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Today is National Ice Cream Day and what better way to celebrate it than to cool down with this yummy sweet treat. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed every third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day and dedicated the month to the frozen treat as well.
There are many ways to enjoy this frozen dessert. Some people put it in a cone, some in a bowl, and of course, it can top off a piece of pie or brownie.
The history behind the delectable treat is somewhat a mystery; no one knows exactly who invented the frozen dessert. There are many references in the Bible that suggest historical figures drank iced drinks.
However, it is believed to have been the emperors of the Tang Dynasty (618 907 AD) to have been the first to eat an ice cream-like dish. Their version was made from goat, buffalo, or cow milk that was heated with flour. They added camphor to enhance the flavor and texture.
Arabs drank an icy refreshment called sherbet, or sharabt, in medieval times. It was common for the chilled drinks to be flavored with pomegranate, quince, or cherry. Italians are believed to have mastered this drink-making technique followed by the French.
Later people added sugar to the sherbet ingredients and created sorbetto (a.k.a. sorbet). Antonio Latini is the first person credited with writing down the ingredients for sorbet. Culinary historians consider his milk-based sorbet as the first official ice cream.
Today, the average American eats around 20 pounds (roughly four gallons) of ice cream each year. Summertime temperatures peak in July, making it a great time to celebrate the frozen treat, according to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).
The IDFA conducted a survey and found that most ice cream companies are family-owned businesses that have been operating for over 50 years. Their data shows that these companies help support the United States economy. They contributed more than $13 billion, according to IDFA’s 2021 survey.
These frozen treat businesses support nearly 29,000 direct jobs equating to $1.8 million in direct wages. Last year, there was over 1.3 billion gallons of ice cream churned.
Written by Sheena Robertson
IDFA: What is National Ice Cream Month
PBS: Explore The Delicious History of Ice Cream
National Today: National Ice Cream Day – July 17, 2022