Its beginning came from an official proclamation issued by President Ronald Reagan, Proclamation 5219, National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day, July 9, 1984. He lauded the contribution of ice cream to the American dairy industry, and called it “the perfect dessert and snack food.”
“I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities,” he said. So it has remained traditionally, the month of July and the third Sunday of the month, in celebration of ice cream.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association, 9% of the milk produced by American dairy farmers is used to make ice cream. Americans consumed an average of 20 quarts per capita in 2010.
Flavored ice treats have been around for hundreds of years. Legend has it that Thomas Jefferson brought ice cream to America, but the early colonists ate it. He may have introduced vanilla (the most popular flavor) after serving as ambassador to France, where frozen ice recipes were published as early as 1674. A recipe for ice cream appeared in an English cookbook in 1718.
If you are interested in ice cream’s history, recipes, specialties (such as The Perfect Scoop, recently reviewed by Mary Beth Newbill), or ice cream in general, take a look at BPL’s resources, and grab a spoon!