National Ice Cream Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of July every year. Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month in 1984. He also named the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. Reagan recognized the popularity of ice cream in the United States (90% of the nation’s population consumes ice cream) and stated that these two events should be observed with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.”
Ice cream (derived from earlier iced cream or cream ice) is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners. In some cases, artificial flavourings and colourings are used in addition to, or instead of, the natural ingredients. The mixture of chosen ingredients is stirred slowly while cooling, in order to incorporate air and to prevent large ice crystals from forming. The result is a smoothly textured semi-solid foam that is malleable and can be scooped.
The meaning of the phrase “ice cream” varies from one country to another. Phrases such as “frozen custard”, “frozen yogurt”, “sorbet”, “gelato” and others are used to distinguish different varieties and styles. In some countries, such as the United States, the phrase “ice cream” applies only to a specific variety, and most governments regulate the commercial use of the various terms according to the relative quantities of the main ingredients. In other countries, such as Italy and Argentina, one word is used for all variants. Analogues made from dairy alternatives, such as goat’s or sheep’s milk, or milk substitutes, are available for those who are lactose intolerant, allergic to dairy protein, or vegan. The most popular flavours of ice cream are vanilla and chocolate.