Wednesday, July 24, 2019

We All Scream For Ice Cream (and Oysters)


"Illinois wants more girls.  Open some free ice cream booths and you'll fetch 'em"  -Burlington Free Press 1884

 Ice cream might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Old West, but as early as 1880, ice cream parlors were all the rage and began springing up in the most out of the way places.

Marshal Wyatt Earp was an ice cream devotee and every afternoon he headed for the Tombstone ice cream parlor on Fourth Street.  It’s not hard to imagine that he was on his way to enjoy his favorite sundae when he got sidetracked by the shootout at O.K. Corral.  He didn’t drink, but he sure did love his ice cream.  He wasn’t alone.

"That was the best ice-cream soda I ever tasted." (Last words). -Lou Costello           
Ice Cream parlors were popular throughout the west and some frontier towns had more than one.   Many restaurants, hotels and inns advertised Ice Cream and Oysters. Fortunately, the two weren’t served together; ice cream was the summer treat and oysters was a winter delicacy. 

Some parlors were quite fancy.  One in San Antonio advertised plush carpets, oak furnishings and stained-glass windows, but ice cream was also sold out of wagons (the first good humor men?) and tents.  Churches also got into the act and Ice cream socials rapidly grew in popularity.
Nothing Says Love Like Ice Cream
Many a young man courted his lady love at an ice cream parlor. A Texas newspaper in the 1880s had this advice: “Love takes away the appetite.  If the woman of your dreams is on her third dish of ice cream, she’s not in love with you.”

The same newspaper also announced the wedding of couple who knew each other only fifteen minutes before tying the knot. But a successful marriage was assured as both had a passion for ice cream.

Then as now, the most popular flavor was vanilla.  Ice cream was flavored by fruit and even chocolate, but there were some strange flavors too (Avocado ice cream, anyone?)

Toward the end of 1880s, newspapers began issuing warnings against overindulging in that “insidious foe of health” ice cream, but as far as I could tell no one paid heed and no such warning seemed to exist for oysters.

So Where Did All That Ice Come From?

Before the train, ice was wrapped in sawdust and transported by wagons.  By the late 1880s, Tombstone had two ice companies; the Arctic Ice (two cents a pound) and the Tombstone Ice company (one and half cents per pound).

“Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.”-Voltaire

According to 23&me, people with my DNA prefer chocolate ice cream. Well, they got that right. So tell me your favorite ice cream flavor and I'll tell you your personality type,  and you don't even have to send me your DNA!  

Margaret's New Book


  1. Right now our local ice cream shop has a Butter Brickle Crunch that I can't find anywhere else. Rich and creamy, with lots of crunchy brickle and a subtle maple flavor. My husband got me hooked on it this year. Thanks for the post!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Hi Connie, according to Dreyer's, people who love this ice cream are devoted, conscientious, and respectful.

  2. Loved this post. I love Chocolate mint.If I go out for ice cream I get a Brownnie sundae or a Turtle sundae. And if they offer chocolate mint as a flavor to add-you betcha.

  3. According to a Dreyer's study, chocolate mint lovers are ambitious, confident and (oh, oh) argumentative. But, of course, only a husband would agree with the latter.

  4. This is a wonderful post. I love Vanilla Bean. I think because I can put so much yummy fresh fruit on top. Or when I make it myself, I can include fresh fruit into it.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    1. Lori, according to the ice cream experts, you are a risk-taker. You're also good-humored and independent.

    2. Fun. Well I am not a risk taker. I am very good humored. I am independent. So two out of three is not bad. Thanks

  5. I have several favorites: Braums Cherries, Pecan & Cream and their chocolate chip. I also like Blue Bell's Rocky Road, home style vanilla, and cherry vanilla. Good luck figuring out my DNA by that!

  6. Vickie, all I can say is, you are a well-rounded personality!