Here are ten fun facts about ice cream:

  1. We Americans slurp up the most ice cream per person than folks in any other nation - a whopping 48 pints for each of us per year.
  2. Vanilla orders account for anywhere from 20% to 29% of all ice cream sales. Chocolate's second snagging about 9 to 10 percent of the market.
  3. A serving of vanilla ice cream was offered to immigrants at Ellis Island, as part of their "Welcome to America" meal.
  4. Among the wacky flavors of ice cream manufactured are avocado, garlic, jalapeno, azuki bean and pumpkin. Maybe the nuttiest of all was dill pickle ice cream, marketed to expectant mothers.
  5. One out of every five ice cream eaters lets "Fido" and "Fluffy" join in the fun.
  6. For reason no one is entirely clear about, the fine folks in Omaha, NE, are the most voracious ice cream eaters, beating out the citizens of California, Florida and other warmer climates.
  7. The first ice cream parlor in this country made its debut in New York City in 1776. About 70 years later, the hand-cranked freezer was invented, allowing Americans to make ice cream fairly easily at home.
  8. Ice cream was first mentioned in writing in this country in a letter from the 1700s, which admiringly described the ice cream and strawberry dessert a Maryland governor served at a fancy dinner party. Back then, ice cream was enjoyed mostly by a very elite few, including George Washington.
  9. Air is a major ingredient of ice cream. Nope, you're not being gypped. Without lots of air, ice cream would be just about as hard as concrete.
  10. Such novelties as ice cream on sticks and ice cream bars, introduced in the 1920s, may seem like kid's stuff, but the fact is, adults gobble nearly half of all such treats.

Chocolate is the number one favorite flavor of ice cream, according to a new Harris Poll. 27% said chocolate is their fave while there was a three-way tie for second place with 22% each citing vanilla, cookie dough and cookies and cream. 20% chose butter pecan and Swiss almond, while 17% said mint chocolate chip is best. Other choices include rocky road (14%), strawberry (13%), cherry vanilla (9%), coffee (9%), pistachio (8%) and peanut butter (8%). Want more?

  • 45% like to eat their ice cream in a cup, compared with 29% who prefer a cone, 18% who like it in a sundae and 2% who choose an ice cream sandwich.
  • When it comes to favorite toppings, 57% of those who eat ice cream say it is hot fudge, while 43% say nuts and 40% say whipped cream.
  • Over one-third of Americans who eat ice cream (35%) say their favorite topping is caramel, while 31% say it is fruit, such as strawberries or bananas.
  • Just under one in five say sprinkles (18%) on top is the best topping, while 13% say candy bits and 12% say marshmallows. Sixteen% don't use any toppings on their ice cream.

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