Whether spooned from the carton or licked off a waffle cone, people are crazy for ice cream. Here are three examples of ice cream obsession that will leave you wanting a cold scoop of Neapolitan.
The Ice Cream Shower
In the summer of 2013, the UK's Thorpe Park and shocking sweets artist Miss Cakehead teamed up to create some unusual weather: "snow" made of vanilla and strawberry ice cream. How they ended up alerting the guests to the impending frozen dessert shower? A classic ice cream truck jingle, of course. Guests who wanted to watch and keep clean and dry could take shelter under waffle-shaped umbrellas, while adventurous guests could stay out in the 'storm' and use tongues and spoons alike to catch some of the sweet creamy flakes.
This stunt was on the tamer side for artist Emma Thomas, AKA Miss Cakehead. She's also famous for creating eerily realistic cake sculptures of faces and body parts. Very impressive, but we'll take the ice cream snow, thanks!
The Floating Ice Cream Parlor
During prohibition years of the 1920s and early 1930s in America, soda fountains and ice cream parlors became social hot spots. By World War II, ice cream had become an American cultural icon and favorite treat. It's estimated by research like that of the NPD Group that today 40% of Americans will eat ice cream in any given two-week period. That number is blown away by the WWII ice cream craze, where soldiers were served ice cream a minimum of three times a week.
The result? The U.S. Navy spent $1 million and reconstructed a huge concrete barge to supply ice cream to outposts in the Western Pacific. The barge used to belong to the Army Transportation Corps, but was outfitted by the Navy as an ice cream factory that could make an estimated 10 gallons every 7 minutes and hold around 2,000 gallons. It didn't have the ability to chug along on its own, but was moved when necessary by tug boats and visited by smaller ice cream boats who wanted to pick up stock.
It stayed in service supplying fresh ice cream to boost troops' morale until the war ended. Nobody quite knows where it is today, but it was likely abandoned and sank to the bottom of the bay, like many other concrete ships of that era.
Annual Ice Cream Competition at UMass Amherst
Every year at UMass Amherst, students, judges, and local chefs break out their tasting spoons to decide what new flavor comes out on top. The flavors are created by food and culinary science students at the university, and the winning flavor is produced by local Maple Valley Creamery in Hadley, Massachusetts and marketed as the official flavor of the year for the university.
Groups of food science students work for months in a capstone course to develop and fine-tune every aspect of their new flavor and recipe. The winning flavor of the contest in its fourth year, 2018? Chili Chocolate Chip. Mmm.
Need any more proof that the world is ice-cream obsessed?Check out the international array of ice cream world records from the Guinness Book, including longest banana split and tallest ice cream pyramid. Next party idea, anyone?