Our Centuries-Long Love Affair With Ice Cream

Summertime is here…the perfect moment to celebrate ice cream!

In 1984, President Ronald Regan established the third Sunday of July to be National Ice Cream Day (and the entire month of July as National Ice Cream Month).

mint leavesIt was originally conceived to be a ‘one-time’ holiday, but the ice cream industry has kept it alive over the years.

Wondering if ice cream has a place in a plant-based lifestyle?

Fortunately, the answer is a resounding YES!

Later on we will share our favorite plant-based ice cream recipes, but first, we want to talk a little bit about the history of ice cream.

The History of Ice Cream Is a Rich One

Ice cream has been a beloved treat around the globe for centuries.

Here are some of the highlights of ice cream’s rich history:

  1. The Chinese are generally considered to be the first to have created ‘ice cream,’ possibly as early as 3000 BC.
  2. In the 5th century BC, ancient Greeks ate snow mixed with honey and fruit. Hippocrates himself encouraged his patients to eat ice ‘as it enlivens the life-juices and increases the well-being.’
  3. In 400 BC, the Persian royalty enjoyed their own special iced treats made of rose water, vermicelli, saffron, and fruits.
  4. The Roman Emperor Nero (37-68 AD) brought ice from the mountains and combined it with fruit toppings for a delicious chilled dessert.
  5. In the 10th century, ice cream was popular in the Arab cities of Baghdad, Damascus, and Cairo. The dish was made with milk, cream or yogurt, and flavored with rosewater, dried fruits, and nuts.
  6. Marco Polo returned from China telling everyone about the frozen sherbet he had seen and introduced the treat to Italy.
  7. In the 16th century India, the Mughal emperors would use relays of horseman to bring ice from the Hindu Kush to Delhi where it was used in fruit sorbets.
  8. Catherine de Medici brought recipes for flavored ices and sorbets to France.
  9. Charles I of England loved ‘frozen snow’ and tried to keep the recipe a royal secret.strawberry
  10. Quaker colonists introduced ice cream to the US and sold it in shops in New York and other colonial cities. Ben Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson were purported fans of ice cream.

Originally a treat for royalty, ice cream eventually became accessible to ordinary people in different centuries depending on the country. For example, ice cream was available to the masses in 1660 in France but gained widespread popularity in the mid-19th century in England.

In the second half of the 20th century, when cheap refrigeration became common, ice cream became popular around the globe.

How to Celebrate National Ice Cream Day

Dr. Rosane Oliveira and Orange Creamsicle ShakeReady to celebrate this holiday?

In my book, the best way to do that is to make your own ice cream.

Plant-based of course.

In the past, we have shared recipes for Vanilla, Chocolate, and Chocolate Hazelnut ‘ice creams’.

For a different spin, here is a plant-based recipe for Orange Creamsicle Shake that you are going to love.

Enjoy National Ice Cream Month!