Seems like only yesterday when I was licking the chocolate ice cream off my fingers because it was dripping from the cone ’cause the temperature outside was well into the 90s. Ok, ok, it was yesterday.
An ice-cream-like food was first eaten in China in 618-97AD. King Tang of Shang had 94 ice men who helped to make a dish of buffalo milk, flour and camphor. Later, a kind of ice-cream was invented in China about 200 BC when a milk and rice mixture was frozen by packing it into snow.
Some sources say the ancient Romans invented ice cream; others say Marco Polo brought the discovery back to Italy from China. All agree that France was introduced to similar frozen desserts in 1553 by Catherine de Medici when she became the wife of Henry II of France. It wasn’t until 1660 that ice cream was made available to the general public. One hundred years later, Charles I of England became so impressed by the “frozen snow” that he offered his own ice cream maker a lifetime pension in return for keeping the formula a secret so that ice cream could be a royal prerogative.
(There is no historical evidence to support these legends; just sayin.)
Augustus Jackson worked as a White House cook and was later dubbed the “Father of Ice Cream.” Though he did not invent ice cream – he did pioneer many of its modern manufacturing methods, becoming one of the wealthiest African-Americans in Philadelphia. Jackson created several popular ice cream flavors, which he distributed and packaged in tin cans to the ice cream parlors of Philadelphia. Unfortunately Jackson did not apply for any patents.
A recent study (2017) found that chocolate and vanilla are far from America’s favorite ice cream flavors. Although vanilla is the best-selling flavor, it is not the most loved. However, it takes vanilla to make the very best of everything else.
You’re probably salivating this very moment and since we know Chicago can be scalding sometimes, you just might want to drop in on one of these favorite ice cream haunts in Hyde Park to cool off. Hurry, the lines are starting to grow.
Kilwins, 5226 S. Harper Ave. Kilwins Original Recipe Ice Cream has been around since 1985 and today there are over 40 flavors, in addition to their fresh-made waffle cones and hand-made fudge and caramel toppings.
Baskin Robbins, 1418 E. 53rd St. Today, Baskin-Robbins has more than 1,300 ice creams in its flavor library, and also offers custom ice cream cakes, frozen beverages and the Polar Pizza™ Ice Cream Treat. Baskin-Robbins’ “31” flavors were created to represent a different ice cream flavor for each day of the month.
Finnegan’s Ice Cream Parlor, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. inside the Museum of Science and Industry. Based on a real Hyde Park ice cream parlor of the same name, Finnegan’s, which opened in 1917, is tucked inside the Yesterday’s Main Street exhibit and serves ice cream creations such as sundaes and shakes.
Kingoberry Frozen Yogurt, 1307 E. 53rd St. Kingoberry Frozen Yogurt is fat-free, gluten-free and loaded with probiotics. Build your own or you can enjoy one of their Kingoberry Creations. The shop offers 10 concoctions, including hand made frozen lemonade.
Insomnia Cookies, 1105 E. 55th St. Insomnia Cookies offers five flavors of ice cream: butter pecan, chocolate, mint chocolate chip, moose tracks and vanilla including six toppings. Comes in pint or quart size. And yes, this can be delivered.
Steve’s 77 Ice Cream, 1317 1/2 E. 57th St. Whether rocking a gluten-free lifestyle or looking for something low-fat, Steve says this is the place.
Te’Amo Boba Bar, 1115 E. 55th St. Home of the Smoothies: Pink Snow, 100 percent real strawberry fruit; Golden Snow, 100 percent real Mango fruit; Banana Snow, 100 percent real banana fruit and Sunrise, 100 percent real fruit smoothie.
McDonald’s, 5200 S. Lake Park Ave. McDonald’s offers hot fudge sundaes, hot caramel sundaes, strawberry sundaes, vanilla cones and “McFlurries.”
Robust Coffee Lounge, 6300 S. Woodlawn Ave. The coffe lounge offers the Robust Ice Cream Float (vanilla ice cream and your choice of soda), and your choice of eight blended smoothies, including The Elvis.
Cafe 53, 1329 E. 53rd St. Specializes in gelato.
If I missed your favorite place you’ll let me know..right?
JoAnn Fastoff Blackman is a long-time Hyde Parker and an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction books. Her various blogs have focused on environmental issues in and around Chicago. HPChamber Speak will appear periodically addressing issues impacting Hyde Park’s business community.