information I gathered these impressive facts to ponder while dipping into a scoop of real ice cream:
- Real ice cream comes from milk produced by real cows.
- Nearly ten percent of the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream.
- Persians may have created a taste for modern day ice cream by pouring grape juice over snow, the snow apparently saved in underground chambers or harvested from regional mountaintops.
- It was probably Quaker entrepreneurs who reverted to their home country recipes to open ice cream vending shops in New York and other cities during the colonial era.
- Which gave Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson a chance to introduce a culinary treat that caught on.
- Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia received the first U.S. patent for a hand-cranked ice cream freezer in 1843.
- The first edible ice cream cone was created for the St. Louis World’s Fair by Ernest Hamwi in 1904; Hamwi obtained a patent for his cone-making machine in 1920.
I’m sure there is a lot more to discover about the history and nuances of National Ice Cream Day and National Ice Cream Month. I’m also certain that some of this may be apocryphal. What I know for certain is that it’s not too early to mark your calendar for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, first Saturday of February 2017.
Still, true celebration of National Ice Cream is all about enjoyment of this national treasure. Enough research. I’m off to celebrate with another scoop – I’m thinking strawberry sundae this time….
I doubt whether the world holds for any one a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream ~ Heywood C. Broun