With the summer heat of July upon us,
many turn to ice cream to stay cool. Ice cream is fun and nutritious food,
enjoyed by most Canadians and many people worldwide. With all its
and variants, ice cream has evolved into one of the world’s most popular
desserts. In fact, July is National Ice Cream Month in the United States in
honour of America’s favorite sweet.
A flavoured frozen dairy food, ice cream
is made up of milk fat or butterfat, milk solids, flavouring, sweeteners,
stabilizers, emulsifiers, and water. Ice cream can even be considered a
complete meal, containing important nutrients such as protein,
carbohydrates, and calcium. With only slight variation in the ingredients
and preparation of ice cream, other specialized and popular frozen desserts
are made. These include frozen custard, sherbet, gelato, sorbet, and frozen
Ice cream flavours are available in an
endless variety. Popular flavours include vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan,
strawberry, Neapolitan, cherry, coconut, and coffee, to name just a few.
With ice cream flavours only limited by the imagination, one shouldn’t be
surprised to discover that in some countries, ice cream shops sell unusual
flavours such as garlic, mashed potatoes and bacon, tuna fish, and mustard.
I prefer to stick with my favorite ice cream flavour – plain chocolate.
The early history of ice cream is not
clear. There is simply not enough evidence to support any one of the
existing stories. A somewhat popular account suggests that Marco Polo saw
sherbet being made while visiting China, around the 13th
century. Upon his return, he introduced the recipe to Italy. The myth
continues with Italian chefs, in 1533, taking this magical recipe to
France. Soon after that, the recipe evolved into ice cream.
Evidence shows that following
subsequent developments in France and England, ice cream eventually became
available in Europe to the general public by about 1660. In North America,
however, ice cream surfaced over 100 years later with the first
advertisement for ice cream in the United States, appearing in the New York
Gazette on May 12, 1777. Only later to become available in Canada when
Thomas Webb, a confectioner in Toronto, started selling ice cream to
Canadians around 1850.
Nowadays, the United States leads the
world in annual production quantity of ice cream and related desserts.
China is second, with Canada in third place. The per capita consumption of
ice cream and related desserts, however, is surprising. New Zealanders lead
the world in per capita consumption, while the Americans are a close
second. Both Canadians and Australians are tied in third spot.
So, go ahead! Choose your favorite ice
cream and enjoy it in a cone, a cup, or a bowl.
For reference and further reading,
check these Websites:
Ice Cream Month
Cream is Made
July is National Ice
Ice Cream History and Folklore
Screaming for Ice Cream
Try the following quiz based on the above reading.
Answers are provided.
Ice cream is
a and c
National Ice Cream Month is
Ice cream may be
considered a complete meal because it contains
A frozen dessert
made similarly to ice cream is not
5. The variety of ice cream flavors
a) is limited to 17 flavors
b) is not limited
c) contains only sweet flavors
d) includes only sour flavors
6. There __________________ interpretation of the
early history of ice cream.
a) is only one
b) are more than one
7. The earliest form of ice cream likely
d) The United States
8. The sequence of ice cream becoming available to the
a) First in Canada, second in
Europe, and third in the United States
b) First in Europe, second in
Canada, and third in the United States
c) First in Europe, second in the
United States, and third in Canada
States leads the world both in annual production quantity, and in per capita
consumption, of ice cream and related desserts.
c) Can’t be
determined from the reading.
The country with
the greatest consumption, per person, of ice cream and related desserts is
Answers: 1-d. 2-c. 3-d. 4-c. 5-b. 6-b. 7-a. 8-c.
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Summer Solstice (June 21, 2006)
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