Today’s food holiday might just make you melt. August 18 is National Soft Ice Cream Day!
Like many of the food holidays we’ve celebrated, soft serve ice cream was an accidental invention. During Memorial Day weekend in 1934, ice cream truck driver Tom Carvel suffered a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York. In an effort to avoid wasting his precious cargo, he pulled into the parking lot of a pottery store and sold his melting ice cream to passersby. Business was brisk, and within two days he had sold his entire supply. Carvel reasoned that selling soft ice cream from a permanent location could be a lucrative business, and two years later opened his first store – in the same spot where his truck broke down.
Soft serve ice cream contains less milk fat than regular ice cream, and is stored at a slightly warmer temperature (duh). Air is introduced at the time of freezing, and can comprise up to 60% of the finished product’s volume. The higher the air content the creamier, lighter, and smoother the ice cream. Ideally, it should range between 33%-45% of the finished product. Frozen custard is similar, but contains eggs in addition to cream and sugar, and has less air.
Since we were on the road returning from our impromptu trip to Ely, we stopped at a McDonald’s in Hood River and shared a vanilla soft serve ice cream cone. It hit the spot after 12 hours in the car!