July is National Ice Cream Month. In 1984 Ronald Reagan, then US President and reputed dessert-lover, through executive order designated July as a time to honor the frosty dessert.
Historical accounts on the subject of ice cream are racked with speculation and generally considered folkloric, although ice cream probably evolved abroad a long time ago from chilling wines or other beverages. No doubt, Marco Polo had a say in promoting it.
Vendors at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair clearly promoted ice cream served outside of a dish. Dozens of these vendors, many of foreign extraction, simultaneously got the idea of rolling waffles into cones to contain the ice cream.
It was a sad day in 1999 when Anderson’s Ice Cream Parlor, that served creamy home made flavors, closed its doors, the building razed. Located on Main St., just north of 32nd St. in Joplin, Anderson’s was host to many visiting dignitaries, including the late President John F. Kennedy.
Of course, the Braum’s stores serving ice cream remain, and all the others serving frozen custard, but an old fashioned, sit-down, store made ice cream parlor seems to be missing from the Joplin scene.
Those in the Sarcoxie area, or willing to travel, might enjoy a visit to the Lighthouse Old Fashion Ice Cream Shop on 37 Highway, just south of 60. Diane Niere, “Lighthouse Keeper” offers her patrons a chance to sit a while to peruse her large collection of lighthouse memorabilia and books and even play some checkers or chess while enjoying some ice cream.
Coffee ice cream, more a favorite on both the east and west coasts, is being added to menus in the Joplin area. A mocha shake, an item yet to appear on the menu of Steak & Shake (Hammons Center complex off of Range Line Rd), is available for the asking.
When asked which three flavors were the top choices for her customers, Carolyn Rea, manager of the Webb City Braum’s quickly listed peanut butter cup, cookie dough and mint chocolate chip, besides the usual favorites of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. When questioned if she thought that everyone went along with the usual favorites, Rea said that peanut butter cup actually might top the list. “Our customers would have a stroke if we ran out of it,” she said.
The International Ice Cream Association headquartered in Washington, D.C., lists the top 15 ice cream flavors. Clearly vanilla is the favorite, a stunning 20-plus percentage points ahead of chocolate. Followed by the percentages, the flavor favorites are:
- Vanilla 29
- Chocolate 8.9
- Butter Pecan 5.3
- Strawberry 5.3
- Neapolitan 4.2
- Chocolate Chip 3.9
- French Vanilla 3.8
- Cookies and Cream 3.6
- Vanilla Fudge Ripple 2.6
- Praline Pecan 1.7
- Cherry 1.6
- Chocolate Almond 1.6
- Coffee 1.6
- Rocky Road 1.5
- Chocolate Marshmallow 1.3
(All others 23.7)