First of all, if you want your heart to cry of cuteness you need to watch that video. I think every parent remembers their kid’s reaction to their first bite of ice cream. Even if you don’t personally remember that first bite, you sure as hell know it made an impact because x amount of years later, you’re still indulging in the tasty treat. My parents have a great picture of mine from my 1st birthday where I’m staring longingly at a bowl of half eaten chocolate ice cream with the other half smeared on my face. Now, I’m lactose intolerant. I take a pill so I can eat ice cream. I love it too much.
Apart from the fact that we can all agree that ice cream is delicious, let’s talk about what makes it THE American food. First of all, it transcends class. I was sitting on my stoop on Sunday when I heard that magical jingle in the distance and I BOLTED for that ice cream truck. I waited in line with North Philadelphia kids ages ranging from 3 to probably 14. The cone costs 2 dollars. What else in the world still costs 2 dollars. It’s what you get on your first date and your fiftieth. It’s what grandpa takes the kids to get when mom and dad want the afternoon off – and then drops them off at home when they’re bouncing off the wall from sugar. It’s the only food you want to eat when you get your wisdom teeth out. It’s what we eat a pint of with a bottle of wine when our boyfriends dump us and we need a girls night. Ice cream is associated with so many rituals. Getting an ice cream cone or participating in one of these ice cream rituals is usually paired with a special moment that we remember.
Ice cream comes from milk which comes from cows. We all know the best ice cream shops are the ones where the ice cream is homemade…i.e. Franklin Fountain near Penn’s Landing. The line is always out the door on a nice day half because it was featured as one of the best ice cream shops on the popular Man Vs. Food Discovery channel show and half because it’s actually delicious. Franklin Fountain tries to this small town colonial America shop where your guaranteed everything is fresh. It invokes nostalgia. There’s this place where I’m from in Lancaster called Oregon Dairy on a farm where you can literally watch workers milk the cows before they give you ice cream. It’s American simplicity and the want to know where your food is coming from. The cow is a symbol of capitalism. There’s this whole “you have two cows” paradox to explain different kinds of capitalism I’ve linked here to further explain. http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/jokes/bljokecowspolitics.htm.
The first advertisement for ice cream was in the the New York Gazette on May 2nd, 1777.Ice cream has been around as long as America. A Huffington Post article said that George Washington spent roughly $200 on ice cream the summer of 1790. The American love of ice cream persists through generations. The International Dairy Foods Association said that speciality ice cream stores have surged in popularity in recent years for two fold reason. One, they are attractive to people who remember those soda fountain shops in the 1950s. Two, they draw a new generation of ice cream fans who crave the simplicity of main street and small town America. It’s a nostalgic treat. It’s deliciously simple. We’ve made it so American.