SUCH A RELAXING SUNDAY – (enjoy a way to unwind.)
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the term sundae is obscure.
Various American localities have claimed to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae. These claimants include Ithaca, New York; Two Rivers, Wisconsin; Plainfield, Illinois; Evanston, Illinois; New York City; New Orleans, Louisiana; Cleveland, Ohio; and Buffalo, New York. Who would have known one of the places would have been so close to us.
There is debate between Ithaca and Two Rivers over which city has the right to claim the title “birthplace of the ice cream sundae.” When Ithaca mayor Carolyn K. Peterson proclaimed a day to celebrate her city as the birthplace of the sundae, she received postcards from Two Rivers’ citizens reiterating that town’s claim.
Of the many stories about the invention of the sundae, one frequent theme is the sinfulness of the ice cream soda and the need to produce a substitute for the popular treat for consumption on Sunday. Peter Bird writes in The First Food Empire (2000) that the name ‘sundae’ was adopted from Illinois state’s early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream.
Evanston, Illinois in 1890
Evanston was one of the first locations to pass a blue law against selling ice cream sodas in 1890. “Some ingenious confectioners and drug store operators [in Evanston]… obeying the law, served ice cream with the syrup of your choice without the soda. Thereby complying with the law … This sodaless soda was the Sunday soda.” As sales of the dessert continued on Mondays, local leaders then objected to naming the dish after the Sabbath. So the spelling of the name was changed to Sundae.
Golden Olympic Restaurant at 1608 Chicago Ave, EVANSTON even still has sundaes and sodas!
Ithaca, New York in 1892
Supporting Ithaca’s claim, researchers at The History Center in Tompkins County, New York, provide an account of how the sundae came to be: On Sunday, April 3, 1892 in Ithaca, John M. Scott, a Unitarian Church minister, and Chester Platt, co-owner of Platt & Colt Pharmacy, created the first historically documented sundae. Platt covered dishes of ice cream with cherry syrup and candied cherries on a whim. The men named the dish “Cherry Sunday” in honor of the day it was created. The oldest-known written evidence of a sundae is Platt & Colt’s newspaper ad for a “Cherry Sunday” placed in the Ithaca Daily Journal on April 5, 1892. By May, 1892, the Platt & Colt soda fountain also served “Strawberry Sundays,” and later, “Chocolate Sundays.” Platt & Colt’s “Sundays” grew so popular that by 1894, Chester Platt attempted to trademark the term ice cream “Sunday.”
Two Rivers, Wisconsin in 1881
Two Rivers’ claim is based on the story of George Hallauer asking Edward C. Berners, the owner of Berners’ Soda Fountain, to drizzle chocolate syrup over ice cream in 1881. Berners eventually did and wound up selling the treat for a nickel, originally only on Sundays, but later every day. According to this story, the spelling changed when a glass salesman ordered canoe-shaped dishes. When Berners died in 1939, the Chicago Tribune headlined his obituary “Man Who Made First Ice Cream Sundae Is Dead.” Two Ithaca High School students, however, claim that Berners would have only been 16 or 17 in 1881 and it is therefore “improbable” that he would have owned an ice cream shop in that year. They also state that the obituary dates Berners’ first sundae to 1899 rather than 1881.
Isn’t that interesting? The origin of our food. I showed you how to make a banana split the other day. Now go ahead and make a sundae wherever you live!
Laugh, learn and liven up your taste buds!