[EAS] American Dessert Clash

Peter J. Kindlmann pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Sat Aug 12 02:39:47 EDT 2006

In scale far short of the 7-year lawsuit between 
the Hotel Sacher and Konditorei Demel over the 
origins of Sacher Torte, which kept the Austrian 
press busy for almost a decade and went all the 
way to the Austrian Supreme Court, ultimately 
turning on the question of where the apricot jam 
was put in the cake (see e.g. 
this seems a fine item for a summer interlude. 
Enjoy the rest of the summer.  --PJK

(from The Scout Report -- August 11, 2006)

Debate Over Origins of Ice Cream Sundae Heating Up
Dessert war: Towns clash over origin of sundae

The Ice Cream Sundae's Birthplace? Thatís the 64,000-Calorie Question

NPR: Ice Cream Sundaes from Coast to Coast [Real Player, pdf]

Two Rivers, Wisconsin: Home of the Ice Cream Sundae

The Official Website of the Ice Cream Sundae

Ice Cream Recipes

The origins of quotidian items tend to be well documented, and even the
fiercest debates often are resolved after a bit of historical research. When
it comes to food items and other such concoctions, well, that's a horse of a
different color. One such debate that continues to rage on regards the
original provenance of the ice cream sundae, a summer treat that's hard to
beat. The stakes are high, and the two primary players in this saga are the
local chambers of commerce in the cities of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and that
most bucolic college town, Ithaca, New York. Two Rivers, located on the way
to ever-pleasant Door County, claims that one Ed Berner made the first ice
cream sundae in 1881 in his soda fountain emporium in the heart of that fair
city. As the story goes, a gentleman named George Hallauer, asked Berner to
put some chocolate sauce on a dish of ice cream, and voila: the birth of a
delicious sweet treat. In recent weeks, various town boosters and spirited
denizens of Ithaca have countered with a newspaper ad for a "Cherry Sunday",
published in the Ithaca Daily Journal from April 5, 1892. Further ammunition
for Ithaca's claim has been provided by Michael Turback (an author and
Ithacan) who has stated "The sundae really became a sundae when the name
Sunday was attached to the dish. And the cherry on top. Those two essential
parts of the story originated in Ithaca." While this tÍte-ý-tÍte has
remained relatively amicable so far, other commentators fear that other soda
fountain staples may soon face the same scrutiny. [KMG]

The first link leads to news coverage of the ice cream sundae debate offered
by the venerable New Orleans Times-Picayune. The second link provides some
more details on the whole business as presented by The New York Times, which
surveyed everyone from the mayor of Ithaca to Two Rivers resident Jerry
Schubring, who notes, "Everyone knows Two Rivers invented it. That's why
we're all so fat here. We eat a lot of them." Visitors on the look out for
the best ice cream sundaes in the US should appreciate the third link, which
includes a National Public Radio feature on various regional variations on
this popular dish. The fourth link leads to the official Two Rivers
homepage, complete with details on their claim to ice cream sundae fame,
along with a city proclamation that makes the bold claim that their city is
in fact the "coolest city in America's dairyland." The fifth site is
maintained by the aforementioned Michael Turback, and contains some
information on his own work, along with a canonical drawing of a sundae that
preserves that most precious maraschino cherry on top of it all. The sixth
and final link leads to the Ice Cream Recipes website, which offers a wide
selection of recipes for inventive ice creams, and includes a number of
unusual permutations, such as a brown bread ice cream recipe. [KMG]

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