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  Weekly Feature (July 9, 2006)

Anyone for Ice Cream?Anyone for Ice Cream?



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 flavours 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 yogurt

 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:

National Ice Cream Month

How Ice Cream is Made

July is National Ice Cream Month

Ice Cream History and Folklore

Screaming for Ice Cream


Try the following quiz based on the above reading.  Answers are provided.


Quiz on “Anyone for Ice Cream?”

1.       Ice cream is

a)       nutritious

b)       a warmer

c)       fun

d)       a and c


2.       America’s National Ice Cream Month is

a)       March

b)       December

c)       July

d)       January


3.       Ice cream may be considered a complete meal because it contains

a)       milk fat

b)       water

c)       emulsifiers

d)       important nutrients


4.       A frozen dessert made similarly to ice cream is not

a)       sherbet

b)       gelato

c)        lemon cake

d)       frozen yogurt


       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 originated in

                    a)     China

                    b)     Canada

                    c)     Egypt

                    d)    The United States

                     e)    Italy


8.     The sequence of ice cream becoming available to the public was:

                   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


9.        The United States leads the world both in annual production quantity, and in per capita consumption, of ice cream and related desserts.

          a)    True

         b)     False

         c)     Can’t be determined from the reading.


10.     The country with the greatest consumption, per person, of ice cream and related desserts is

a)       Australia

b)       United States

c)       New Zealand

d)       China
















Answers: 1-d.  2-c.  3-d.  4-c.  5-b.  6-b.  7-a.  8-c.  9-b.  10-c.


Visit Last Week's Feature:

Summer Solstice (June 21, 2006)

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