History of Food

History of Food

Thursday, June 7, 2012

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day - June 7th

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” This is the lyrics of a 1927 song entitled ICE CREAM by Johnson, Moll, & Kingas sung by Walter Williams, and the members of Warring's Pennsylvanians.

If ever anyone needed an excuse – today ice cream lovers and connoisseurs of chocolate (like me!) have one today. Glory be today is National Chocolate Ice Cream Day!

There are few things that separate human beings into categories: Cat versus dog people, morning versus night people, and then there’s chocolate versus vanilla people. While chocolate ice cream does come in second to vanilla in terms of ice-cream popularity, doesn’t mean it takes its position lightly.

Why do we call it "ice cream?"
Centuries ago people started making refreshing summer-time desserts by taking sweet cream (the richest part of milk) or custard (egg-based puddings) and cooling them down with ice. The chillier the cream, the more solid the product. In sum: the first "iced creams" were so named because the appellation described the process. Seasonal fruit flavors predominated. Different words were used in other languages. Before modern refrigeration mostly wealthy people had access to ice (and by association, iced cream) in the summer. This made ice cream a rare treat. It was not until the late 19th century "ice cream" was consumed by Americans across all socio-economic levels. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the first print occurrence of the word "iced cream" as in 1688. The term "ice cream" shows up in 1744. That corresponds approximately with the time when "modern" ice creams were first manufactured treat until mass modern technology punched in.

19% of Americans say they eat ice cream in bed. 3% eat ice cream in the bathtub.

In the early days of television mashed potatoes were used to simulate ice cream on cooking shows. Real ice cream melted too fast under the heat from the lighting. More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.

The history of chocolate on or before Mesoamerica. Chocolate, the fermented, roasted, and ground beans of the Theobroma cacao, can be traced to the Mokaya and other pre-Olmec people, with evidence of cacao beverages dating back to 1900 BC. Chocolate has been so valuable in history the Aztecs even used it as currency.

Chocolate ice cream did exist in the 18th century. However, it was the exception, not the rule. Most period iced creams were flavored with fruit. Earliest print refernce is from a French cookbook, c. 1768.

Although vanilla is the top ice cream flavor in the U.S., followed by chocolate – today Chocolate Ice Cream is it’s own royalty for having this special day to be king – alas as chocolate ice cream might say, “It is good to be King” even if it is only one day a year.

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