We all scream for ice cream

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You may have known that June is National Dairy Month but did you know July is National Ice Cream Month?

According to the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) website, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day in 1984.

According to IDFA, about 10.3 percent of all milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers are used to produce ice cream and the average American consumes almost 22 pounds of ice cream per year. In 2014, U.S. ice cream companies made more than 872 million gallons of ice cream!

In Reagan’s proclamation on July 9, 1984, Reagan stated, “Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over 90 percent of the people in the United States. It enjoys a reputation as the perfect desert and snack food. Over 887 million gallons of ice cream were consumed in the United States in 1983.”

Some of history's most famous leaders enjoyed cold treats, even before the deep freeze was available. Roman Emperor Nero, Alexander the Great, and King Solomon were all fond of “a snow-cooled drink at harvest time.”

Historians believe the ancient Chinese were the first to develop a cool, creamy treat that resembles what we enjoy today. In the 1500s, ice cream started to spread through Europe, though at first only aristocrats could afford it.

No one knows for sure when ice cream made its way to the US, but at least a few Founding Fathers were fans.

Thomas Jefferson wrote out a multi-page recipe while George Washington shelled out hundreds of dollars for a cool treat. Today it comes nitrogen-blasted, hand-rolled or charcoal-infused.

With more people cutting out dairy, ice cream substitutes abound, some with excellent flavor and the texture that drives our cravings. There is even a kind that uses genetic engineering to recreate the proteins usually found in cow's milk.

While you do not need a reason to indulge in one of the endless amount of ice cream flavors, it does give you a reason for celebration and perhaps an extra scoop on that ice cream cone.

Ice cream also provides a great way to have fun with friends and family.

So this month, take time to thank the cows and the dairy farmers and enjoy a little piece of ice cream heaven.

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