How do you serve ice cream from a 19th-century street cart, where there's no room to carry tons of dishes and spoons? You could wrap it in paper, but that still causes a mess, both for consumers and for the streets themselves. Someone came up with the idea of wrapping a slab of ice cream in cookies instead, and the ice cream sandwich was born. And that's why we celebrate Ice Cream Sandwich Day on August 2.
Written mentions of the treat start cropping up around the turn of the century. “It was written about a lot in newspapers,” Quinzio says. “This was quite the innovation. It sold for a penny, and you had to have a penny because they were making them so fast they didn’t have time to make change.”
In 1899, she says, the New York Mail and Express ran a story headlined “A New Sandwich.” “There are ham sandwiches and salmon sandwiches and cheese sandwiches and several other kinds of sandwiches,” it began, “but the latest is the ice-cream sandwich. As a new fad the ice cream sandwich might have made thousands of dollars for its inventor had the novelty been launched by a well-known caterer, but strangely enough the ice-cream sandwich made its advent in an humble Bowery push-cart.”
From there, the ice cream sandwich took off. High-end restaurants copied it and ice cream trucks depended on it. There are many modern variations, but people are still drawn to the vanilla slab surrounded by a chocolate wafer. Read the story of the ice cream sandwich at the Boston Globe. -via Metafilter
(Image credit: Mr. Granger)