I remember going out every Sunday with my grandparents for dinner and afterward enjoying a special treat. We’d head over to Baskin Robbins and pick one (or two) of the 32 flavors to enjoy as a family. Ice cream is an American tradition and something that is always in our freezers. It’s a national staple, especially during those summer months, which is why July is the perfect time to celebrate National Ice Cream Month.
In 1984, a Senator from Kentucky introduced a resolution to proclaim the month of July 1984 National Ice Cream Month. President Ronald Reagan signed the bill into law that same year and the rest is history! While the bill only specified July 1984 as National Ice Cream Month, the tradition carries on all these years later.
Ice cream itself has no known inventor, but it’s said that as far back as 618-697 AD in China, an ice cream-like food was enjoyed. The first dish is said to be made of flour, buffalo milk and camphor. Not quite the ice cream we know today, but it’s fun to think that even way back when, people were looking for a refreshing frozen treat! Even Alexander the Great is said to have enjoyed snow flavored with honey and nectar. Culinary folks though do point to Naples as the birthplace of the first ice cream.
Americans have a rich history with ice cream. The first mention of ice cream in the US was in a letter in 1744. Then, it’s said, that George Washington spent $200 for ice cream in the summer of 1790. That’s something like $5,500 today – Can you imagine? Even Thomas Jefferson made his own ice cream recipe which is said to be the oldest known ice cream recipe here in the states.
Here are a few fun facts about Ice Cream:
- First Lady Dolley Madison served ice cream at the 1813 Inaugural Ball
- Vanilla is the most popular flavor
- It takes about 50 licks to finish one ice cream cone
- The U.S. is the largest producer of ice cream
- A Dreyer’s Ice Cream tester actually insured his tongue for $1M
- In 1920, Harry Burt put the first ice cream truck on the streets.
So how can you celebrate?
With ice cream of course! Enjoy this cold, delicious treat with friends and family. Head to your local ice cream shop and grab a scoop! Maybe even try a few different and unique flavors before you settle on your tried and true favorite!
You could also host a fun ice cream themed party. Have an “I Scream for Ice Cream” bar where everyone can make their own amazing concoction!. Make sure to have plenty of toppings including things like pretzels, M&M’S, fruits, sprinkles and nuts! You can also provide all different types of cones and even cute little bowls for your guests to create in. Maybe even offer fun decorations like wands, cupcake toppers and mini umbrellas. Think outside the box and take photos of everyone’s custom treats. Then have prizes for most creative, best looking and most daring. Your guests are sure to enjoy this fun event!
Or, if you are feeling ambitious, try your hand at making your own ice cream. Here’s a really easy recipe you can make at home in a bag. All you need is half & half (1 cup), sugar (2 tbsp), vanilla extract (½ tsp), ice (3 cups), salt (⅓ cup), and two plastic bags (one large and one small). Put the cream, sugar, and flavor inside the smaller bag and push out all the extra air. Put the ice and salt in the bigger bag and then add the small bag with ingredients. Lock well and shake for 7-10 minutes until the ingredients have hardened. Once it’s done, you can let it set a little more in the freezer while you make homemade chocolate chip cookies to create your own homemade ice cream sandwiches!
There are lots of fun ways to celebrate this month, but, if in the end, you’d rather just try a different kind of ice cream each day of the month of July, we get it. Because remember, we all scream for ice cream!