National Ice Cream Month - History of the Ice Cream Truck

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream…….

National Ice Cream Month is held in each year in July in the United States. Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. He also named the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. Reagan recognized the popularity of ice cream in the United States (90% of the nation's population consumes ice cream) and stated that these two events should be observed with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Foods don't get much more coveted than a scoop or two of delicious ice cream on a hot day. Ice cream comes in scores of different flavors. Just ask Baskin Robbins®, which has long touted its own 31 flavors - a different flavor for every day of the month of July. Even though there seems to be a flavor for everybody these days, certain palate-pleasers remain more popular than others. According to an August 2019 survey conducted by ProdegeMR, a provider of people-driven insights for the market research industry, chocolate was consumers' preferred ice cream flavor in Canada, with 23 percent of survey respondents indicating it was their favorite. The International Dairy Foods Association indicates that Americans favor a different flavor of ice cream. In the United States, vanilla is the flavor of choice, perhaps because vanilla goes with everything and can enhance so many other desserts and treats. As popular as vanilla ice cream is, cookies and cream is being scooped up more and more, and is the most popular flavor in 14 different states.

The History of the Ice Cream Truck

On a sweltering day, few things bring relief as immediately as a favorite frozen treat. The United States leads the world in ice cream consumption, with an average of 26 liters per person consumed per year.

Ice cream has been around for quite some time, and it is believed ancient Greeks ate a crude form of the dessert as early as the 5th century B.C. While ice cream parlors, dessert shops and supermarket freezers are popular places to sample favorite flavors, ice cream also can be purchased from ice cream trucks.

The tinkling of the ice cream truck music box and the sight of that dessert haven on wheels is enough to send any child (and many adults) into sensory overload. Some of the early precursors to the modern day ice cream truck were ice and ice cream sandwich carts that gained popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Confectioner and visionary Harry Burt was instrumental in developing the ice cream truck. Burt invented ice cream novelties that could be enjoyed on a stick, including the Good Humor bar. Burt wanted an easy way to deliver the treat into the hands of hungry kids, so he commissioned refrigerator trucks and hired drivers who looked pristine and safe to deliver the treats to neighborhood children. To entice the youngsters outside, the drivers rang a bell so kids would investigate the noise. Eventually the bell and standard routes helped families know when to expect the ice cream man.

Early ice cream trucks may have sold prepackaged treats, but they eventually broadened their offerings. Some turned into mobile ice cream shops, offering soft-serve or hard ice cream in everything from sundaes to cones to shakes.

Many ice cream truck businesses are independently-owned seasonal businesses. The trucks are seen when the first warm days arrive, and many can still be seen patrolling neighborhood streets into late fall.

Gelato - Ice Cream's Italian Cousin

Italians have crafted many delicious foods, helping to popularize pizza and various pasta and seafood dishes. Italians also are no strangers to dessert, as anyone who enjoys cannoli can attest. In the frozen treat arena, Italians present gelato, something similar to ice cream that is creamy and smooth and somehow has less fat than traditional American ice cream.

According to the market research firm Mintel, in the United States, gelato sales rose from $11 million in 2009 to an estimated $214 million in 2014. If a trip to Italy isn't in the budget right now, consumers can get gelato in Italian cafes and bakeries and in the frozen food section of many supermarkets. So what are some other distinctions that make gelato so coveted?

Gelato has less cream content and more milk than American ice cream. It also does not use egg yolks, which are traditionally used in ice cream. Italian gelato contains between 4 and 9 percent butterfat, while the average ice cream contains between 15 and 25 percent. In addition, gelato contains less air, which accounts for its dense, fluid and creamy consistency. The Food Network says that gelato is creamier, silkier and smoother than ice cream. It also is more dense and more elastic. Because gelato is served warmer than American ice cream, it also will not numb the mouth as much, which can make it a more flavorful dessert.

For those who visit a shop to grab some gelato, they'll likely notice it is served with a spade and not a scooper. Spades soften the gelato for serving. Gelato comes in many different flavors, but a popular one is spumoni, which is a molded gelato made traditionally with cherry, pistachio and vanilla gelato and candied fruits and nuts.

Thanks to the intense flavor, extra creaminess and a silky, Dense texture of gelato, more and more people are looking to it when craving a refreshing dessert.

Italians also are no strangers to dessert, as anyone who enjoys cannoli can attest. In the frozen treat arena, Italians present gelato, something similar to ice cream that is creamy and smooth and somehow has less fat than traditional American ice cream.

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