We All Scream for Ice Cream!: The Scoop on America's Favorite Dessert

We All Scream for Ice Cream!: The Scoop on America's Favorite Dessert

by Lee Wardlaw, Sandra Forrest

We eat it in cups or cones. We drink it in sodas or shakes. We like it slathered in hot fudge sauce, wallowing in whipped cream, or balancing atop a slice of pie. We love it all year round.

Ice cream was once so rare and expensive that it was considered the dessert of kings. So, how did this treat for the elite become America's favorite sweet?

  • When did


We eat it in cups or cones. We drink it in sodas or shakes. We like it slathered in hot fudge sauce, wallowing in whipped cream, or balancing atop a slice of pie. We love it all year round.

Ice cream was once so rare and expensive that it was considered the dessert of kings. So, how did this treat for the elite become America's favorite sweet?

  • When did people begin eating ice cream in cones?
  • What mysterious woman invented the ice cream freezer?
  • What is the story behind the Eskimo Pie?
  • Who is the ice cream man with the million-dollar tastebuds?

This flavorful history of everyone's favorite dessert begins in ancient Greece and travels all the way to ice-cream loving, modern-day America. From fun-loving inventors to far-out flavors, you'll discover hundreds of frosty facts—plus how to make your own ice cream, cones, and fudge sauce!

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Every year Americans produce and consume over 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream. That monstrous amount of ice cream would allow every man, woman, and child in the United States to eat twenty three quarts or 185 single dip cones per year. Ice cream is simply the most popular dessert available in America. Yet, ice cream has a long history stretching back to ancient China. It is the history and evolution of ice cream into the hands down favorite American treat that is the primary focus of this book. The author traces the development of ice cream from a combination of fruit and horse milk favored by Kublai Khan in the thirteenth century to the super premium flavors of our own age. Additionally, the evolution of ice cream specialties such as sundaes, banana splits, and Eskimo pies is presented. Readers are also introduced to the marketing techniques which reache back to the street vendors of the nineteenth and early twentieth century known as "hokeypokey men" and forward to the ploys of corporations such as Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen, and Breyers. Although there are many interesting facts and bits of trivia in this book, it may lack an audience. Many people love ice cream, but I suspect that very few will have sufficient interest in the product to read through all the detail of its history. 2000, HarperTrophy, Ages 8 to 12, $4.95. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-In this comprehensive book, Wardlaw details the history of this frozen dessert from ancient times to the present, with lively quotes and anecdotes. Readers learn that at first, only royalty could have ice cream, sending slaves to run to ice-covered mountaintops for the fixings; about Marco Polo's questionable contribution to the dessert's history; and about the introduction of the treat to America. Substantial text is given to the various innovations, inventors, and manufacturers covering how they came up with things such as ice-cream freezers, cones, Eskimo pies, and Good Humor deliveries. This book covers more than Vicki Cobb's The Scoop on Ice Cream (Little, Brown, 1985; o.p.) and could easily be used for reports. Recipes for cones, fudge sauce, and, of course, ice cream are included. The format makes for easy reading, with humorous sidebars and fun poems or quotes introducing each short chapter. Black-and-white photographs, reproductions, and occasional line drawings illustrate the volume.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.15(w) x 7.64(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Ice Screamers

I scream, you scream,
We all scream for Ice Cream.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Tuesdays, Mondays
We all scream for Sundaes.

�— from the popular song "(I Scream — You Scream — We All Scream for) Ice Cream" by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll, and Robert Kin, 1927

Do you scream for ice cream?

If you're like most Americans, you do.

Ice cream is our nation's favorite dessert. We love to sip it in sodas, slurp it in shakes, plop it on cones, nibble it on sticks, and drown it in chocolate syrup Monday through Sundae. We might even eat pizza à la mode, if we could.

And then we'd ask for seconds!

According to the International Ice Cream Association (IICA), the United States makes over 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream a year'enough for every man, woman, and child in America to eat twenty-three quarts.

That equals 184 single-scoop cones: one a day for each of us for almost six months.

A whopping 90% of American families scream for ice cream. Kids between the ages of two and twelve are the biggest screamers, eating more than half of the ice cream sandwiches, bars, and prepackaged cones manufactured each year.

A dish of this sweet, smooth, cold-enough-to-make-your-teeth-hurt dessert has long been recognized as an American tradition. In fact, in 1921 the Commissioner of Ellis Island issued a delicious decree: all immigrants arriving in this country would receive a free scoop of ice cream with their first American meal.

Today we celebrate National Ice Cream Month and National Ice Cream Day in July. Wecrank out about five hundred new ice cream products every year. We produce and eat more ice cream annually than any country in the world . . . enough to fill the Grand Canyon. So you might be surprised to learn that at one time, only presidents and kings ate this frosty treat . . . and that ice cream's tasty origins date back more than two thousand years.

So read on to get the scoop, the whole scoop, and nothing but the scoop about this eleven-billion-dollar industry . . .

. . . and why everyone the world over loves to scream for ice cream.

Stick Out Your Tongue and Say . . . Yum!

Have you ever noticed how delicious a plain glass of cold water, with a tinkling ice cube or two, tastes on a simmering summer afternoon?

Centuries before refrigerators were invented, human beings thirsted for chilled food and drink.

"It is dangerous to heat, cool or make a commotion all of a sudden in the body," warned the Greek doctor Hippocrates (460?�377? b.c.). But few citizens paid attention to the Father of Medicine. "Most men would rather run the hazard of their lives or health," he went on, "than be deprived of the pleasure of drinking out of ice."

Alexander the Great (356�323 b.c.), the King of Macedonia, was one such man. Tales are told of his quest to rule the world'and his passion for iced drinks. Once, during an attack on the city of Petra, Alexander ordered his army to stop the battle and dig thirty trenches, then fill them with snow brought down from the mountains. Branches were laid across the trenches to keep the snow from melting so Alexander's wines, fruits, and juices would stay cold in the hot Jordanian sun.

Roman emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus (a.d. 37�68) had a love for iced drinks and desserts that was as great as his name was long. During his cruel reign as emperor of Rome (a.d. 54�68), Nero often hosted tremendous feasts featuring wines cooled with snow and slushy honey-sweetened juices'the world's first Snow-cone!

Plans for these delicacies had to be made at least a month in advance. Nero would order slaves into the Apennine Mountains to gather snow. The weary servants were then forced to run a brutal relay race back to Rome, carting heavy loads of snow and ice through heat and many miles of treacherous terrain. The barbaric Nero, who thought nothing of killing his mother, his wife, and his teacher, once slaughtered the general in command for allowing the snow to melt before reaching the emperor's table. The slaves were boiled to death.

In this case, Hippocrates was right: frozen foods and drink could be hazardous to your health!

Got Milk?

As far back as five thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks and Eygptians milked goats, cows, and sheep. But foods made from milk, such as cheese and yogurt, did not become common until around 600 b.c. Iced dairy products made from the milk of horse, buffalo, yak, camel, cow, and goat first appeared a thousand years later during the T'ang Dynasty in China (a.d. 618-907).

The T'ang Dynasty is known among historians of the Orient as a Golden Age of learning. Great works of poetry, literature, art, and music flourished in China at this time. Great foods must have flourished also. Emperor T'ang of Shang, founder of the dynasty, had 2,271 people on his palace cooking staff, including 94 "ice men" or ice harvesters.

Since the eighth century b.c., the Chinese had known how to harvest winter ice, storing it and keeping it cold until summer in specially designed icehouses. During the T'ang period, the ice was used for a variety of purposes, including the preparation of a frozen iced-milk product called kumiss.

During the hot, humid months, emperor T'ang relished eating kumiss. To make it, his chefs and ice men worked together. First, they heated or boiled the milk and fermented it. Next it was mixed with rice or flour, then combined with "dragon's eyeball powder" and "dragon's brain fragments." These last two ingredients are better known today as camphor, a chemical taken from the wood of an evergreen tree.

The kumiss was then chilled with ice until almost frozen. The result was a cool, refreshing dish'a distant cousin to the sherbet we eat today.

Meet the Author

Lee Wardlaw is the award-winning author of 20 books for young readers, including Bubblemania: The Chewy History of Bubble Gum and 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA.

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