The ice cream sundae is an American tradition that goes back years. Perhaps you grew to love these while eating at a diner near you, or your mom made the best home made ice cream sundaes around. Whether you’re eating one in a popular family restaurant NYC or at an ice cream stand, the ice cream sundae is a delicious dessert that you can eat any day of the week.
A sundae is typically served either in a bowl or a sundae cup and has one or several scoops of ice cream involved, occasionally sitting on top of a cookie or a brownie. It is covered with a syrup or sauce such as caramel, hot fudge, or butterscotch, and always enjoys whipped cream and a big red maraschino cherry on top. The toppings involved can vary, but usually candy is placed on top in a modern twist.
We go into the history of this dish so you can figure out where this amazing dessert came from– and maybe be inspired to make one for yourself tonight! When you have some ice cream, some whipped cream, cherries and some toppings, you really cannot go wrong.
The interesting history of the sundae starts as a curious alignment of religion and icecream. Ice cream sodas were banned on Sundays because that was the Lord’s day to a large number of the Christian population. However, some people just couldn’t stand the idea of being without ice cream sodas (soda was seen as sinful). The sundae was effectively created as a way to get around this policy, a loophole that allowed for a special dessert that was more wholesome and less, well, ‘sinful’ than the sodas apparently were.
The sundae was spelled with an e instead of an a so that it didn’t take away from the holiness of sundae. At least that’s one theory, since if you’re trying to get around the Sunday loophole it seems a little blithe to call it a Sunday too. There is also another story involving canoe shaped bowls and the ‘e’ was involved in the name as a nod to this.
Origin stories to the birth of the sundae vary. Ithaca, New York says it invented the sundae when a Reverend poured cherry syrup and added a cherry on top of his vanilla ice cream order at the Platt & Colt Pharmacy, saying it should be named after the day on which it was invented. Two Rivers in Wisconsin also says it invented the dish, due to an accidental jerk causing chocolate syrup to go over ice cream in 1881. Still others say that in Buffalo, New York, Charley Stoddard of the drugstore invented the dish when he ran out of soda water and needed a dish to go on the menu.
As for the true inventor of the sundae, the world may never know. On the bright side, at least this tasty dessert exists and is here to stay. Have one tonight and remember for yourself why this dish is such a classic!