In perhaps his most delicious of political moves, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month, and the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day to honor this fun and nutritious food. Nutritious? Okay, well it may be a little heavy on fat and sugar, but milk contains vitamins and minerals that are essential to a growing body.

To honor this special day, here are some fun facts about one of America's favorite desserts:

  • In the fifth century BC, ancient Greeks sold snow cones mixed with honey and fruit in the markets of Athens.  
  • The first recipe for flavored ices appears in France in 1674.  
  • The ice cream cone was invented by Italo Marchiony of New York City. He started filling lemon ice in cones as early as 1896.  
  • Ice cream was brought to America by Quaker colonists. In Amish colonial days, ice cream was a rare treat. A hand-cranked freezer was an appropriate wedding gift, so many families had one in the cellar, attic or kettlehouse.

Ready to make your own homemade ice cream? Take a tip from the Amish with this classic vanilla ice cream recipe from The Best of Amish Cooking by Phyllis Pellman Good:


  • 1 gallon rich milk
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla

Heat the milk, sugar and salt together.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, cornstarch, eggs, and cream together until smooth. Stir in hot milk, return to the stove, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool, then process according to freezer's instructions.

Makes 6 quarts ice cream