Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Violet Ice Cream Sundae

Chris Monroe schools us on the origins of the ice cream sundae:

Violet Days cartoon American Mystery
(Click the image to see it larger.)

Oddly enough, I have been to both the towns Chris describes.

Two Rivers, Wisconsin, proudly proclaims itself the Birthplace of the Ice Cream Sundae, and has created a small museum around the topic at the historic Washington House (right across the street from the Hamilton Wood Type Museum).

If you make it to the Washington House, be sure to go upstairs and see the second floor ballroom.

Green ballroom with wood paneling and painted scenes on the ceiling, a stage at one end of the room
Photo from Flickr by J. Steven Conn

Despite the fact that Ithaca is very near my home town in upstate New York, I never knew it claimed to be the birthplace of the ice cream sundae until I read about it in Violet Days. I tend to think of Ithaca as the home of Cornell University, Moosewood Restaurant and Greenstar Food Co-op.

In keeping with its place in the world of academia, Ithaca has done a lot more historical research to prove its claim. Some of its residents created a song called "Two Rivers, Puh-leeze" (sung to the tune of "Moon River") to make a musical argument for their town's ice cream primogeniture. Favorite lines: "Two Rivers, why live in denial?" and "without sundae proof your claim's melting away."

To be fair, it was Two Rivers residents who composed the first song, sung to the tune of "On Wisconsin" (the lyrics can be found near the bottom of this page). But I have to admit, the Ithacans' lyrics win the cleverness competition.

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