THE MYSTERIOUS AND NOT-SO-STRANGE HISTORY OF THE ICE CREAM SUNDAE

Posted by Turkey Hill Team on March 1st, 2011


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The following was posted here on the Ice Cream Journal waaaaay back in November 2006 (the very first month of the blog’s existence), but it’s a fun history lesson, so we thought we’d post it again. Enjoy!

The history of ice cream is shrouded in mystery, so it’s no surprise that the origins of the ice cream sundae are equally cloudy.

By definition a sundae is ice cream, typically served in a bowl-like glass, and topped with whipped cream, syrup (usually chocolate), nuts and other goodies. It sounds simple, but there are actually several theories about how the sundae came to be. Here are few of the most popular:

The first takes place in Evanston, Illinois. In 1890, many pastors felt that “sucking soda” was in poor taste, so Evanston became one of the first towns to prohibit the sale of soda water on Sunday. Not wanting to close down the shop during one of the busiest days of the week, many local soda fountain operators simply removed the soda water from their ice cream sodas and thus the sundae was born.

The second takes place around the same time in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. It was here that a customer order a dish of ice cream at a local soda fountain and got the crazy idea to ask for it topped with some of the syrup used to make the soda. The idea caught on and began selling once a week on “Ice Cream Sundays.” Soon the popularity of the treat made it a seven-day-a-week treat and the name was changed slightly to accommodate.

The last story finds us in Ithaca, New York in 1893 when the Reverend John Scott walked into Platt & Colt Pharmacy on a Sunday and ordered a dish of vanilla ice cream. The owner decided to add some cherry syrup and a cherry, the Reverend loved it, and the treat was renamed after the day is was invented.

If you’re still not sure who to believe, more information (and more theories) can be found here.

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32 Responses to “THE MYSTERIOUS AND NOT-SO-STRANGE HISTORY OF THE ICE CREAM SUNDAE”

  1. Joanna says:

    who ever invented the ice cream sunday really doesn’t matter cause as long as it’s made with turkey hill ice cream you can call it any day of the week you like.

  2. JACKIE AREIAS says:

    REALLYS LOOKS GREAT. WHAT CAN WE FOUND FOR THE OTHER DAYS OF THE WEEK?

  3. Jean Marie says:

    Interesting!

  4. JACKIE AREIAS says:

    mispelled word should be \FIND

  5. Jim im SOMD says:

    Considering that these all supposedly occurred around the same timeframe and with the speed of news at that time, (the presidential election was in November, but he did not take office until March to allow for counting the votes, getting the results to Washington, then the electoral college vote, etc.). It is possible that they all are true and just when the spelling was changed needs to be determined.

  6. Caroline of Manalapan says:

    I don’t remember this but two of the 3 are big college towns (Northwestern and Cornell) so maybe it started with a food fight.

  7. Sarah says:

    Whatever the story is, I’m glad that we have sundaes to enjoy.

  8. CHRISTINE says:

    GREAT INVENTION, DOESN’T MATTER WHO CAME UP WITH THE IDEA. WITH TURKEY HILL ICE CREAM IT MAKES IT EVEN BETTER.

  9. mary frey says:

    I truely believe ,

  10. Harriet G. says:

    Interesting theories. I never thought about who invented ice cream sundaes, but I do enjoy eating them.

  11. jonibee says:

    No matter how it is served ..I enjoy it as long as it’s Turkey Hill Icecream…

  12. wow what a good story love it

  13. Nancy N says:

    Make mine hot fudge!!!!!!

  14. artemis says:

    let it be a mystery I love a good mystery an I just love a big icecream sundae!!!!!

  15. Gator Pam says:

    Make mine hot fudge and marshmallow, with Turkey Hill, naturally.

  16. Linda Leffler says:

    Loved the stories. I had a restaurant and loved making Sundaes, now I know how they came about, Thanks Turkey Hill

  17. Heather says:

    I couldn’t finish reading the rest of the debate – the pix looked waaay tooo yummy!

  18. Bob Kessler Jr says:

    I don’t mind you reposting the story – I enjoy seeing the picture again of the sundae. And don’t forget the most expensive ice cream sundae which you featured at one time in your Ice Cream Journal – the $1000 Serendipity Golden Opulence Sundae. It is sold by the Serendipity 3 restaurant in New York City. The ingredients and goblet and spoon make it so expensive. Save money and have a Turkey Hill sundae.

  19. Lois Sidelnick says:

    I don’t care when it was so called “invented”. I eat them every day of the week, so are they Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc? Always good any day.

  20. Donna says:

    Just like everything good everyone wants to be remembered for being the first to do it. As long as it came about and is enjoyed that is what is important.

  21. Marcy says:

    Only Turkey Hill ice cream will do for me.

  22. leecarr says:

    no need to worry about who was first or where it was, what is important now is that we have it available everyday with lots of toppings and a cherry on top.

  23. Betty says:

    want some now

  24. Stefanie says:

    Great info! This sundae looks so good!

  25. Mary says:

    I’ll take a sundae like the one in the picture any day! Do you know where I can get it?

  26. bill says:

    does not matter what the real story is, it is one of the best things on earth.

  27. billy says:

    me and my grandma were eating butter pecan ice cream and we got no pecans.and were mad

  28. Rebecca Ludwig says:

    One extremely hot summer, we decided to have “Sundae Sundays”…Instead of a conventional dinner, we would get a couple of flavors of Turkey Hill Ice Cream, bananas, hot fudge and strawberries, and whipped cream. Everyone could have his favorite combo…Fabulous!

  29. david b says:

    I am a sundae fanatic – what is the story with hot fudge – the classic type of sundae? Some say that ice cream shops and fudge shops were together and one day, an ice cream shop owner asked for some of the hot fudge being made (since it is hot) to put on the ice cream usually topped with syrup (when you heat up syrup, it gets too “liquidy”)so, hot fudge was brought forth… :)

  30. J Carl Mellinger says:

    It’s mighty good eating! Turkey Hill is the BEST !!!

  31. J Carl Mellinger says:

    Turkey Hill is the best! Keep it coming!

  32. Candyce says:

    You ice cream is wonderful! I would love to see more tropical fruit flavors!

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