Here is some good news for those wilting in the sweltering summer heat — July is National Ice Cream Month! The “cool” holiday can be credited to Proclamation 5219, signed by former US President Ronald Reagan on July 9, 1984. The decree urges citizens to observe the entire month, or at the very least the third Sunday of July — designated National Ice Cream Day — “with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
This, of course, means eating as much of the creamy treat as possible. Here are some fun ice cream facts to keep you entertained as you go about fulfilling your civic duty
The origin of ice cream
The first record of milk-based ice cream, made using heated fermented milk, flour, and camphor, came from China’s Tang dynasty (618 – 907 AD). However, the Arabs are credited for inventing the modern-day recipe, using milk and sugar as the primary ingredients, in the 9th century. By the 10th century, a delicious frozen treat made using milk, cream, flavored rosewater, dried fruits, and nuts was believed to be extremely popular in Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo.
While Europeans discovered the icy treat in the 16th century, it took a lot longer to get to America. The dessert was first mentioned in 1744, when Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen served strawberry ice cream to guests. However, due to the lack of refrigerators, it was not until 1851 that ice cream finally became available to the public.
Americans are now one of the world’s largest ice cream consumers. An estimated $6 billion is spent annually on the treat, and the numbers are even higher if restaurant sales are included. Though California produces the most ice cream, the biggest fans — on a per capita basis— reside in Washington, DC, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.
Your favorite ice cream flavor may reflect your personality
Most people think their ice cream choice is a function of their taste preference. However, Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, believes it reflects an individual’s personality.
Vanilla ice cream fans are impulsive risk-takers who are great at relationships, while those that love chocolate tend to be lively, charming, and somewhat dramatic. Strawberry ice cream enthusiasts are devoted and introverted, while coffee fans are likely to be scrupulous, conscientious and perfectionists. Love chocolate chip ice cream? Then you must be generous, competent, and a go-getter!
The world’s largest ice cream scoop
In 2014, Minnesota-based Kemps Dairy celebrated the company’s 100th anniversary by unveiling the world’s largest ice cream scoop at the annual Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. The 5-foot, 6-inch-tall and 6-foot, 2-inch-wide frozen masterpiece was made using 733 containers of strawberry ice cream. After the massive scoop’s Guinness World Record status had been confirmed, the history-making sweet treat was distributed to some lucky fairgoers.