The third Sunday of July is one of the sweetest days in the United States, as it is when we celebrate National Ice Cream Day. In fact, this frozen dairy treat is so popular in America, that in 1984 the whole month of July was decreed to be National Ice Cream Month. This comes as no surprise, when we find out that Americans eat more ice cream in a year than anyone else in the world! So of course, there needed to be not only a day but a whole month, to celebrate the immense appreciation that we have for ice cream.
It was President Ronal Reagan that, in 1984, had the idea to create a special holiday to commemorate the delicious treat that over 90 percent of Americans love to eat. At first, this day was only meant to be observed once, on July 15 of 1984. But the dairy industry saw an opportunity and made it into an annual celebration. The day quickly became one of America's favorite holidays, and it actually encourages people to eat more ice cream. Currently, it is estimated that 23 gallons of ice cream are consumed in America every year.
Some Facts About Ice Cream
The first records of something like ice cream being made and consumed date back to around 697 AD in China. Although their ice cream wasn't like the one we know today, but rather a mixture of dairy with salt and ice, that was frozen. Some believe that ice cream goes back even further in time, to the Romans, who apparently collected snow from the mountains and then consumed it with honey and fruit juices.
Officially, it was in 1660 that Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli perfected a prototype made by his grandfather for an ice cream machine, and produced and sold gelato in his cafe. That was the first time that ice cream was made available to the general population. Francesco's recipe was made of milk, butter, eggs, and cream and was soon exported to the rest of Europe.
The oldest recipe for ice cream in the United States is credited to Thomas Jefferson, who created a recipe for an Old Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream, which is now an artifact available at the Library of Congress.
While vanilla is America's favorite ice cream flavor, and usually the base for other ice creams, chocolate-flavored ice cream was actually invented first. Some other popular flavors with Americans are cookie dough, cookies n’ cream, and mint chocolate chip.
What to do on National Ice Cream Day
There are many ways to enjoy ice cream on National Ice Cream Day. Ice Cream stores and vans will sometimes do special deals on ice cream for the day, so why not get a few scoops of your favorite flavor, or try something completely new? And if it's on offer, you might as well get some extra scoops!
Alternatively, you can try to make your own ice cream at home. It is a great opportunity to get creative with flavors that you've always wanted to try.