Ice Cream

July is hot. According to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the national temperature for July 2005 was warmer than average for the United States. Perhaps Ronald Reagan knew how many hot days were in store for us, when he designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. Now is the perfect time to get the scoop about this chilly treat and find out what flavor is king dip!

Ice cream is known to be enjoyed as far back as the second century B.C., according to the International Dairy Foods Association in an online article about the evolution of ice cream. Greats such as Alexander, Solomon, Caesar and Marco Polo enjoyed the frosty treat long before it was available to the general public. Gerald Tissain, chef for King Charles I, made iced desserts using milk and cream for the king. Closer to home, George Washington spent about $200 for ice cream during the summer of 1790 and Thomas Jefferson had a favorite ice cream recipe that was similar to Baked Alaska.

Ice Cream remained a treat for the wealthy until 1851, when Jacob Fussell of altimore, MA, realized the best way to avoid wasting cream was to freeze the excess. Ian Harrison said in his book titled, The Book of Firsts, Fussell’s iced cream was so popular that he set up a factory and on June 15, 1851 he made the first delivery of massed produced ice cream, at a third of the price of his competitors. In 1896, the first ice-cream cone was made by an Italian-American named Marcioni, but the idea was not all the rage until the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

Other ice cream treats were soon to follow. After an American confectioner watched a boy agonize over which treat he wanted, chocolate or ice cream, he began to experiment and launched the first Eskimo Pie when he combined the two in 1921. An ice-cream seller in Wisconsin always ran low of goods on Sunday, so he served smaller portions and added chocolate sauce or fruit syrup to compensate. The idea became so popular that customers began asking for the “Sunday ice cream” during the week. The Popsicle was also a mishap. An American lemonade salesman left a glass of lemonade with a spoon in it on a cold windowsill overnight. The next morning it had frozen and when he tried removing it, he was holding the world’s first Popsicle.

More mix-ups happened with the birth of Baskin-Robbins ice cream stores. The concept began in 1945 with the opening of the Snowbird ice cream shop owned by Iry Robbins; followed by Burton’s ice cream shop opening in 1946 by owner Burt Baskin. Burt and Iry’s were joined in 1948 and grew to a chain of six stores, pioneering the ice cream franchise. In the 1950s the miniature pink spoon was introduced to encourage ice cream fanatics to taste several varieties. Soon the stores began offering a different flavor for every day of the month, creating the “31” flavors concept. By 1958, there were nearly 150 flavors in the Baskin-Robbins “flavor library.”

“Some Baskin-Robbins ice creams contain as much as 20% butterfat-double the federal minimum-and all are made with fresh cream and no preservatives,” said a writer from Time Magazine in a June 1971 article. “A whole generation is starved for good ice cream,” Iry Robbins notes in the article. “They have had plenty of ice cream of a sort, the cheap stuff sold in supermarkets, but it wasn’t fun ice cream.”

Move over cheap stuff! The year is 2006 and ice-cream flavors are limitless. Instead of a flavor a day, 31 flavors can be mixed in to a single scoop if so desired. Fruit, caramels, candies, cakes, cookies and brownies are just a few options to add to your ice-cream. Today’s chilly treats contain more butterfat, more mix-ins and more calories than past scoops; and the flavors are insanely delicious!

Cold Stone Creamery offers At The Cocoa Banana Cabana: banana ice cream, yellow cake, banana, fudge and whipped topping; Mud Pie MojoÃ?®: coffee ice cream, OREOÃ?®, peanut butter, roasted almonds, fudge and whipped topping; Candy Land(TM): Cake Batter(TM) Ice Cream, SnickersÃ?®, M&MsÃ?®, and Kit KatÃ?®, just to name a few. Baskin-Robbins offers new flavors including Apple Pie a la Mode: real apples, crunchy pie crust, caramel cinnamon crÃ?¨me ribbon and vanilla ice cream; and Triple Play: popcorn, peanuts and pretzels load a caramel ice cream base. Ben & Jerry’s top three flavors are Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Chip Coolie Dough and Chunky Monkey. The Stinking Rose, a garlic restaurant in Beverly Hills, tops the list by serving Gilroy’s Famous Garlic Ice Cream with Caramel MolÃ?© Sauce.

There are many new flavors of ice cream, but the king of all scoops is plainly- vanilla. Vanilla is the one that started it all and the leading ice cream flavor, according to the International Ice Cream Association. So not matter what you prefer: Lobster bisque, pralines and cream or simple strawberry, now is the time to take a dip of fun and cool down with your favorite flavor.

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