How do you serve ice cream from a 19th-century street cart, where there’s no room to carry tons of dishes and spoons? You could wrap it in paper, but that still causes a mess, both for consumers and for the streets themselves. Someone came up with the idea of wrapping a slab of ice cream in cookies instead, and the ice cream sandwich was born. And that’s why we celebrate Ice Cream Sandwich Day on August 2.
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Written mentions of the treat start cropping up around the turn of the century. “It was written about a lot in newspapers,” Quinzio says. “This was quite the innovation. It sold for a penny, and you had to have a penny because they were making them so fast they didn’t have time to make change.”
In 1899, she says, the New York Mail and Express ran a story headlined “A New Sandwich.” “There are ham sandwiches and salmon sandwiches and cheese sandwiches and several other kinds of sandwiches,” it began, “but the latest is the ice-cream sandwich. As a new fad the ice cream sandwich might have made thousands of dollars for its inventor had the novelty been launched by a well-known caterer, but strangely enough the ice-cream sandwich made its advent in an humble Bowery push-cart.”
From there, the ice cream sandwich took off. High-end restaurants copied it and ice cream trucks depended on it. There are many modern variations, but people are still drawn to the vanilla slab surrounded by a chocolate wafer. Read the story of the ice cream sandwich at the Boston Globe. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Mr. Granger)