Ice cream

I do love me some ice cream, but I have some concerns.

First off, these new monster milkshakes. People are taking a perfectly good milkshake and stacking great gobs of who-knows-what on top of it: entire chocolate bars, popcorn balls, mini muffins, slices of cake. I’ve seen a milkshake topped with an ice cream sandwich. It’s like we’re living in the last days of the Roman Empire.

Granted, this is not as bad as last year’s trend of activated-charcoal ice cream. It was black. It turned your teeth black, too.

Don’t get me started on cake cones vs. sugar cones. I really do not like sugar cones, but I can never remember which is which, so I frequently wind up ordering the wrong one.

Humans have always had a taste for cold, sweet stuff. The ancient Greeks used to eat snow with honey. The ancient Chinese ate a frozen concoction of milk and rice.

By the 1500s, the Italians were making flavored ices they called sorbetto. By the 1700s, the British were making ice cream, freezing fruits in pots of cream. It was the Quakers who brought ice cream to America.

The ice cream soda came along in the 1870s, followed not long after by the ice cream sundae. Towns in New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio and Louisiana all claim to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. Nobody knows for sure. Also, nobody knows why it’s spelled with an e, not even the Oxford English Dictionary.

Soft-serve ice cream came along in 1938 and was served at the very first Dairy Queen in Illinois.

I want to be the Dairy Queen. How would I apply for that?

There really were a Mr. Baskin and a Mr. Robbins. Burt and Irv, respectively. They were brothers-in-law running separate ice cream shops in California who decided to merge in 1953. They really did start with 31 flavors, one for every day of the month.

Ben and Jerry are also real people. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started an ice cream parlor in 1978 in Vermont, and proceeded to make good ice cream and bad puns. “Cherry Garcia.” Really?

Blue Bell has a real cow named Belle.

But there’s no such place as Haagen-Dazs. I always thought Haagen-Dazs was this super fancy ice cream imported from Norway. Nope. The company was founded in 1959 in New York City by a man named Reuben Mattus, who just made up the words “haagen” and “dazs.”

There is a real thing in Norway where on May 17 you are allowed to eat as much ice cream as you want. Can we import that?

In Italy, they cool off with gelato, which is made with milk instead of cream, and is denser and smoother than ice cream.

In Iran, they chill with faloodeh, an ancient dessert made with frozen noodles, rose water and lime juice.

In Mexico, they eat paletas — popsicles with fresh fruit.

In Thailand, they eat i tim pad, a rolled ice cream sold by street vendors.

In Russia, they eat plombir, ice cream that’s heavy on the eggs.

In Germany, they eat … wait for it … spaghettieis. It’s an ice cream dish made to look like a plateful of spaghetti. Vanilla ice cream is run through a noodle maker, then topped with red strawberry sauce and shaved white chocolate.

No matter where you eat it or what you call it, one thing unites humanity in our shared love of cold treats.


Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.