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We all scream for ice cream

Published July 27. 2013 09:03AM

President Ronald Reagan (old Mr. Sweet Tooth Cowboy himself) designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. That alone should get his face carved on Mount Rushmore. But wait. He took it one step further by naming the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day.

In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

So, did you observe National Ice Cream Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities last Sunday?

We did. We went to a local ice cream stand, LynDee's. I celebrated with a CMP with soft vanilla ice cream, no whipped cream. Harry had his favorite of a cone of double scoop frozen yogurt raspberry with cashews. Mom had a wet walnut sundae, Diane, a twist cone, George a chocolate hot fudge sundae and Abby had Diane's cone.

I can't say I eat a lot of ice cream. I rarely buy it for home unless there's a birthday. But I do love a vanilla custard from Rita's, or a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup sundae from King Kone.

Now my grandmother, Laura Smith, was the Queen of Ice Cream. To Mammy, every day was National Ice Cream Day. She'd buy one of those 5-quart tubs every week. That's over a gallon of ice cream. I don't know how many times a day she ate ice cream, but I know she had it every night before she went to bed.

While all that ice cream can't be healthy for you, there wasn't anybody in our family who was going to tell the 98-year-old woman who weighed 90 lbs. that she shouldn't eat that much of it.

Heck, her last 10-15 years she lived on pizza, cookies, pie and ice cream. She never went to the doctor and didn't take a pill for anything. I don't know about you, but if I live to be that old, nobody better try to take my Coke and cheesesteak out of my mouth, either.

Anyway, I did a little research about ice cream. Here are some cool ice cream facts:

• The ice cream industry in America generates total revenues of $10 billion a year. (Maybe the U.S. government should get into the ice-cream making business.)

• The Roman Emperor Nero (54-68 A.D.) had ice and snow brought to him from the mountains, which he stored in special rooms under his palace so that he could top it with fruit to enjoy. (Now I'm not saying my mom's as old as Nero, but she tells us "We were so poor" stories about growing up in the Depression. They were so poor, they made ice cream out of snow. Of course they were real careful not to scoop up any of that "yellow" snow.)

• Marco Polo (1254-1324) tried ice cream while exploring China and brought the idea back to his native Italy. (The beginning of Italian Ice? Was his wife's name Rita?)

• Ice cream was introduced to America in the 1700s, but was a rare and exotic dessert enjoyed mostly by those of status and wealth. (With price increases of today, it might not be too long before again only the wealthy can afford to eat it.)

• Immigrants at Ellis Island were served ice cream as part of their first meal in America. (Ahhh. The REAL reason why so many people wanted to move to America!)

• The United States has the world's highest per capita consumption of ice cream, with each American consuming an average of 48 pints per year. (Guess Mammy was not your average consumer since she must have ingested over 520 pints a year! She was a walking, talking ice cream cone!)

• California produces more ice cream than any other state. (Bet they have cannabis flavored ice cream.)

• The Northern Central states have the highest per capita consumption of ice cream. (Pennsylvania lost that status after Mammy passed away.)

• More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week. (That's because years ago a family tradition started when you piled the kids into the car to go for a Sunday ride, where the kids would drive the parents nuts with "Where are we going?" "Are we there yet?" "Mom, she's touching me!" So parents stopped at an ice cream stand and shoved ice cream cones in their mouths to shut them up. No? Your parents didn't do that? Mooooommmmm!)

• The world record for Largest Ice Cream Scoop Pyramid is held by Carvel. The pyramid was constructed of 3,894 scoops in 2002. (I figured out that there are about 32 scoops per gallon and if Mammy bought one of those five-quart containers each week, it came out to 2,080 scoops a year. Darn. I was hoping she might have been in the running for eating a pyramid.)

• It takes an average of 50 licks to finish one scoop of ice cream. (Well. We'll just have to have a family Lick-a-thon to see who can eat one the fastest in how many licks. My bet's on Jennie Rose. She's so competitive!)

• It takes 12 lbs. of milk to make just one gallon of ice cream. (So in a year's time, Mammy consumed 780 lbs. of milk, in ice cream alone. What a woman!)

• The biggest ice cream sundae in history was made in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, in 1988, and weighed in at over 24 tons. (Hmmm. So, that's why Mammy and Pappy went there on vacation that year and came home and said, "I can't believe I ate the whole thing.")

• Vanilla is America's favorite ice cream flavor and chocolate syrup is the country's most-popular topping. (Amen!)

• Age does not diminish the extreme disappointment of having a scoop of ice cream fall from the cone. (All those who scooped it back up and ate it, raise your hand!)

• "Brain freeze" is triggered when ice cream touches the roof of your mouth, causing blood vessels in the head to dilate. (Hmmm. Maybe that's why Mammy always had that surprised deer-in-the-headlights look. She was probably in a state of a perpetual "Brain freeze." Which would explain a lot.)

Well, kids, it's July 27. You have five more days left to celebrate National Ice Cream Month. Now get out there and start licking and screaming. Screaming? You know, "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ICE CREAM!"

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