Friday, July 5, 2024

Ice Cream History - Fun Facts and Quiz

 By Mary Dodge Allen

July is National Ice Cream month!

Yesterday, many of us enjoyed ice cream as part of our July 4th celebration.

Ice cream waffle cone, (Alamy Stock)

How much do you know about ice cream's history in the U.S.?

Here's a fun 7-question Quiz to test your U.S. Ice Cream History IQ:

(Answers are at the end of the Quiz)

Question 1: Where was ice cream first served in the American colonies?

A - a dinner hosted by John and Abigail Adams

B - a dinner hosted by Maryland's Governor

C - a dinner hosted by Thomas Jefferson

Question 2: The first hand-cranked ice cream freezer was invented by:

A - Philadelphia cookbook author Nancy Johnson in 1843

B - Inventor, Ben Franklin in 1784

C - Jefferson's personal chef, James Hemings in 1807

Question 3: Where was the first ice cream waffle cone served?

A - 1904 St. Louis World's Fair

B - Eddie's Sweet Shop, Queens, NY

C - Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard, IL

Question 4: What is the oldest Ice cream brand in the U.S.?

A - Tillamook Ice Cream

B - Bassetts Ice Cream

C - Blue Bell Ice Cream

Question 5: What is the Least favorite ice cream flavor in the U.S.?

A - Pistachio

B - Cake Batter

C - Neapolitan

Question 6: The U.S. rank in worldwide ice cream consumption, per capita:

A - Second

B - First

C - Fourth

Question 7: Which U.S. President designated July as National Ice Cream month?

A - Jimmy Carter

B - Gerald Ford

C - Ronald Reagan


Question 1: B - a dinner hosted by Maryland's Governor

On May 19, 1744, a colonist names William Black attended a dinner hosted by Maryland's Governor, Thomas Bladen. Black wrote a letter describing, "a Dessert... Among the Rarities... Compos'd [of] some fine Ice Cream... Strawberries and Milk... ate most deliciously."

Question 2: A - Nancy Johnson

Nancy Maria Donaldson Johnson, circa 1875 (Wikipedia)

Nancy Maria Donaldson Johnson obtained a U.S. Patent for the first hand-cranked ice cream freezer in 1843. She was a wife, mother and educator with a lifelong interest in learning and applying principles of science and mechanics in the art of cooking. She wrote a cookbook, entitled: "The American Domestic Cookbook," containing recipes and practical insights into the science of cooking techniques.

The Patent drawing and an ice cream freezer (

Nancy Johnson's innovative hand-cranked freezer eliminated the need to laboriously hand-stir the cream mixture over a bed of ice. A wooden bucket with a salt and ice mixture acted as a cooling agent for a smaller metal bucket placed inside, containing the ice cream mixture. The hand crank was attached to a paddle inside the metal bucket, and the churning action of this paddle produced ice cream with a smoother, creamier texture in a fraction of the time. 

Question 3: A - 1904 St. Louis World's Fair

Waffle ice cream cones, (Alamy Stock)

At the World's Fair, a Syrian vendor, Ernest A. Hamwi was selling a crisp, waffle pastry -- zalabis -- in a booth next to an ice cream vendor. When the ice cream vendor ran out of dishes for his ice cream, Hamwi quickly came up with a solution. He rolled his waffles into cone shapes, let them cool a few seconds and then gave them to the ice cream vendor. The vendor filled the cones with ice cream, and his customers went away happy.

Question 4: B - Bassetts Ice Cream

Based in Philadelphia, Bassetts Ice Cream has been in operation since 1861. It opened its first ice cream shop in 1885.

Question 5: B - Cake Batter

In a recent Newsweek poll, only 2% of Americans chose Cake Batter as their favorite flavor. Only 3% chose Pistachio; and 3% chose Neapolitan.

Question 6: A - Second

The World Atlas ranks these countries as the top 3 in worldwide per capita ice cream consumption:

1. New Zealand, with 28.4 liters (7.5 gallons) per person

2. U.S., with 20.8 liters (5.5 gallons) per person

3. Australia, with 18.0 liters (4.75 gallons) per person

Question 7: C - Ronald Reagan

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month; and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day.

How well did you score on the Quiz?

7 out of 7 = Excellent

5 out of 7 = Very good

3 out of 7 = Not too bad

Less than 3 - No worries... 

Console yourself with a scoop or two of your favorite ice cream, and add your favorite toppings!

Ice cream sundae, (Getty Images)

My Favorite ice cream flavor is Mint Chocolate Chip. What is your Favorite ice cream flavor? What is your Least favorite?

Mary Dodge Allen is the winner of a 2022 Christian Indie Award, a 2022 Angel Book Award, and two Royal Palm Literary Awards (Florida Writer's Association). She and her husband live in Central Florida, where she has served as a volunteer with the local police department. Her childhood in Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, sparked her lifelong love of the outdoors. She has worked as a Teacher, Counselor and Social Worker. Her quirky sense of humor is energized by a passion for coffee and chocolate. She is a member of the Florida Writer's Association, American Christian Fiction Writers and Faith Hope and Love Christian Writers. 

Mary's novel: Hunt for a Hometown Killer won the 2022 Christian Indie Award, First Place - Mystery/Suspense; and the 2022 Angel Book Award - Mystery/Suspense.

Click the link below to buy Hunt for a Hometown Killer at

Link to Mary's Spotlight Interview:   Mary Dodge Allen Author Spotlight EA Books


  1. It's interesting that the hank crank ice cream maker hasn't changed a bit since the first one. Mine, while looking a bit newer, looks the same.

    1. We had a hand crank maker also, and it was identical. Our first one also had a wooden bucket.

  2. What a fun post. I enjoy many flavors of icecream but chocolate mint is my favorite. Cookie dough icecream of chocolate with peanut butter is awful. Waffle cones are far more durable than regular cones but I don't remember eating them much as a child because of the cost. I remember the regular cones coming in multicolors, too. Ice cream was the go to summer treat. Happy Ice Cream Month.

    1. I remember the multicolored cones, too! Happy Ice Cream month to you, too!

  3. Thank you for posting today about one of my favorite snacks! My favorite ice cream flavors these days are salted caramel and a certain brand of butter brickle crunch that I can only find at my local ice cream stand. My least favorite flavors are the mint flavors. Have a great summer, filled with lots of ice cream!

  4. Thank you. I hope you have a great summer, too - filled with fun ice cream snacks!