Today is the anniversary of the ice cream cone created in 1904. At the St. Louis World’s Fair, there were approximately 50 ice cream stands and a large number of waffle shops. The cone became very popular at the Fair, of course, and it seems it generated a great ice cream cone controversy.
One story highlights Charles Robert Menches and his brother Frank of St. Louis, Missouri, ran ice cream concessions at fairs and events across the Midwest. The family of the brothers claim they came up with the ice cream cone at the 1904 Fair when a lady friend, who for daintier eating, took one layer of a baked waffle and rolled it into a cone around the ice cream. They had the idea to wrap a warm waffle around a tool. The waffle cooled and held its shape to provide an edible handle for eating ice cream. At the close of the Fair, the popularity of this of eating ice cream in a “cone” had industries racing to produce molds and machines to be used for baking ice cream cones. Demand for cones quickly outstripped the hand-rolled waffle makers.
After the Fair, Charles and his brother started a business called the Premium Ice Cream Cone and Candy Company in Akron, Ohio. The brothers are also credited with the invention of candy-coated peanuts and popcorn that was sold under the name “Gee Whiz,” today known as Cracker Jacks. They are sold are credited with the first hamburger.
According to the Library of Congress, this is Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for vanilla ice cream. Is “two bottles of good cream” used to distinguish this ingredient from two bottles of “bad” cream (as in sour cream)?
You’ve read those celebrity articles and surveys before…where the interviewee is asked “If you could have dinner with anyone famous, dead or alive, who would it be?” I often try to come up with an answer and nothing ever knocks my socks off. Sure, I’d love to have dinner with my mother now, 30 years after her death. I’d show her a cellphone, she’d ask about Mike Douglas or Totie Fields, and I’d be missing her all over again.
But after seeing Jefferson’s recipe, and choosing to not go down the old recipe rabbit hole, I decided that I’d like to have dessert with Thomas Jefferson. I’d watch him make ice cream from scratch, ask him about the United States Constitution, share the soundtrack of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, and maybe bring him up-to-speed on today’s political climate. I think Jefferson would choose to go back to the easier days of 1776.