When you think of summer, a lot of things probably come to mind – sunshine, traveling, backyard barbeques. But perhaps one of the most characteristic items of the summer months is ice cream: the sweet, delicious treat that millions of people enjoy worldwide. While it is now an American staple, have you ever wondered where and when ice cream became popular?

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the consumption of ice cream may date back to the second century B.C. In fact, there are multiple accounts of historic figures like Alexander the Great and Greek emperor, Nero Claudius Cesar, consuming a sweet treat made from snow and natural sweeteners. While these desserts may not have been well-developed, they laid the basis for modern ice cream.

By the 1600s, ice cream as a dessert was in full swing. Countries like England, Italy, and France all developed their own versions of creamy frozen treats and the popularity of ice cream began to explode throughout Europe. It wasn’t until 1744 when ice cream was introduced in America and became an instant sensation, mainly for the wealthy; however, by the mid-19th century, ice cream became more affordable and all Americans were able to enjoy this dessert on a regular basis.

With new technological advances, Americans were able to innovate and continue improving the taste and texture of ice cream. By 1944, ice cream became about as American as baseball. During World War II, military branches would try to outdo each other by serving ice cream to their troops. When the war was finally over, Americans once again turned to the sweet icy treat to celebrate victory. The dessert quickly became of staple of America and a symbol of summer.

With this in mind, it is no mystery why in 1984, President Ronald Reagan made the official decision to designate July as National Ice Cream Month for all Americans to celebrate. Since this declaration, ice cream companies, organizations, and citizens have centered fun events like picnics and parades around the nearly universal love for ice cream.

In honor of this lighthearted month, the Madison Senior Center will be holding an ice cream social sponsored by Vista West. You can help us celebrate National Ice Cream Month by enjoying a sundae and some fun sing-along music by the Sunshine Sisters on Thursday, July 21 from 1 – 2 pm. There will be a lot of delicious toppings to choose from when you build your own sundae. Weather permitting we will be outside in the courtyard.

We also have a few community-based ice cream socials coming up with our community senior living partners. On July 19 we will be out at Fisher Taft  apartments, July 26 we will be out at Romnes apartments and on August 4 we have our ice cream social with Segoe Terrace.

The Madison Senior Center makes sure to celebrate National Ice Cream Month, and so should you. So, whether you love decadent sundaes or a plain and simple scoop, make sure you embrace National Ice Cream Month and check out some July ice cream events!



Ice cream cones

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