The correct answer is Sundae.
Pop quiz: Which popular American dessert shares its name with a Korean food made of intestines? Give up? Would you believe the answer is a very un-intestine, very luscious, classic, ice cream dessert? Yes- I’m talking about the ice cream sundae.
The History of the Ice Cream Sundae
While the Korean sundae is more closely related to the Scottish haggis in its ingredients, your standard ice cream sundae is made of scoops of ice cream topped with warm syrup, such as chocolate or caramel, and sprinkled with what can be an endless array of toppings, such as nuts, maraschino cherries, and/or frosting sprinkles, just to name a few.
What makes an ice cream sundae different from regular ice cream is the toppings. You can’t have an ice cream sundae without toppings.
It’s hard to imagine a time when ice cream sundaes did not exist, but the truth is, this treat hasn’t always been with us. Pinpointing exactly who invented it and when, and how it got its ‘holy’ name has been a hotly debated topic.
If you’re from the small town of Twin Rivers, Wisconsin, you would probably prefer to believe the local folklore that says the first sundae was created right there in Twin Lakes. As folklore would have it, the ice cream sundae first made an appearance in 1881 at Ed Berners’ Ice Cream Parlor, quite by chance. A customer by the name of George Hallauer came in one Sunday and unsuccessfully tried to order an ice cream soda. In those days it was considered almost sacrilegious to “suck down” an ice cream soda on the holy day of Sunday. As a matter of fact, at that time, slurping soda and purchasing alcohol on Sunday were breaking blue laws– laws that made certain activities illegal on Sundays.
As the story goes, George instead asked to have ice cream scoops topped with the chocolate syrup that was typically reserved to be mixed into ice cream sodas. The dessert was a win for George as well as for Ed since this dessert- what we now know as an ice cream sundae- was to become a popular treat within the community. It was initially only served on Sundays, but soon people were allowed to enjoy it every day of the week.
According to the history of Twin Lakes, it was a glassware company that put in an order for “sundae” dishes- the dishes that Ed served ice cream sundaes in that solidified the name “ice cream sundae”.
On the other hand, if you go to Ithaca, New York and visit its Visitors and Convention Bureau they’ll tell you quite a different story about the ice cream sundae’s origins, and they might even show you print evidence that it is their town that invented this sweet treat. On October 5th, 1892, the Ithaca Daily Journal ran an advertisement for a “Cherry Sunday… a new…ice cream specialty”. This advertisement is the oldest known record of the ice cream sundae as we know it.
Ithaca claims that on April 3rd, 1892, Chester C. Platt, the owner of Platt & Colt Pharmacy in downtown Ithaca, put cherry syrup and candied cherries on top of the ice cream scoops of a local reverend John C. Scott after his Sunday church service. According to the historians of Ithaca, Reverend Scott named this ‘new’ dessert “Cherry Sunday” to honor the fact that it had first been contrived on a Sunday.
The origin of the ice cream sundae might continue to be debated for years to come. One thing that nobody argues about, however, is just how delicious it is and how deserving it is of all of this attention.
Authored by F k_blackwell5