Unmask the pleasures of ice creamby Troy Bishopp

As the sweet locust blossoms of June attract the bees to their fragrant nectar, so too does the flashing neon cone sign entice folks to “all scream for ice cream.” Licking the frozen dairy treat is like “happiness condensed.”

Ice cream has origins as far back as 400 BCE, when the Persian people would save snow in underground chambers known as “yakhchal.” Grape juice concentrate would be poured over snow in a bowl and eaten as a treat. Through the centuries, it morphed from fruit-based ingredients to using harvested ice mixed with milk, sugar and other insatiable goodies, with dedicated recipes appearing in 18th century England and America.

In 1843, Nancy Johnson of Philadelphia was issued the first U.S. patent for a small-scale hand-cranked ice cream freezer. President Franklin Roosevelt publicly confessed he loved to eat ice cream at least once a day. More ice cream is sold on Sunday than any other day of the week, and 98% of all households purchase ice cream (those with children ages 2-12 and adults aged 45 and over consuming the most).

I’ve tried most of the frozen custards, popsicles, frozen yogurts, sorbets, sherbets, gelatos, Italian ices and even fried ice cream with much pleasure. However, my taste buds really dance when the full-fat, real deal passes over my tongue. I’m no ice cream snob, but there is really no comparison when one consumes the premium product made with butterfat (10 – 16%), real sugar, farm-fresh eggs and, of course, love.

To become knowledgeable about the icy confection, one needs to support as many local parlors and dairy cases as you have money and time for. I have found there is no better experience for enjoying the frozen wonders than to visit a summertime ice cream social or get with a bunch of farmers at a pasture walk and have a “churn off.” If you can’t make friends and have a lively conversation over ice cream topped with chocolate, local berries or a brownie, you might as well give it up.

I truly believe this foundation of sharing a frozen dessert would break a lot of gridlock in Washington, D.C., and should be used as a chief negotiator. We could even come up with new campaigns whereby Dairy Princesses could help mitigate national problems: Conflicts Solved with Cones, Solutions with Sundaes, or my personal favorite, Less Bureaucracy, More Banana Splits.

By now you can see my passion for supporting my local dairy farmers and may wonder what positive attributes this dessert has on my health. Ice cream happens to be a huge source of calcium and vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, D and E. My granddaughter Emmie’s “cream” is packed with minerals, provides energy, stimulates brain function and – perhaps most important – makes people happy especially during the prolonged quarantine. I see enjoying ice cream with the family as a stress reliever to a long day.

Now, if only someone could invent a fool-proof way to keep a large soft serve vanilla cone dipped in chocolate from leaking all over my truck on a 90º day. It really wouldn’t matter, though. My badge of pride on every shirt, whether licking frozen or thawed, is the dribble mark of a joyful eating.

“My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it’s on your plate,” said writer Thornton Wilder.