The Presidential Scoop

Here's a presidential proclamation that I'm clearly in support of. Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, while implementing Reaganomics and ending the Cold War, had the incredible foresight, and perhaps sweet tooth, to proclaim that July would be National Ice Cream Month. He recognized America's love of ice cream and the impact ice cream has on the dairy industry, jobs and the economy.

In Proclamation 5219, dated July 9, 1984, President Ronald Reagan said:

Ice cream is a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over ninety percent of the people in the United States. It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food. Over eight hundred and eighty-seven million gallons of ice cream were consumed in the United States in 1983.

The ice cream industry generates approximately $3.5 billion in annual sales and provides jobs for thousands of citizens. Indeed, nearly ten percent of all the milk produced by the United States dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, thereby contributing substantially to the economic well-being of the Nation's dairy industry.

Thirty years later and Americans are still screaming for ice cream. The United States produces more than one and one half billion gallons of ice cream and frozen desserts each year, that's about 23 quarts per person. Revenues from ice cream total more than $10 billion annually.

The scoop on the start of ice cream is up for debate, but what we do know is that some version of a sweet frozen treat has been around for a very, very long time. As early as 3000 B.C., the Chinese were making a frozen concoction, later made with rice, milk and packed in snow. Alexander the Great enjoyed snow mixed with honey, and Emperor Nero of Rome ate ice flavored with fruit and juice.

Ronald Reagan wasn't the first U.S. president to enjoy a scoop a two. George Washington is said to have purchased about $200 worth of ice cream in the summer of 1790, worth about $3,000 today. Thomas Jefferson had his own recipe for vanilla ice cream, and strawberry ice cream was on the menu at President Madison's second inaugural dinner.

President Obama is the only president to have a Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor named in his honor. The liberal-minded scoopers introduced "Yes Pecan" following President Obama's 2009 inauguration, a play on his campaign slogan "Yes We Can."

But in spite of all the flavorful and somewhat bizarre ice cream offerings today, everything from Garlic Chip to Avocado to Bone Marrow with Smoked Cherries (I wish I was kidding), vanilla remains the number one pick in America. Chocolate Chip Mint and Cookies and Cream round out the top three.

Sunday, July 21 is National Ice Cream Day (always the third Sunday in July), so let's do as President Reagan urged us to do back in 1984, "I call upon the people of the United States to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities."

Here's just a little bit more food for thought. Sunday is also National Junk Food Day, so you may want to tag team that cone with a cookie or a big Coke. (Sorry, Mayor Bloomberg.)

Peace Love Profits,