Hello friends and welcome to the weekend! For most of my readers on both sides of the pond, I believe it is a three-day weekend. Here in the U.S., there is Memorial Day on Monday, which has pretty much turned into just an excuse for picnics, beer, and a day off work. Across the pond, I understand it is a bank holiday. So, wherever you are, I hope you get an extra day to spend with family and doing something fun! This picture has absolutely nothing to do with today’s theme, but I came across it and just couldn’t resist …I have picked up a couple of new readers … very young ones, both 4 -years-old, and they happen to really like animal videos. So in honour of the two young men who fell in love with the wingless bee last week, I hope you will enjoy these kangaroos!
The sounds of summer began here in da hood this week.
Wednesday was the last day of school, so we have heard the sounds of young voices laughing gleefully, the sound of balls hitting our back window, skateboards rolling down the street, and parents screeching. But one sound in particular is welcomed by all and is nearly an institution: the ice cream truck! Even though it is rare that I can eat ice cream, the sound of “Turkey in the Straw” rolling down the street always makes me smile. And seeing the kids lined up at the window, credit cards in hand. Guess what, folks … it is no longer a dime like it was when we were kids. Now it is more like $2. Inflation, y’know. Our ice cream truck is driven by a retired couple and they are perfect for the job … always have a smile and unlimited patience with the little ones. Anyway … the ice cream truck got me to thinking and wondering a couple of things, like when did the first ice cream truck hit the streets and where, and why the heck did they pick “Pop Goes the Weasel” and “Turkey in the Straw” for them all to play? And so, as you know, when Filosofa wonders, Filosofa goes in search of answers.
The history of ice cream street vendors dates back to the nineteenth century and is shaped by advances in technology, and fortunately, sanitation. While much has changed since peddlers first sold dishes of ice cream from carts cooled with ice blocks. In the U.S, the ice cream cart began as an urban phenomenon in which working class laborers bought a small dish of ice cream that he or she licked clean. The dish was then returned to the vendor, wiped down, and loaded with a fresh scoop for a new customer. Blech. Customers with more money—or a healthy fear of infectious diseases—opted for ice cream sandwiches.Milk was not pasteurized in the U.S. until the 1890s, which meant any dairy product was potentially laced with the bacteria that caused scarlet fever, diphtheria, and bovine tuberculosis. Ice cream poisonings were a common event and were regularly reported in the news. Newspapers described ice cream poisoning epidemics in which dozens of fair-goers, picnic attendees, and party guests were stricken or killed. Public health officials, however, initially overlooked dairy contaminates and blamed ice cream poisoning on artificial flavors, specifically vanilla.By the turn of the century, ice cream hygiene improved dramatically and fairgoers were no longer afraid to order a cold treat. At the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis, a convenient take-away premiered— the ice cream cone. The thin, crispy waffle had long been a dessert favorite, and rolling the waffle into a cone wasn’t a new idea. The novel idea was to scoop ice cream into the cone, and several men who sold concessions at the famed fair fought for recognition as to who was the true creator.In the early 1920s, advances in refrigeration meant electric coolers replaced ice deliveries. Electric coolers were far more portable, and made it possible for a chilled ice-box to be placed on a motor car. At the same time, the early 1920s also saw the start of Prohibition and the end of easy access to the daily delight of wine, beer, or spirits. For many Americans, the comfort of fast food and sweets replaced the indulgence lost with banned spirits. The popularity of ice cream parlors and trucks soared during this era.
The first ice cream truck was credited to Harry Burt of Youngstown, Ohio, who was the creator of the Good Humor brand. Burt was already delivering ice cream from a motorized vehicle when he had the idea to place chocolate covered ice cream bars on a stick. His new Good Humor ice cream “sucker” was easy and clean to eat, which gave him the idea to sell it directly from his truck to consumers on the street.
Ice cream sold in parlors or stores became a luxury item during the Depression. But ice cream trucks such as Burt’s Good Humor brand where able to survive the Depression due to the product’s low-cost. Many consumers couldn’t afford big ticket items, but they could afford a nickel for an ice cream treat. During this time, vendors began offering economical items such as twin popsicles that parents broke in half and shared with two children.Post-war ice cream production boomed and so did the competition. Mister Softee was founded in Philadelphia in 1956 by two brothers who created a soft serve ice cream machine built specifically for a truck.
Although Good Humor sold its fleet in the 1970s to focus on grocery store sales, Mister Softee trucks are still on the streets, not to mention a host of competitors who sell original treats as well as pre-packaged favorites to a new generation of kids listening to hear the familiar jingle on a hot summer day.
I still have no idea why they choose ‘Turkey in the Straw’ and ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ for the songs to play, and I’m too tired tonight to dig any deeper, but I did find a site titled “a brief history of ice cream truck music”, so can do your own digging on that one! But here’s a tidbit for you. In this, the world of bluetooth, GPS and a host of other apps to allow you to do nearly anything without leaving the ease of your recliner, there’s an app for the ice cream truck also. You can track the truck by GPS in order to know precisely when he will be on your street, so that your kids don’t have to leave their video games to go outside and listen for him. 🙄 But also … ALSO … you can even place your order ahead so that you don’t have to be troubled with telling the ice cream man what your heart desires. 🙄 If that is not the epitome of laziness, I don’t know what is. And it seems to me that it takes all the fun out of it. Might just as well buy your ice cream at the grocery and keep it in the freezer until needed if you’re gonna do that!
So, now that I’ve made you crave an ice cream bar … get outside and enjoy the weekend — plant some flowers, lie in the hammock and read a book, wash some windows — and be sure to listen for the sounds of ♫ ♪ ♫ Pop Goes the Weasel ♪ ♫ ♪
Enjoy your weekend!!!