Want a good reason to indulge in ice cream? Here it is: Today, August 19 is Soft Ice Cream Day.
Soft and hard ice cream are made with the same ingredients, but soft ice cream has less milk fat and more air, making it more delicate and smoother.
Ice cream magnate Tom Carvel discovered soft ice cream by accident. Carvel was driving his ice cream truck on Memorial Day weekend in 1934, when a flat tire stranded him by the side of a road. He knew his product — and profits —were melting, so as vacationers drove by, he sold them the softened ice cream. They loved it.
Within two years, in the midst of the Great Depression, he had patented a super low-temperature ice cream machine, created a secret formula ice cream and opened an ice cream store on the site where his truck broke down.
Ice cream was especially popular during the Depression. Money was tight, but ice cream cones cost only a nickel. Then, as now, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate were popular ice cream flavors.
About that time, a candy maker, Joseph Edy, and ice cream maker, William Dreyer, collaborated to add marshmallow bits and walnuts to chocolate ice cream, and named it Rocky Road, a reference to the difficult times.
Also in the 1930s in Sicily, rum-soaked raisins were added to gelato to create another enduring flavor, Rum Raisin. Gelato is similar to soft ice cream, in that it has less milk fat than traditional ice cream.
Making ice cream is a time-honored family tradition.These books offer instruction and and ideas:
— The Homemade Ice Cream Recipe Book: Old-Fashioned All-American Treats for Your Ice Cream Maker, by food writer Robin Donovan. Published by RockRidge Press.
— The Perfect Scoop, Revised and Updated: 200 Recipes for Ice Creams, Sorbets, Gelatos, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments by David Leibovitz. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House.
— Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer. Published by Artisan, a division of Workman Publishing
America’s Favorite Ice Cream Flavors
- Cookies N’ Cream
- Mint Chocolate Chip
- Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
- Buttered Pecan
- Cookie Dough
- Moose Tracks
What is your favorite flavor?
Marilyn Ostermiller is a long-time journalist who delights in cooking, baking and trying unusual flavors of ice cream.