Great Ice Cream Sundae War Celebrated By Google Doodle

Everyone loves Sundays, but this Sunday is particularly special as Google is celebrating the 119th anniversary of the first documented ice cream sundae.

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Surprisingly, the ice cream sundae has a controversial past. It is said to have been invented accidentally. The urban tale goes that in more austere times the clergy deemed the popular dessert, ice cream sodas, to be 'too frilly' a food to eat on the Sabbath (naturally a Sunday). So, instead of offering an ice cream soda, ice cream was served with cherries and syrup drizzled on top.

"Some historians claim, but never proven to be true, that the name "sundae" was created in response to the "Blue Laws" which said that ice cream sodas could not be sold on Sundays because they were to "frilly." For some reason the "righteous" very much against what they called "sucking soda" (especially on the Sabbath and the clergy started preaching against them). The dish has gone by other names at various time, most notably "sundi" and "sondhi." Some accounts have explained all these names as attempts to avoid offending the sensibilities of the devoutly religious, which might take a dim view of a pile of ice cream and syrup being named after the Sabbath."

Source: Source: What's Cooking America

However, both Two Rivers, Wisconsin and Ithaca, New York claim to have actually invented the ice cream sundae.

Consequently, as a matter of pride, both mayors of these towns have exchanged threatening legal letters since the 1970s. More recently, a dispute over the dessert led to a tongue-in-cheek 'war' between the two cities over bragging rights.

It seems that Ithaca, New York finally won the Sundae war, with primary evidence of the first "Cherry Sunday" being advertised. The ad is shown below for your amusement - it's under a giant 'wanted' sign!


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Source: What's Cooking America

Ithaca's Sundae Story

On Sunday afternoon, April 3,1892, after services at the Unitarian Church, Reverend John M. Scott paid his usual visit to the Platt & Colt Pharmacy in downtown Ithaca. Shop proprietor, Chester C. Platt, was church treasurer and he met often with Scott for conversation after services. Seeking refreshment for himself and the reverend, Platt asked his fountain clerk, DeForest Christiance, for two bowls of ice cream. But instead of serving the reverend plain vanilla, Platt took the bowls and topped each with cherry syrup and a candied cherry. The finished dish looked delightful and tasted delicious--so much so that the men felt obliged to name the new creation. After some debate, Scott suggested that it be named for the day it was created. Platt concurred and the first "Cherry Sunday" was born.

Source: Visit Ithaca

100 Years On

A hundred years on and it seems that ice cream sundaes are more decadent and 'frilly' than ever and furthermore, Internet memes are inspiring innovation in the dessert.

In this case, the popular Internet meme that celebrates a collective and insatiable appetite for bacon has made it's way into mainstream culture. Yesterday The Independent reported that Denny's have announced a new ice cream sundae that is garnished with bacon.

Yes, bacon! That would make it a bacon and ice cream dessert. Amazingly, this is not an April Fools' prank.

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If you were unaware that bacon really is a meme, here's one of many reasons why the web loves bacon and bacon loves the web.

What's Google Got To Do With All This?

As we have noted before, Google often makes some unusual and sometimes controversial choices in what to honor with the Google Doodle. However, Google is known for smart approaches and, like Sunday's sundae, there is often a many layered back story to Doodle selections. Remember the Google bouncing balls that foreshadowed the arrival of Google Instant?

Our hunch is that Sunday's sundae is Google's way of whetting the world's appetite for the latest Android update, nicknamed Ice Cream.