“We All Scream for Ice Cream!”

“Fun Facts Saturday”

Everybody loves ice cream.

I grew up in an ice cream loving family. “If you don’t love ice cream, you’re not a London.” Our family campouts had to be within walking distance of a Tastee-Freez. My parents handmade extra creamy fresh strawberry ice cream for family gatherings.

When I was a child, our family ordered 5 cents-a-scoop ice cream cones at the Sav-On drugstore.  We all picked chocolate, except my sister, who ordered vanilla.  I felt compelled to explain her “abnormal” behavior to the store clerk, and so I blurted out, “Her teeth are upside down!”

History of Ice Cream

  • Ice cream was invented in the 7th century A.D. in ChinaEmperor Tang enjoyed a mixture of buffalo milk, ice, and camphor.
  • Marco Polo introduced ice cream to Europe in the 13th century upon his return to Italy from China.
  • In 1774, a British confectioner introduced ice cream to America.

Ice Cream and the Founders

Thomas Jefferson

  • Although Thomas Jefferson did not introduce ice cream to America, as some people believe, he is credited with the first known ice cream recipe recorded by an American.
  • Jefferson helped popularize ice cream by serving it during his presidency.

George Washington

  • George Washington loved “iced cream.”
  • In the summer of 1790, he spent the equivalent of $5,000 on ice cream.
  • Ice cream was compatible with his false teeth.
  • Washington dug a private “ice well,” 18’ deep by 16’ wide, along the Potomac River at his Mount Vernon home, so he could have ice cream year round.  
  • Washington ordered 36 custom pottery “ice pots” and 2 pewter pots to serve ice cream.  

Dolley Madison

  • In 1813, Dolley Madison served a crowd-pleasing strawberry ice cream creation at President Madison’s inaugural celebration at the White House.

Flavors: Popular and Disgusting

  • The most popular flavors are (1) vanilla, (2) chocolate, (3) strawberry. (Neapolitan flavors.)
  • Vanilla and chocolate make up 52% of total sales
  • Chocolate syrup is the most popular topping
  • In Tokyo, you can find ice cream flavored with octopus, shrimp, horseflesh, and cow tongue.
  • A shop in Maine serves a butter-flavored ice cream with chunks of lobster meat.
  • A Philadelphia parlor serves a pizza-flavored ice cream.
  • Other “disgusting” flavors: hot dog, avocado, garlic, chili, oyster, asparagus, Parmesan cheese, and bacon.

Ice Cream Consumption

  • The top ice cream eaters in the world: Americans, New Zealanders, Australians, Norwegians
  • Nebraska, not Utah, consumes the most ice cream per capita in the U.S.
  • The most profitable day for ice cream sales is Sunday
  • Ice cream sales increase during times of recession and war

Ice Cream Helped Win WW II

  • During WW II, the U.S. military was the world’s largest maker of ice cream. 
  • Ice cream was so important to morale that refrigerated barges were fitted, at a cost of $1 million, with ice cream freezers that could make 500 gallons a day.
  • Sailors aboard the sinking aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington, abandoned ship only after breaking into the freezer, and scooping all the ice cream into their helmets.
  • Bomber crews put ice cream ingredients in buckets strapped to the tail gunner’s compartment.  When they returned from bombing raids, the high altitude had frozen the ice cream, and it was churned smooth by the engine vibrations, turbulence, and machine gun fire.


  • Ice cream cones were invented during the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.  The ice cream vendor ran out of cups.  The adjacent waffle vendor suggested putting ice cream in cone shape waffles.
  • One ice cream cone takes an average of 50 licks

“Ice Cream Headache” “Brain Freeze

  • Ice cream headaches,” or “brain freezes,” are caused by sensitive nerves in the roof of the mouth designed to protect the brain. First, the nerves constrict to fight off the cold.  Then, the nerves dilate, causing warm blood to rush to the area.
  • The “brain freeze” is temporary (30 seconds – 2 minutes) and does not cause permanent damage.
  • Dogs get “brain freeze,” so be careful.
  • “Brain freeze” can be stopped by removing the cold object, pressing your tongue or thumb on the roof of your mouth, or drinking warm water.
  • Some people believe that “brain freeze” can trigger a migraine.  Others believe that “brain freeze” can stop a migraine.  Neither theory is proven.

“Ice Cream” Song: “We All Scream for Ice Cream”

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream,” is part of a novelty song, “Ice Cream, from the 1920s. The song is about a fictional college in “the land of ice and snow, up among the Eskimo.” The college cheer is: “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream”. Here are the words:

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Tuesdays, Mondays, we all scream for sundaes.

Boola-boola, sarsaparoolla.
If you’ve got chocolate, we’ll take vanoola.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
Rah! Rah! Rah!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Frosted, malted, or peppered and salted.

Oh, spumoni, oh, tartoni.
And confidentially, oh, no baloney.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.
Rah! Rah! Rah!

No wonder, no one knows all the words to the “Ice Cream” song!

Guinness World Record Sundae

(See: “Ice Cream,” Wikipedia; “The History of Ice Cream,” International Dairy Foods Association, www.idfa.org; “Ice Cream History,” www.icecreamhistory.net; “Ice Cream: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello,” http://www.monticello.org; “The long strange tale of ice cream in America,” Genelle Levy, 9 Sep 2018, USA Today; “How Ice Cream Helped America at War,” Matt Seigel, The Atlantic, 6 Aug 2017).

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