Jun 23, 2009

Connecting Ice Cream, Famous People & Dyslexia

I've written before about famous people and ice cream such as Elvis Presley, Jackie Chan and others as well as a number of former US Presidents who enjoyed ice cream. It's an interesting connection but there are lots more connections that are just as fascinating. Such as famous people (including US Presidents) who have been/are dyslexic. Walt Disney suffered from dyslexia but it didn't stop him founding one of the biggest and best entertainment corporations the world has ever seen. Here is an interesting list of dyslexic famous people - it spans centuries from Da Vinci through to Tom Cruise.

I know several people personally who are dyslexic and one of them, David Allen who is a successful chartered accountant and businessman, was recently presented with a 'Businessman Of The Year' award in recognition of his energy and commitment within the local business and sporting communities. David is one of those people who is always coming up with new ideas, wanting to move forwards and make progress with everything he does.

He even writes an accountants blog where you can read about some incredibly diverse things .... the progress of the football club that he owns .... the fibreglass cows installed on the lawn outside his business premises ... and lots more. Of course David has also written about living with dyslexia on his blog. It's a great post and makes for inspiring reading.

I know that David likes ice cream too which made me wonder just how many successful people with dyslexia also enjoy ice cream. An interesting thought .... some research to be done there I think .... and another blog post for another day!

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Jun 16, 2009

Ice Cream Inspirations

Have you noticed how people who make ice cream are always looking for new recipes and new sales angles? I have come across 2 very different approaches to this ....

1. Using other foods to inspire new ice cream creations - such as Gino Soldan the master gelatiere did in the summer of 2008. Gino took some traditional British foods and made ice cream out of them. That may not sound very inspiring in itself but look at the foods he worked with and you'll realise what a challenge it was - Yorkshire Pudding, Sausage & Mash, Wensleydale Cheese! Needless, to say it got Gino into the headlines - indeed, sufficiently enough for me to contact him to ask him personally why and how he rose to the challenge. Read my interview with Gino Soldan.

2. Using famous people to inspire new ice cream creations - such as Ben & Jerry's and Baskin-Robbins have already done. "Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road" consisting of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cookie dough, butter brickle and white chocolate chunks was launched for a limited period in the summer of 2008 as a tribute to and with the permission of Sir Elton John. Similar ice cream creations have been produced as tributes to Barack Obama, Willie Nelson and John Lennon. Read more about Elton John's ice cream.

I shall keep on the lookout for more in this vein - it makes for such interesting reading!

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Mar 28, 2009

Ice Cream In The Family

In my last post I mentioned an ice cream making family business that has been in operation for over 100 years - Luchini's homemade ice cream in the English Lake District. That is just one example of many families around the world whose passion for making their own ice cream has been passed on from generation to generation.

Another way in which I have come across a family tradition connected with ice cream is when I have read about famous people who seem proud to mention their family having had an ice cream business or operating an ice cream truck. Two such people whom I've written about before in a Blog Of Ice Cream are:

1. Ronnie O'Sullivan - last autumn I had just read the autobiography of this snooker genius and in the book I was struck by a photograph of him as a young boy sat on the bonnet of an ice cream truck which was run by his family.

2. Anthony Minghella the Oscar winning movie director who sadly died last year was from a family with a long established ice cream business.

Read about both of these in my Tradition of the Ice Cream Man post.

This week it was the anniversary of the death of a famous British comedian, Tommy Cooper, who sadly died on stage during a performance 25 years ago. Amongst the press, tv and radio tributes to him and to his life, I picked up on a point that was mentioned more than once - about ice cream. Apparently, Tommy's parents used to operate an ice cream van, selling ice cream to the public at fairgrounds; Tommy also claimed he would sometimes even help sell ice cream from one of the windows of their house. Thankfully, Tommy did not take up a career as an ice cream salesman, for whilst he would probably have made a success of it, I believe he made the world a far better place by allowing us to share in his natural, comic genius.

I must share with you one of his best loved jokes which involved ice cream and a Knickerbocker Glory ....

So I went down my local ice cream shop, and said:
"I want to buy an ice-cream."
"Hundreds & thousands?" said the ice cream man
"We'll start with one." I said
"Knickerbocker Glory?"said the ice cream man
"Well, I do get a certain amount of freedom in these trousers, yes."

The ice cream world's loss was truly the real world's gain. Thank you Tommy Cooper.

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Nov 1, 2008

US Presidents, Ice Cream & Poker

Watching the media 'circus' of the US Presidential elections the last few days set me to thinking about the different Presidents there have been over the years and how many of them were very strong individuals.

Indeed a number of them made no secret of the fact that they really enjoyed ice cream. Good for them! These include Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and even George W. Bush.

Lincoln had ice cream served at his 2nd inauguration and Washington reportedly spent $200 one summer alone on ice cream - and in 1790 $200 was a small fortune!

Harry S Truman's family also appear to have had a fondness for ice cream - in an interview with Dorsy Lou Warr in 1991 she said that her father was a member of Harry S. Truman's poker circle and often provided the Trumans with pop and ice cream.

Thats another intereting subject - Presidents with a love a poker. I must pass on this fascinating story I read called Atomic Poker which relays the account of when and how Truman revealed the existence of the atomic bomb. There was also Warren Harding who played poker at least twice a week and once reportedly gambled away a set of White House china! Many of his advisors joined him in games of poker hence they became known as the "Poker Cabinet".

Whatever your feelings on poker and gambling, in a Presidential context it makes for very entertaining reading!

Getting back to ice cream though, what about Barack Obama and John McCain?

Well, it appears Barack Obama enjoys ice cream - here is a photo of him with his family about to take 'a much needed ice cream break'. Not only that, but apparently Ben & Jerry who have endorsed his campaign have even created a flavor in his honor called "Cherries for Change."

As for John McCain, he clearly enjoys ice cream too. On a hot afternoon in August he reportedly heard the music of an ice cream truck and immediately asked a campaign worker to go get ice cream for his team. He apparently said at the time: “I have not had ice cream from a street vendor since childhood."

Also back in August, Baskin-Robbins were not shy to start using the Presidential elections in their ice cream creations:

"Straight Talk Crunch” for John McCain and “Whirl of Change” for Barack Obama.

The former - a concoction of vanilla ice cream, white chocolate, caramel and almonds - apparently received the thumbs up from McCain himself, declaring “It’s delicious”. Full article courtesy of CBS News.

Regardless of how the election goes, you can be certain of 2 things:

1. A lot of ice cream will be consumed by people watching the results unfold on tv.

2. Whoever gets into the White House likes ice cream.

If it's Obama, given one of his hobbies is said to be cooking, I wonder if he'll make his own homemade ice cream? Now that might just be a first for a US President!

Read more about famous people and ice cream.

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Mar 31, 2008

Who Invented Ice Cream?

This is a question I asked myself a long time ago. I had hoped to find a simple answer, such as .... so-and-so once did this, that and this and hey presto ice cream was invented! A nice idea but one however that just isn't true. We all have a tendency to think of things coming into existence because of a single person or event but often that's not the case with human history.

I've read many books and news articles and visited many resources on the subject of ice cream over the years and they all concur when it comes to "Who Invented Ice Cream?" Quite simply, ice cream was not invented by any one single person - it has evolved from many, individual developments over many centuries and in different parts of the world. From the first time that man found ice useful for food storage and preservation to how snow and ice became used in foods and beverages.

From an educational point of view, the question of "Who Invented Ice Cream?" is a great one for children - whether you're a teacher in school or a parent trying to find something new to interest your child. Follow the question through with some examples of what's happened over time to give rise to ice cream as they know it today and you will touch on subjects such as:

  • how ice was stored in the icehouses of Mesopatamia over 4,000 years ago

  • how the Chinese made their own type of ice cream with fruit juices as far back as the Song Dynasty (960-1279 BC)

  • how the ancient Greeks liked to flavor snow with fruit and honey over 2,000 years ago

Then you can move on to more recent and famous people who have associations with the history of ice cream - from the Roman Emperor Nero to Marco Polo to Charles I (King of England). After that you can ask them to name a movie star or singer with a love of ice cream - for clues on this go to my ice cream and famous people page.

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