National Ice Cream Sundae Day
annually on July 8th
Ice cream sundaes—which are ice cream desserts with one or more scoops of ice cream with sauces or syrups, often with other toppings such as fruits, maraschino cherries, nuts, sprinkles, and whipped cream—are enjoyed on National Ice Cream Sundae Day. The "classic" ice cream sundae has vanilla ice cream topped with a flavored sauce or syrup, such as chocolate or strawberry, as well as whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Some variations of the sundae include the banana split, knickerbocker glory, turtle sundae, and tin roof sundae. Sundaes are also often topped with heated sauces or syrups such as hot fudge, butterscotch, and caramel.
There are a few stories as to how and where ice cream sundaes got their start. One says they got their start in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, in 1881. There, George Hallauer ordered an ice cream dish at Ed Berner's soda fountain. His dish gained popularity, and other nearby fountains began serving it. It was George Giffy, who owned a fountain in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, who decided to serve it only on Sundays—hence the name it received.
Another story says that in Evanston, Illinois, in the 1890s, moralists were speaking out against drinking soda water on the Sabbath. In response, confectioners decided to create "Sundays," which had ice cream and flavored syrups instead of soda water. Another early name for the dessert was "Soda-less Soda." In order to remove any connection to the Sabbath, "Sundays" eventually became known as "sundaes."
Other cities have claimed to be the originator of the ice cream sundae, including Ann Arbor, Michigan; Ithaca, New York; Norfolk, Virginia; and Washington, D.C. No matter where they were created, they were wildly popular by the turn of the twentieth century and were served in dishes shaped like tulips that became known as sundae glasses. Around this time, many variations of the ice cream sundae were created as well.
How to Observe
Celebrate the day by having an ice cream sundae at a restaurant or ice cream parlor, or make one at home! Here are some recipes you could try:
- classic sundae
- banana split
- knickerbocker glory
- turtle sundae
- tin roof sundae (also known as a black and white sundae)