With the Fourth of July happening this week, we thought it would be fun to talk about the long tradition that ice cream has had in America.
Today, Americans will consume an entire ton of ice cream in their lifetime, but it has been a long road to get to this place.
We're proud to play a part of this American favorite by providing customized small batch ice cream with both our Omaha parlor and our online store.
America's First Mention of Ice Cream
The first official account of ice cream in America was before there even was the United States. The oldest account comes from a letter written in 1744 by a guest of Maryland Governor William Bladen, who mentioned that the governor had served it to his guests.
First American Ice Cream For Sale
America’s first ice cream parlor opened in New York City in 1776.
The first advertisement for ice cream in this country appeared in the New York Gazette on May 12, 1777, when confectioner Philip Lenzi announced that ice cream was available "almost every day.”
Luckily things have gotten better with time, and we can offer ice cream all day and all night with our online store.
Presidential Ice Cream
Records show that President George Washington spent approximately $200 for ice cream during the summer of 1790. That would be about $4,590.00 today. Which is A LOT of ice cream.
President Thomas Jefferson can be credited with the first known recipe recorded by an American. He is said to have had a favorite 18-step recipe for an ice cream delicacy that resembled a modern-day Baked Alaska.
In 1813, Dolley Madison served a magnificent strawberry ice cream creation at President Madison's second inaugural banquet at the White House.
In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared July as National Ice Cream Month.
Technology Makes Ice Cream Available for the Masses
Until 1800, ice cream remained a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by only the wealthy. But as technology improved, so did availability. Around 1800, insulated ice houses were invented which provided opportunities to store ice cream.
Soon after, ice cream began being produced in America on a large commercial scale. The industry was pioneered in 1851 by a Baltimore milk dealer named Jacob Fussell.
Other technological innovations that helped the increased production, storage and availability of ice cream include: steam power, mechanical refrigeration, the homogenizer, electric power, motors, packing machines, and new freezing processes and equipment.
The Ice Cream Sundae
The wide availability of ice cream in the late 19th century led to new creations, products, and creativity. In 1874, the American soda fountain shop and the profession of the "soda jerk" emerged with the invention of the ice cream soda.
In response to religious criticism for eating "sinfully" rich ice cream sodas on Sundays, ice cream merchants left out the carbonated water and invented the ice cream "Sunday" in the late 1890's. The name was eventually changed to "sundae" to remove any connection with the Sabbath.
The Ice Cream Cone
The ice cream cone was popularized at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, MO. Legend has it that an ice cream vendor had run out of cardboard dishes and needed something to put the scoops in. Next door was a waffle booth who couldn't sell any waffles because of the intense summer heat. The waffle maker offered to make cones by rolling up his waffles. The new product was a huge hit.
Helping Defeat the Axis Powers
Ice cream became an edible morale symbol during World War II. In 1945, the first "floating ice cream parlor" was built for sailors in the western Pacific. The Navy's ice cream barge could produce 5400 gallons of ice cream per hour!
When World War II ended, and dairy rationing was lifted from the American public, they went into an ice cream frenzy. Americans consumed over 20 quarts of ice cream per person in 1946. The sweet taste of freedom never tasted so good.
An Evolving Industry
In the 1940s through the ‘70s, ice cream production was relatively constant in the United States as more prepackaged ice cream was sold through supermarkets and big box stores.
Today you can get ice cream at your local supermarket and probably even at your favorite fast food restaurant.
But we believe that Americans still want that high quality and personalized ice cream flavors that their grandparents and their grandparents grew up with. The kind of ice cream that can only be experienced from small-batch production and ultra premium ingredients.
Stop in to our Omaha parlor for that taste of tradition and Americana. Or if you're not in Omaha but still want that classic high-quality taste, shop our online store for at home delivery. Try any of our popular flavors or create your own.