“I scream; you scream; we all scream for ice cream!!”
by, Becky j Miller
As a lover of ice cream, I must say, “Thank God for the 1800’s”!! Prior to that time period, ice cream was a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by the elite.
The International Dairy Foods Association has much to say about the history of ice cream, but for the purpose of brevity, this column will focus mainly on its place in American history.
Ice cream seems to have made its appearance in the New World some time in the mid 1700’s. A guest of Maryland’s Governor, William Bladen, mentions the succulent treat in a 1744 letter. In 1777, the first ice cream advertisement made it’s appearance in the New York Gazette.
Merchant records kept by a Chatham Street, New York vendor indicate President George Washington spent approximately $200 for ice cream during the summer of 1790. Hmmm, it seems perhaps ole’ George or maybe even Martha had a sweet tooth. Inventory records taken from Mount Vernon after Washington’s death signify two pewter ice cream pots. How very American of them to love ice cream!
Washington was not the only one of our founding fathers with an affinity for the frozen treat. President Thomas Jefferson was rumored to fancy an 18-step recipe for an ice cream delicacy similar to Baked Alaska. In 1813 at President Madison’s second inaugural banquet, Dolley served an impressive strawberry ice cream creation.
Turn of the century industrial advances made ice cream more accessible to the common man. Today, in the United States alone, more than 1.6 billion gallons of the frozen dairy confection is produced annually. Personally, I am incredibly grateful to live in a world full not only ice cream, but a world with so many ice cream options!!
Although I’m not sure when I first sampled ice cream, I am certain it occurred at the home of one of my grandparents. My maternal grandmother, to this day, loves chocolate ice cream. Summers spent visiting her in Florida meant nightly servings were distributed to excited grandchildren every evening after dinner.
A peppermint ice cream addiction was bestowed upon me compliments of my paternal grandfather. His freezer was always stocked, and on the rare occasions when he could not find that flavor in the grocery freezer, well, he’d just make his own!!
Peppermint ice cream is best when drizzled with chocolate syrup. We usually go through at least a half-gallon or two each holiday season. Well, I should clarify; I do the consuming because no one else in my house shares my passion for peppermint.
Not only are ice cream flavors in abundance with choices ranging from the every day Chocolate, Vanilla and Strawberry to the more exotic Mandarin Orange Cheesecake, Green Tea and Blueberry Pannacotta, so are ice cream vendors. Without even using Google, I can name Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, Braum’s, and Orange Leaf. Yes, I’m aware Orange Leaf is technically frozen yogurt, but it will do in a pinch when the real stuff is unavailable.
Growing up with Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavors, even today, at the ripe old age of 50, I remain a loyal fan. Given a choice of dining out for ice cream, I will always choose Baskin Robbins.
My favorite flavors were and remain Grape Ice, Rainbow Sherbet, and Daiquiri Ice. I loved Daiquiri Ice not only for its flavor, but the rebellious teenage me also secretly enjoyed that my selection of that flavor seemed to annoy my father. Sorry Dad.
Several years ago, my daughter and I visited family in Florida. After a day at the beach my aunt, cousins, daughter and I stopped at a Baskin Robbins.
Their locations are not as prevalent in Texas as they are in the South, so it had been awhile since I’d enjoyed such a treat. Unable to narrow my selection down to just one flavor, I shamelessly ordered a triple scoop cone. The young man behind the counter repeated, “You want three scoops?” “Yes”. #don’tjudgeme
There’s so much more I could write about ice cream, I mean for Texans Blue Bell rules, but lest I cause an ice cream shortage in the state, I’ll close with this sentiment; “I scream; you scream; we all scream for ice cream!!”
Until Next Time,
Becky J. Miller