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You Can Thank A Flat Tire For Soft Ice Cream

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National Soft Ice Cream Day is observed annually on August 19th.  Soft service ice cream is the result of air being introduced to the dairy product during the freezing process.

In 1934 on Memorial Day weekend, Tom Carvel had a flat tire on his ice cream truck in Hartsdale, New York.  After pulling into a parking lot, he began selling the softened ice cream to vacationers driving by.  With amazement, seeing the love that people had for soft ice cream, he concluded that a fixed location selling the new-found dessert was potentially a good business idea.  In 1936, Carvel opened his first store on the original broken down truck site, selling his secret formula soft serve ice cream dispensed from his patented super low-temperature ice cream machines.

Tom Carvel, the founder of Carvel. Within three years of his truck breaking down, he’d opened the first Carvel on that exact location, specializing in his newfangled creation. A competitor, Dairy Queen, also claims to have invented soft serve, but they date their creation to 1938, a year after Carvel went into business.

It’s All About the Air,  Aside from the lower fat content and slightly higher temperature, the main reason soft serve is, well, soft, is because it contains a lot more air than traditional ice cream. Called “overrun,” it’s what makes soft serve so fluffy, compared to a “super premium” ice cream like Ben & Jerry’s, which has a very low overrun.
The Mix Contains a Lot More Ingredients than the Usual Ice Cream, Egg yolks are usually enough to emulsify traditional ice creams, but soft serve needs a lot more than that to combine all the ingredients and hold it all together. Along with milk and sugar, soft serve mixes usually contain at least a couple types of emulsifiers and thickeners; Mister Softee’s contains mono- and diglycerides, cellulose gum, tetrasodium pyrophosphate, and carrageenan.
It’s Called ‘American Ice Cream’ in Parts of Europe, Soft serve is actually called “American ice cream” (translated into their local language) in many parts of Europe and Israel. It’s called “soft ice” in Germany and parts of northern Europe, “machine ice cream” in Greece and Romania, and “soft whip” in Ireland.
In Britain, Ireland, Australia, and South Africa, many ice cream vendors sell what’s called a “99,” which is a cone of soft serve ice cream with a Cadbury Flake bar stuck into it.
It’s Called a Creemee in New England, The term originated in Vermont. If you’re up there and come across any shops selling a maple creemee, which is essentially soft serve flavored with real maple syrup, make sure you try one.
The Mister Softee Jingle Has Lyrics, And while we’re on the subject of Mister Softee, did you know that its earworm jingle has lyrics?
Check it out:

The creamiest, dreamiest soft ice cream
You get from Mister Softee
For a refreshing delight supreme
Look for Mister Softee

My milkshakes and my sundaes and my cones are such a treat
Listen for my store on wheels ding-a-ling down the street

The creamiest, dreamiest soft ice cream
You get from Mister Softee
For a refreshing delight supreme

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Copyright 2017 South Florida Reporter
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