June 23, 2017
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How Ice Cream Came To America

By Tod Perry


Last month, President Trump issued a ban on people entering the country from seven predominantly Muslim countries, sparking outrage at home and abroad. The executive order placed limits on travel to the U.S. from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and by all refugees. After just seven days, the ban was struck down in the courts pending further litigation. This un-American exercise in anti-Muslim hysteria prompted many to celebrate the many contributions they’ve made to our country. One such contribution is a delicious snack most Americans couldn’t live without: ice cream.

Ice cream came to the United States after being introduced to Europe during the Arab invasion of Sicily in the eighth century. During a recent conquest of the Persian Empire, the Arabs discovered a chilled refreshment known as sharbat. Sharbat was a combination of honey, fruit syrup, and snow. The Arabs took the delicacy to the next level by adding milk and sugar, whipping up the first batch of ice cream.

If Trump’s Muslim ban was in place decades ago, Americans would probably still have ice cream, but we’d be stuck eating it in bowls. The world’s first ice cream cone was created on a whim by Syrian immigrant Ernest Hamwi at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. Hamwi was selling zalabis, a waffle-like pastry, near an ice cream vendor. When the vendor ran out of dishes, Hamwi rolled his zalabis into a cone to hold the ice cream—and summer days have never been the same since. The story of ice cream is another reminder of just how sweet diversity can be.


  • Originally appeared at GOOD.is