History of Ice Cream

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  • Ice Cream was invented in China around 2000 B.C. when the Chinese packed a soft milk-and rice mixture in snow.
  • Legend states that Roman emperor Nero would send his slaves into the mountains for snow and Ice to create flavored ice's.
  • Americans consume more Ice Cream than any other country in the world.
  • The first written mention of ice cream in this country can be found in a letter from the 1700s, which admiringly describes the ice cream and strawberry dessert a Maryland governor served at a dinner party. Initially, just a treat for the elite (including George Washington, who is said to have consumed enormous quantities), the first ice cream parlor in this country opened in New York City in 1776. In 1845, the hand-cranked freezer was invented, allowing Americans to make ice cream more easily at home.
  • Americans consume the most ice cream in the world per capita, with Australians coming in second. In 1924, the average American ate eight pints a year. By 1997, the International Dairy Foods Association reported that the figure had climbed to 48 pints a year.
  • The most avid ice cream eaters in the U.S. don't live in Hawaii, the South, California, or any other hot climate. Instead, in 1999, it was reported that the good citizens of Omaha, Nebraska, ate more ice cream per person than any other Americans.
  • Vanilla is the most popular flavor in this country, snagging anywhere from 20 to 29 percent of sales. Chocolate comes in a distant second, with about 9 to 10 percent of the market.
  • Immigrants at Ellis Island were served vanilla ice cream as part of their Welcome to America meal.
  • One of the major ingredients in Ice Cream is air. Without it, the stuff would be as hard as a rock.
  • One out of every five ice cream eaters share their treat with their dog or cat.
  • In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared July as National Ice Cream Month, citing the food's "nutritious and wholesome" qualities. He decreed that patriotic Americans should mark the month with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."
  • According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the biggest ice cream sundae in the world was made in Alberta, Canada, in 1988. It weighed nearly 55,000 pounds. The same year, a baking company and a sheet-metal firm in Dubuque, Iowa, teamed up to produce the world's largest ice cream sandwich, which tipped the scales at nearly 2,500 pounds. And, in 1999, Baskin-Robbins created an ice cream cake at a beach hotel in the United Arab Emirates that weighed just under 9,000 pounds.
  • Ice cream novelties such as ice cream on sticks and ice cream bars were introduced in the 1920s. Seems like kid stuff, but today, adults consume nearly one-half of all such treats.