Today is National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.
According to Geraldine Quinzio, author of Sugar and Snow: A History of Ice Cream Making, the ice cream sandwich was invented in 1899 by a pushcart peddler in New York City. It consisted of vanilla ice cream pressed between two thin graham crackers.
In July of 1900, The New York Tribune reported that the vendor was so busy making the sandwiches that he didn’t have time to make change and required all customers to pay exactly one penny.
The photograph you see here was taken at the New Jersey shore in 1905 and shows a popular pushcart on the beach. Supposedly, the modern iteration of the sandwich using rectangular chocolate cookies was created in 1945 by Jerry Newberg, who sold them at Forbes Field, in Pittsburgh, PA.
Here are a few of the “fun facts” quoted everywhere from blogs to news outlets today:
- It’s estimated that 48 ice cream sandwiches are consumed per second in the United States.
- If all the ice cream sandwiches made during the year were placed end to end, they would circle the globe 3 1/2 times.
- Almost 50 percent of all ice cream sandwiches are consumed by residents of states on the Eastern seaboard.
We don’t know this trivia’s original source but we’ve tracked it back to a newspaper article dated December 21, 1995. We hope someone will freshen up those stale statistics. Inquiring minds want to know how many times ice cream sandwiches would wrap around the planet now.
Other versions of the ice cream sandwich have been created all over the world, many predating the American kind. We’ll leave that debate to the food historians.
Happy National Ice Cream Sandwich Day!