In July 1904 there was presented to the masses a cool, mouth-watering treat that created quite a buzz – the ice cream cone. Perched upon a sweet waffle-like pastry, the cone was a big hit at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. It’s popularity has only increased with time.

Ice cream, what do you know? T or F?

1. It takes about 50 licks to finish a single-scoop ice-cream cone.

2. Chocolate is the most popular flavor.

3. The average American consumes 15 quarts of ice cream annually.

Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month in 1984.

An Italian immigrant and pastry chef, Italo Marchioni,is considered a central figure in popularizing the ice cream cone. In 1897 he began selling ice cream in liquor glasses from his pushcart on Wall Street. Word of his delectable concoction spread. To preserve his stock of glasses he decided to serve ice cream on a pastry. This was the first ice cream cone. In 1912, the first machine designed to roll cones in mass production was invented by Frederick Bruckman. His company was later purchased by the National Biscuit Company, Nabisco, and the rest is history.

New Zealanders consume more ice cream per capita than any population in the world followed by Americans. We consume between 15 and 20 quarts per person every year. About 98 percent of households in the U.S. purchase ice cream on a regular basis. Ice cream accounts for over 60 percent of all sales of frozen dairy products. Low-fat and non-fat products account for 25 percent.

The total annual production of all frozen dairy products, including ice cream, is about 155 billion gallons. California is the top producer among all states. About 8 percent of all milk produced in the U.S. is used to make ice cream.

Frozen dairy products have evolved through the years as technology and health science intersect to provide consumers with items compatible with their medical concerns. Today one can locate goat, rice and soy milk based frozen desserts. For those with lactose and gluten intolerance, these products are popular. But there is no specialized frozen dessert as popular as plain ol’ ice cream. Vanilla is the most popular flavor.

Of course ice cream is high in fat, sugar and calories and therefore it is a treat, not a staple food. One-half cup of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate chip cookie dough has 270 calories and 15 grams of fat. By comparison, a serving of TCBY frozen yogurt cookie dough contains 160 calories and 9 grams of fat. The Skinny Cow, on the other hand, offers many products much lower in fat and calories. Their fudge bar contains 100 calories and 1 gram of fat.

I like to save my calories for something truly special. Clinton’s Soda Fountain in Independence offers ‘Harry’s Favorite,’ a butterscotch sundae with chocolate ice cream. It is the kind of place that Norman Rockwell would have appreciated. My personal favorite is the luscious, decadent hot fudge brownie sundae. It is so good I don’t even think about the calories. Cherry on top for health!

Answers: 1. T; 2. F.; 3. T.

Dr. Lori Boyajian-O’Neill can be contacted at .