America Celebrates the Dessert that’s as Patriotic as Apple Pie

No July is complete for Americans without a heaping dish of the cold dessert that we’ve been eating since the 1740s. Ice cream is shorthand for summer fun, and it has its own month to celebrate its place in U.S. history.

Though it doesn’t show up in American records until 1744, historians know that Alexander the Great was eating an early version (snow mixed with honey) around the same time he was conquering Mesopotamia. When it did show up in the States, it was primarily enjoyed by the wealthy because keeping food cold was a costly venture. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were particularly fans of the frozen food. Jefferson’s favorite was close to today’s baked Alaska treat. Insulated ice houses became the great dessert equalizer in the 1800s, allowing more classes to enjoy ice cream.

Ice cream became immensely popular when the soda jerks of the late 1800s added it to ice cream sodas. After discussions about how such a decadent dessert didn’t belong on the Sabbath, the soda-less sundae was born.

The ice cream cone is credited to two different inventors: an Italian-immigrant inventor in New York City, and a Syrian man at the 1904 World’s Fair. Italo Marchiony patented a cone in 1903. Ernest A. Hamwi’s invention came from necessity. The ice cream vendor next to his booth ran out of bowls, and he offered a conical version of his waffles as a replacement.

This July, it’s time to set the diet aside and enjoy a few bowls (or cones) of your own! Ice cream is as iconically American as apple pie. Of course, it also happens to taste great with apple pie. It’s only fitting that we celebrate National Ice Cream Month in the same month we celebrate the birth of our nation.

Here are some recipes, just in case you weren’t already convinced!

Soda Jerk Sundae

Served in an old-fashioned ice cream bowl with a cherry on top, of course! Making your own sundaes are a perfect activity for spending time with the kids, so make sure you have a variety of toppings and flavors!

·      One scoop vanilla ice cream

·      One scoop chocolate ice cream

·      Hot fudge

·      Chopped peanuts

·      Multi-colored sprinkles

·      Whipped cream

·      Cherry

Presidential Diet Pardon

For a quick take on a baked Alaska, start with a block of frozen ice cream and bake a cake to fit the base. We recommend a box mix for getting to the good part faster!

·      Square frozen ice cream

·      Cake made to fit ice cream diameters

·      1 cup egg whites

·      Dash of cream of tartar

·      1 cup sugar

To make the meringue, whip the eggs and the cream of tartar on medium for about 2 minutes. Beat in the sugar on high speed until you’ve achieved your desired consistency.

Properly cool the cake before combining it with the ice cream. You may want to even stick it in the fridge for a few hours. Once you’re confident it won’t melt your ice cream, stack the frozen block on top of it. Then, cover completely with the meringue. Either preheat the oven to 500 degrees and bake the treat until the tops are browned, or use a pastry blowtorch.

Summer is all about celebrating freedom and fun. Make the most of both by indulging in a few sweet frozen treats of your own, whether you take the time to recreate Jefferson’s favorite dish or throw together a sundae in honor of the soda jerks of the past. We’d even recommend giving Hamwi’s waffle cones another try or two! Forget about the diet–it’s warm enough that you can always go for a jog later!


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