HISTORY OF NATIONAL VANILLA ICE CREAM DAY
National Vanilla Ice Cream Day is an unofficial holiday so its origins are not very well-known. However, an online search reveals that it has been celebrated regularly since the year 2000. Since then, people across the country have indulged in their favorite vanilla ice cream treat on 23 July every year.
Vanilla belongs to the orchid group of family that has over 25,000 species. Being a native plant of Central America and the Caribbean, vanilla was used by the Totonacs living in Mexico. Later on, when the Totonacs were conquered by the Aztecs, the latter got their hands on vanilla. The Aztecs started using it by mixing it into their chocolate. As globalization spread, more and more people from different places started being exposed to vanilla. The Spanish took vanilla to their home country and, from there, it spread to the rest of Europe and the world. People in Britain and Spain used vanilla in much the same way as Aztecs. Vanilla in drinks like chocolate, tea, and coffee became popular. It wasn’t until vanilla reached France that it was added to ice cream.
As far as American history is concerned, the credit for making vanilla ice cream a national treat goes to Thomas Jefferson who was known for his fascination with collecting different types of recipes. It is believed that on a visit to France during the 1780s, he came across vanilla ice cream, which was a popular dessert among the French. On his return to America, he made vanilla ice cream popular among his people as well.
The vanilla ice cream recipe is no less than a national treasure for the Americans as it lies protected in the U.S. Library of Congress in Washington. Hardly two decades after Jefferson’s discovery of vanilla ice cream, recipes for it began to be published in various recipe books. Among the most popular books were those written by Hannah Glasse and Mary Randolph.
Americans became fans of this mild-flavored and creamy ice cream. However, the main challenge was that producing vanilla involved an expensive process, which made it hard to come by for many Americans. By 1841, a new technique had been discovered through which vanilla plants could be pollinated by hand, paving the way for commercial production of vanilla in different parts of the world.
Today, the world enjoys heaps of vanilla ice cream, all thanks to the invention of the ice-cream machine that made it easier to make it. Nancy Johnson made the world’s first ice cream maker that had a crank located outside. The crank addition and placement allowed for it to mix and scrape the ice cream at the same time. But before this machine became commonplace, making ice cream required much more time.
Vanilla ice cream became one of the most sold flavors due to its popularity and versatility. The market, in the modern-day, has a lot of ice cream varieties and flavors, ranging from mint chocolate and strawberry to cheesecake and cookie dough. But nothing beats the classic taste of vanilla ice cream, which is an experience unto itself.