Skip To Content

    17 Things You Might Not Know About Ice Cream

    Ice cream sure has come a long way since it was flavored with whale vomit.

    1. The waffle cone was created at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis when Abe Doumar, a traveling salesman, encouraged an ice cream vendor to serve their ice cream on rolled waffles made by another nearby vendor when they ran out of paper dishes.

    2. The first known ice cream recipe was handwritten in the recipe book of Lady Anne Fanshawe in 1665, and it was flavored with orange flower water, mace, or ambergris – an intestinal slurry puked up by sperm whales.

    3. Chocolate ice cream was invented long before vanilla, and the first documented recipe for it appeared in the book The Modern Steward, published in Italy in 1692.

    4. Vanilla ice cream may be the default flavor today, but it was quite exotic and rare in the late 1700s, as vanilla was difficult to acquire before the mid-19th century.

    5. Many ice cream flavors popular in the colonial era in the United States are still mainstays – vanilla, strawberry, pistachio, coffee – but others, like oyster, parmesan, and asparagus – didn't have staying power.

    6. The Häagen-Dazs brand was established by two Americans – Reuben and Rose Mattus – and the name was made up to sound Danish and sophisticated. The Danish language does not actually use umlauts.

    7. Ben & Jerry's was the first company to sell chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in 1991, and the flavor was created based on an anonymous suggestion on a board in their Burlington, Vt., shop.

    8. Food photographers frequently use modified mashed potatoes as a stand-in for actual ice cream in photos.

    9. An "ice cream headache" happens because the nerve endings on the roof of your mouth are not used to being cold, and they send a message to your brain signaling a loss of body heat.

    10. Apple pie a la mode was invented at the Cambridge Hotel in New York when a customer named Professor Charles Watson Townshend regularly ordered ice cream with his apple pie. Another diner, Berry Hall, coined the dish's name.

    11. Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavors are full of chunky mix-ins in part because co-founder Ben Cohen has no sense of scent, and a lot of his pleasure in ice cream comes from its texture.

    12. The sundae was invented when soda jerks in the late 1890s bowed to criticism from religious leaders for serving "sinfully" rich ice cream sodas on Sundays. They started serving the ice cream and syrups without soda water and called it a "sundae."

    13. Dreyer's and Edy's are the same brand, but the latter name is used in the East and midwestern United States, and the former is used in the West and Texas.

    The brand was founded by Joseph Edy and William Dreyer, and originally known as Edy's Grand Ice Cream. When their partnership dissolved, Dreyer took over and changed the name. The Edy's name was revived to avoid confusion with the popular Breyer's brand on the East Coast.

    14. Hawaiian Punch was originally created and marketed as a syrup intended as an ice cream topping, but it became more popular mixed with water as a drink.

    15. Professional ice cream taste-testers use special gold spoons which allow the tester to taste the product with virtually no trace of flavor left over from what was last on the spoon.

    16. Blue Bell Creamery and Dreyer's/Edy's both claim to have invented cookies and cream ice cream, and there is no substantial proof as to which brand was actually first.

    17. The earliest versions of Neapolitan ice cream were made of green pistachio, white vanilla, and red cherry ice cream and was made to resemble the Italian flag.