Tag Archives: National Ice Cream Month

Celebrating National Ice Cream Day with a Lick and a Promise

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



We ALL Dream of Ice Cream – The Scoop on National Ice Cream Month

It’s National Ice Cream Month!  That momentous fact might have slipped my addled mind had I not been an interloper at the Hennessy-Beech Families’ Fourth of July 2013 picnic in Lewiston, Minnesota yesterday.  The legendary piece de resistance of that grand occasion is overflowing bowls of HOMEMADE ice cream topped with fresh picked strawberries.   Words fail….

President Ronald Reagan, who did have his finer features, must be lauded for inaugurating National Ice Cream Month in 1984.  This year the nation will celebrate National Ice Cream DAY on Sunday, July 21 – just one of the 31 days set aside for exultation of ice cream as one of the basic food groups.

As everyone knows, consuming ice cream with finesse is an art.  What we may not know is that the origins of the frozen treat of the gods goes back as far as the second century B.C.  Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar.  And there are even Biblical referencs to King Solomon’s  fondness for iced drinks during the harvest season.  Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) sent runners into the mountains for snow which was flavored with fruits and juices fit for an Emperor.

Historians of ice cream tell us that Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe akin to 21st Century sherbet, adding that the recipe probably evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th Century.   Charles I during the 17th Century scooped up “cream ice” and Catherine de Medici encountered the treat when she married Henry II, King of France.

The masses learned about ice cream when Sicilian Procopia introduced a recipe at Café Procope, the first café in Paris.

The first account of ice cream this side of the pond comes in a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen; sometime later the first ice cream ad appeared in the New York Gazette in 1777.  The Father of Our Country George Washington spent approximately $200 of his personal fortune for ice cream during the summer of 1700 while President Jefferson was purported to have an 18-step recipe that anticipates today’s Baked Alaska.  Dolly Madison, always the perfect hostess, served strawberry ice cream at her husband’s second inaugural banquet.

The fortunes of the hit a cool high in the early 1800’s with the invention of ice houses.  Steam power, mechanical refrigeration, homogenization, electric power and motors, packing machines and new freezing processes created an ice cream boom – a utopian world in which production of frozen dairy items in the U.S. tops 1.6 billion gallons.  The ice cream industry reports total revenues of $10 billion in 2010 with take home sales representing the largest section of the market generating revenues of $6.8 billion.  Nine percent of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream.

Enough history – too many stats.  Where’s the closest ice cream parlor!

Whether it’s a malt, a shake, a sundae or a delectably portable sugar cone,  you want it near and you want it now!   Options abound and parlors pop up in the most unlikely places.  Thanks to sound research and this state’s commitment to open access to government information you can find a robust roster of ice cream parlors on the Explore Minnesota website.   From Afton to Winona (alphabetically) the annotated list will inspire delectable road trips that lead to ice cream haunts best known by the locals but open to all.

Fear not – You can venture out even without a GPS system – the industry provides a handy map that guides you straight to the frozen splendors that cool these humid days and remind us all of just how great summer evenings really are!