Here’s the Scoop: The Origins of the Ice Cream Social

Just about all of us have either heard of or experienced an ice cream social. They are a featured fundraiser for schools, churches and community gatherings. The ice cream social is also a prime time to relax, chat with our family, friends and neighbors over a scoop of delicious ice cream.

Ice cream parties are said to have first appeared during the reign of England’s King Charles ll. During the late 1600’s, ice cream was expensive and served only to the king’s table at the royal feast. It was enjoyed only by members of the upper classes until the late 1700’s/early 1800’s.

The earliest recorded ice cream party in America dates back to 1744 when Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen served ice cream at a dinner party. In 1784, George and Martha Washington bought a “cream machine for ice” for their home at Mount Vernon. Thomas Jefferson later served up ice cream at the White House in 1802, becoming the first President to do so.

The traditional ice cream flavors Americans are most familiar with include chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and pistachio. Back in the 1800’s, however, people also gobbled up tea, parmesan, and even oyster flavored ice cream.

Modern Day Ice Cream Socials

Ice cream socials today feature attendees of all ages and offer up all kinds of ice cream flavors and toppings too.

A poll of 2,000 Americans, done by OnePoll and Breyer’s, found chocolate chips to be the favorite topping of 52-percent of those who answered. Hot fudge came in second, at 49-percent, and nuts, preferred by 40-percent of the respondents, came in third place. The poll also found whipped cream and caramel were favored.

So, what are the most unusual ice cream toppings? According to Eat This, Not That!, french fries and bacon made the list, along with balsamic vinegar and strawberries; basil and olive oil, Wasabi peas, coffee grounds, pickles, chili sauce and barbecue potato chips.

Hosting An Ice Cream Social

Ready to throw an ice-cream party of your own? It is easy enough if you get yourself prepared early so you can enjoy your own party on the big day!

Make a plan. Think about what you need to buy and what decorations you want. Pick a theme to jazz up the party.

Make your menu. Ice creams, sauces and toppings will be the focus of your event. Aim for at least 6 different ice cream flavors. Don’t forget the toppings too, like chocolate chips, nuts, caramel, sprinkles, and hot fudge. Be sure to put out bowls and different type of cones as well for guests to choose from.

Set up a few days in advance. Put out a large buffet table to display your ice cream, toppings and sauces. Use clear containers that you can label, and have plenty of spoons and ice cream scoops to serve.

Have Fun! Be sure to relax and enjoy yourself on the day of your party. If you are well-prepared, it will be a breeze!

Craving something sweet? Norwood is a local ice cream shop in Eldersburg, Maryland. Each unique flavor is handcrafted in small batches in the store. Visit us at 5957 Exchange Drive, Suite F, for a cone or cup. Give us a call at 410-875-7238 to find out more about our traveling ice cream social and custom ice cream parties.