Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I(ce) scream...you scream?

Despite the fact that strawberries are my favorite fruit and ice cream is my favorite dessert, I rarely mix the two for some odd reason, unless it's included in the triumvirate of flavors known as Neapolitan ice cream. Tonight, though, I'm ditching the chocolate and vanilla and digging into a bowl of strawberry-only ice cream. And why not? It's National Strawberry Ice Cream Day, after all.
Apparently there are some pretty enthusiastic celebrants of this food holiday. A quick Internet search showed a range of memorabilia out there related to Strawberry Ice Cream Day. Think I'm lying? Check out this mug, for example.
Moving on, if you're worried about the calories, look on the bright side - this could count as one of the USDA's recommended daily fruit servings. For those unaware, there are several health benefits attached to eating strawberries. First off, they contain a range of nutrients and contain significant levels of antioxidants. They are also an excellent source of vitamins C, K and manganese, as well as folic acid, potassium, riboflavin, magnesium and more. And if that's not enough, chew on this: they help prevent rheumatoid arthritis.

For those in search of a lower-calorie, sugar-free strawberry ice cream, here's a delicious recipe utilizing sucralose.

Before I let you go, here's some random ice cream trivia courtesy of Lee Wardlaw, author of "We All Scream for Ice Cream: The Scoop on America's Favorite Dessert." Maybe it will come in handy during a game of Trivial Pursuit one day. Stranger things have happened, right?

* The United States makes over 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream a year. That's enough for every man, woman, and child in America to eat 184 single scoop cones: one a day for each of us for almost six months!
* Iced dairy products made from the milk of horse, buffalo, yak, camel, cow and goat first appeared during the T'ang Dynasty in China (618-907 A.D.). King T'ang himself relished an iced-milk dish called kumiss. The frosty concoction included rice, flour, and "dragon's eyeball powder" - better known today as camphor, a chemical taken from the wood of an evergreen tree.
* Café Procope became the world's first restaurant to serve ice cream when it opened its doors in 1686. The Paris café dished up chocolate, vanilla and strawberry - considered exotic flavors back then. Today, you can still buy your old favorites there, more than three hundred years after the first scoop was served!
* The first recorded reference to ice cream in the New World was found in a journal entry dated 1744. It described a dinner party at the home of Maryland's governor, Thomas Bladen, who served a dessert of ice cream made with milk and strawberries.
* American presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all loved ice cream. During the summer of 1790, Washington ordered $200 worth of the delicious dessert: the equivalent of $96,400 today!
* Jacob Fussell, considered to be the Father of the Ice Cream Industry, opened the first commerical ice cream plant in America in 1851. At that time, the average American ate less than one teaspoon of ice cream a year.
* A teenager named George Hallauer accidentally invented the ice cream sundae in 1881 when he asked a soda jerk to pour chocolate syrup - used in making ice cream sodas - - into his bowl of vanilla ice cream.
* In 1904, at the St. Louis World's Fair, the ice cream cone was popularized by Ernest Hamwi, a waffle vendor. When the ice cream salesman in the booth next to Hamwi's ran out of serving dishes, Hamwi rolled a hot waffle into the shape of a cone, and offered it in place of a dish. The World's Fair "cornucopias" were an instant hit.
* An ice cream shop in Venezuela, Helados Coromoto, is listed in the Guinness book of World Records as serving the most flavors: 550! The specialty of the house is pabellon criollo, which is similar to the national dish of shredded beef, black beans, rice and plantains (a type of banana).
* It takes about 50 licks to eat a single scoop ice cream cone.
* The largest ice cream sundae in the world weighed in at a whopping 54,914 pounds. It was made by Palm Dairies Ltd. of Alberta, Canada, in 1988.
* According to the International Ice Cream Association, more ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week.
* A 19th century law is still on the books today in Newark, New Jersey, which forbids eating ice cream after 6 p.m. without a doctor's approval.

Ten Weirdest Ice Cream Flavors
1. Mashed potato and bacon
2. Tuna fish
3. Fried Pork Rind
4. Chili con Carne
5. Garlic
6. Sauerkraut
7. Horseradish and Beer
8. Mustard
9. Dill Pickle
10. Ketchup

The Five Most Popular Ice Cream Flavors in America

1. Vanilla
2. Chocolate
3. Butter Pecan
4. Strawberry
5. Neapolitan

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