History of the Ice Cream Sundae

Elmira | 08 - 09 - 2020
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It’s difficult to confirm the accurate history of the ice cream sundae, but one of the stories seems acceptable. An ice cream sundae is connected with Blue Laws that are known as religious laws  in the United States. This law forbids activities that are recognized sinful. Blue Law banned the sale of liquor in some places on Sundays. In the late 1800s, another Blue Law prohibited selling soda on Sunday. The soda ban caused problems. Hence shop owners had to discover other ways to sell sodas on hot Sunday afternoons. Consequently, they came up with an excellent idea to replace chocolate syrup with soda and began selling ice cream sundae.

What Is a Sundae?

Many Historians argue over the origin of ice cream sundae, among them three of the historical probabilities are most popular. The sundae is an ice cream, contains one or more scoops of ice cream, topped with syrup, sauce, and other toppings such as whipped cream, marshmallows, maraschino cherries, and other fruits.

Ice Cream Sundae Origin

There are several stories about the invention of the sundae. Ice cream Sundae was a unique variation of the famous ice cream soda. As reported by the publication of Evanston Public Library (Illinois), soda selling was banned on Sundays in Illinois because they thought it was too “frilly.”

1. Where Did the Ice Cream Sundae Originate?
  • A. USA
  • B. China
  • C. Africa
  • D. Australia

Other origin stories about the sundae are based on the inventiveness or novelty of the treat or the name of the originator. The sundae became the weekend semi-official soda fountain in the beginning of the 1900s. It became a popular dessert. The Ice Cream Trade Journal for 1909 ranked ice cream sundae along with French or plain sundae. It is a unique variety similar to Cocoa Caramel sundae, Black Hawk sundae, Angel Cake sundae, Cherry Dip sundae, Robin Hood sundae, Cinnamon Peak sundae, Opera sundae, Fleur D’Orange sundae, Tally-Ho Sundae, Bismarck and George Washington sundaes, Fleur D’Orange sundae and many more.

Where Was the Ice Cream Sundae Invented?

Many states have claimed to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae including Illinois, New Orleans, Plainfield, New York, Louisiana, Ohio, and Cleveland. As reported by What’s Cooking America, the biggest challenge (termed as the “sundae war”) to the claim the creation of the ice cream sundae is between Wisconsin and Ithaca, New York.

Two Rivers, Wisconsin

Wisconsin claims that, on a Sunday in 1881, a druggist Edward Berners Berners (owner of Ed Berner’s Ice Cream Parlor) got an order of ice cream soda from a customer namely George Hallauer. It was the Sabbath, so the druggist planned to switch the soda with chocolate sauce.

Ithaca, New York

Wondering why a sundae is called a sundae? NYC has an interesting story. On Sunday, April 3, 1892, Reverend John M. Scott of the Unitarian Church visited the Platt & Colt Pharmacy. He asked Chester C. Platt, who was the manager of the store, for two desserts of vanilla ice cream, not with soda since it was the Sabbath. Platt served plain vanilla ice cream topped with candied cherry and cherry syrup. Reverend Scott was happy with this treat and  named the dish “Cherry Sunday” in honor of the day it was invented and later became the “Ice Cream Sundae.”

Both cities still claim to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. 

Hope you have enjoyed learning the history of ice cream sundae!

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