In case you didn’t know, August 19 has been designated as National Soft-Serve Ice Cream Day. Hurray! I think you’ll agree that it’s always a good thing to have an excuse to chow down on more ice cream.
And soft-serve is a particularly fun kind of ice cream, wouldn’t you agree? In the hands of a soft-serve artist an ice cream cone can be a work of art, with all the dips and swirls in just the right places, and a perfect little curlicue on top.
For those of us who like our ice cream just a little bit melty, soft-serve is truly the perfect ice cream. It comes out of the machine already at the just-right consistency for eating. Maybe that’s why roughly two-thirds of Americans consider soft-serve to be their favorite type of ice cream.
Are You Up On Your Soft-Serve History?
In honor of National Soft-Serve Day, here’s a bit of history about this wonderfully unique kind of ice cream.
There’s actually a bit of mystery involved in the history of soft-serve. Nobody knows for certain who first invented it. One claim to that fame is Dairy Queen founder J.F. McCullough.
McCullough believed that traditional hard ice cream was so cold that it sort of freeze-fried people’s taste buds, robbing them of full enjoyment of the ice cream. He felt that the warmer temperature of soft-serve would allow consumers to experience the full flavor of the ice cream. Along with his son, McCullough perfected his recipe for soft-serve in the 1930s, and opened the first Dairy Queen in 1940.
Hold on, though – Carvel claims that they were the first to come up with the soft-serve concept. As the story goes, the company’s founder, Tom Carvel, invented soft-serve by accident. He was selling ice cream from his truck on Memorial Day weekend in 1934 when he fell victim to a flat tire. And with his vehicle stranded, his goods were beginning to melt.
But in true turn-lemons-into-lemonade spirit, Carvel turned a negative into a positive. When he finally got his truck off the road, he opened for business, touting his partially melted ice cream as a wonderful new kind of dessert. And it was a smash hit, prompting him into opening the first Carvel store in 1934.
As you get all set to enjoy National Soft-Serve Day, there’s one more thing you should know. As ice cream goes, soft-serve is actually pretty good for you. Lots of air is incorporated into soft-serve to give it its light consistency. In fact, the typical serving of soft-serve is nearly 50% air. And as everyone knows, air is calorie-free. That helps to make soft-serve a relatively low-calorie food – at least in comparison to traditional ice cream.
Soft serve also tends to have less butterfat than traditional ice cream. Some brands, in fact, are so low in fat that they may legally be labeled as a low-fat food. Dairy Queen’s soft-serve, for example, contains only about 5% butterfat, and is classified as a low-fat food by the FDA.
So there are lots of reasons to indulge at your favorite soft-serve dispensary on National Soft-Serve Day. And on the day before, the day after, and every other day, for that matter!