You just may float on a happy haze when you celebrate today’s perfectly summery food holiday. June 30 is National Ice Cream Soda Day!
June 20 was also National Ice Cream Soda Day, so I suppose if you didn’t get your fill back then, today’s your encore. We chose to celebrate the vanilla milkshake on that day instead so as not to repeat ourselves. Just to keep us on our toes, there’s also a National Root Beer Float Day coming up in August. Knowing that, we should have opted for something a little more unique today, but laziness got the better of us.
Ice cream sodas, or floats, go by the name “snowballs” in the U.K. and “spiders” in the land Down Under, where women work and men plunder. They are exactly what their name implies: ice cream served in a soft drink. Ice cream sodas were invented in 1874 by Robert McCay Green in Philadelphia. According to legend, during that city’s sesquicentennial celebration, Robert ran out of cream for the flavored sodas he was selling on a particularly hot day, and substituted ice cream instead. But Robert explained in an interview that his creation was no accident: he wanted to invent a new treat to draw customers away from a competitor who had a bigger, fancier soda fountain. He experimented by mixing vanilla ice cream with soda water and a choice of 16 different flavored syrups. This new treat was a big hit, and Green was so proud of his invention, his will stipulated that “Originator of the Ice Cream Soda” be carved on his tombstone when he died.
While teens loved the tasty treat, many adults did not, and the drink was actually banned by some conservative local governments who believed that soda, which was marketed as a “miracle cure” (for what – skinniness?), was a controlled substance that should not be served or purchased on Sundays. In an effort to boost business, soda fountains came up with a treat that contained ice cream but no soda. They coined the new dessert a “sundae” that they could serve on “soda’s day of rest.”
Now, that’s clever!
To celebrate, Tara and I made root beer floats. I mean, what other type of soda-and-ice-cream combination can ever top the classic?