Friday April 30, 2021’s Smile of the Day: The Ice Cream Cone
On this Day:
In 1904, the Ice cream cone made its debut at St. Louis World’s Fair, having been invented by Ernest A. Hamwi. Of course, there is some sweet debate over who really first invented the Ice Cream Cone.
An ice cream cone, poke (Ireland and Scotland) or cornet is a brittle, cone-shaped pastry, usually made of a wafer similar in texture to a waffle, made so ice cream can be carried and eaten without a bowl or spoon. Types of ice cream cones include wafer cones (or cake cones), waffle cones, and sugar cones.
Many styles of cones are made, including pretzel cones and chocolate-coated cones (coated on the inside).
There are two techniques for making cones: One is by baking them flat then quickly rolling them into shape (before they harden), the other is by baking them inside a cone-shaped mold.
Waffle cones are brown, brittle and sugary. They’re baked flat and rolled up, which leaves the opening teardrop-shaped and rough-looking. The waffle bowl is a treat made from the same batter but shaped to have a broad, flat bottom.
Sugar cones are sturdier, and despite the name they have less sugar than waffle cones. They’re baked flat in a shape that, when rolled into a cone, keeps the opening round and neat.
Wafer cones, or cake cones, are crisp and flaky. They’re baked in a mold, so their shapes are sometimes more creative than the classic cone. Some are made with a flat bottom so the treat can be set down, often branded as ice cream cups or cake cups. A double wafer cone exists for serving two scoops of ice cream side by side.
Edible cones were mentioned in French cooking books as early as 1825, when Julien Archambault described how one could roll a cone from “little waffles”. Another printed reference to an edible cone is in Mrs A. B. Marshall’s Cookery Book, written in 1888 by Agnes B. Marshall (1855–1905) of England. Her recipe for “Cornet with Cream” said that “the cornets were made with almonds and baked in the oven, not pressed between irons”.
In the United States, edible vessels for ice cream took off at the start of the 1900s. Molds for edible ice cream cups entered the scene in 1902 and 1903, with two Italian inventors & ice cream merchants. Antonio Valvona, from Manchester, patented a novel apparatus resembling a cup-shaped waffle iron, made “for baking biscuit-cups for ice-cream” over a gas range. The following year, Italo Marchiony, from New York City, patented an improved design with a break-apart bottom so that more unusual cup shapes could be created out of the delicate waffle batter.
At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, a Syrian/Lebanese concessionaire named Arnold Fornachou was running an ice cream booth. When he ran short on paper cups, he noticed he was next to a waffle vendor by the name of Ernest Hamwi, who sold Fornachou some of his waffles. Fornachou rolled the waffles into cones to hold the ice cream. This is believed by some (although there is much dispute) to be the moment where ice-cream cones became mainstream.
Abe Doumar and the Doumar family can also claim credit for the ice cream cone. At the age of 16, Doumar began to sell paperweights and other items. One night, he bought a waffle from another vendor, Leonidas Kestekidès, who was transplanted from Ghent in Belgium to Norfolk, Virginia. Doumar proceeded to roll up the waffle and place a scoop of ice cream on top. He then began selling the cones at the St. Louis Exposition. His “cones” were such a success that he designed a four-iron baking machine and had a foundry make it for him. At the Jamestown Exposition in 1907, he and his brothers sold nearly twenty-three thousand cones. After that, Abe bought a semiautomatic 36-iron machine, which produced 20 cones per minute and opened Doumar’s Cone’s and BBQ in Norfolk, Virginia, which still operates at the same location over 100 years later.
In 2008, the ice cream cone became the official state dessert of Missouri.
By 1912, an inventor by the name of Frederick Bruckman, from Portland, Oregon, perfected a complex machine for molding, baking, and trimming ice cream cones with incredible speed. Inventions like this paved the way for the wholesaling of ice cream cones.
He sold his company in 1928 to Nabisco, which is still producing ice cream cones as of 2017. Other ice-cream providers such as Ben & Jerry’s make their own cones.
In 1928, J. T. “Stubby” Parker of Fort Worth, Texas, created an ice cream cone that could be stored in a grocer’s freezer, with the cone and the ice cream frozen together as one item. He formed The Drumstick Company in 1931 to market the product, and in 1991 the company was purchased by Nestlé.
In 1959, Spica, an Italian ice cream manufacturer based in Naples, invented a process whereby the inside of the waffle cone was insulated from the ice cream by a layer of oil, sugar and chocolate. Spica registered the name Cornetto in 1960. Initial sales were poor, but in 1976 Unilever bought out Spica and began a mass-marketing campaign throughout Europe. Cornetto is now one of the most popular ice creams in the world.
In 1979, a patent for a new packaging design by David Weinstein led to easier transportation of commercial ice cream cones. Weinstein’s design enabled the ice cream cone to be wrapped in a wax paper package. This made the cones more sanitary while also preventing the paper wrapper from falling off during transportation, or from becoming stuck to the cone (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
A day without ice cream is practically un-cone-stitutional.
Second, a Song:
Famous Lashua was Duluth’s singing cowboy. This is from an interview of Famous in 1983:
He was Duluth’s singing cowboy during the heyday of radio.
He wrote country-western songs that were recorded by some of the biggest names. He made one of the earliest live television broadcasts in Duluth.
So what ever happened to Famous Lashua?
“Every once in a while that comes up,” Lashua, now 66, said from his home in Mountain Iron. “I get mentioned on one of the radio stations I worked for – maybe on a call-in show or something. People wonder where I went.”
He moved from Duluth in 1964 to take over a dry-cleaning business in Virginia. He and his wife Ruby retired two years ago. Lately he’s recovering from an artificial hip operation.
Lashua doesn’t regret leaving show business.
“I’d been in it for 30 years. This (the dry cleaners’) was a chance to get into a good, growing business, so we bought it.”
But his enthusiasm for the music days remains.
“Oh, the way I got into it is funny. I’d gone out West on a freight (train) when I was 16, gotten a job on a ranch. The cowboys there, it was a big joke for them to put me on a wild horse. I did pretty good – an old Indian wanted to put me in the rodeo. Anyway, I wrote a letter to a girlfriend back in Rhinelander and to dress it up a bit I said, ‘We’re sitting around the campfire singing songs and I’m playing my guitar.’ I was BS’ing – I didn’t know a guitar from any other instrument.
“When I came back home in ’36, well, of course I run into the old girl again, and the first thing she wants me to do is sing for her. So I had to quick scare up a guitar and get me a music book for two bits. After about a week I could sneak by with ‘Home on the Range.’ I did it for her, and she liked it. It went from there.”
Except for a brief stint in Kentucky, Lashua played music locally for almost three decades. He had a pleasant soprano voice that lent itself well to relaxed country-western tunes.
He worked in many settings, from WEBC radio’s 15-piece orchestra to a popular band called Uncle Harry and His Hillbillies to a solo act.
He was master of ceremonies on “Corn’s A’Poppin,” a weekly KDAL radio show broadcast live from the stage of Duluth’s Lyceum Theater for three years in the mid-1940s.
“Every Monday night, right after the stores closed,” he said. “We had full houses – boy, it was great. We’d bring in some local acts each night. Some girls tap dancing or a local kid singing.”
Among his more unusual gigs was one with an organist who was dying of cancer. They played together on a show sponsored by a funeral home.
“He knew he was done for,” Lashua said, “but he insisted on continuing playing. During commercials I’d sing hymns and he’d play organ softly in the background and once in a while he’d break down and cry. … That was harder than digging ditches, I tell you.”
The early TV appearance came when engineers of Duluth television station WDSM were preparing to go on the air and wanted to test the signal.
“There wasn’t even a studio yet, just a garage up on the hill by the antenna. … We dragged a log in out of the woods. I sat on it and played some songs.”
All the while, Lashua was writing songs.
Red Foley had a big hit with his “Chocolate Ice Cream Cone.” It was among the top 10 country songs of – he thinks it was – 1952 and was eventually covered by 10 artists. Vaughan Monroe and Hank Snow each recorded his “Ghost Trains.” The Blue Sky Boys did his “I’m Glad.” His own favorite among his originals: “A thing called ‘Little Miss Mischief.’ It was recorded by the Oklahoma Sweethearts. I liked that one, but it never went anywhere.”
Where’d he get that stage name, “Famous,” anyway?
“They’ve been asking me that for years,” he said. “It’s my real name. My folks must have had big plans for me. Either that or they were running out of names – I’m the ninth out of 10 kids.”
Now that he’s retired, Lashua wouldn’t mind putting together a little radio show of his own again.” (from https://newstribuneattic.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/famous-lashua-duluths-singing-cowboy-2/)
Clyde Julian “Red” Foley (June 17, 1910 – September 19, 1968) was an American singer, musician, and radio and TV personality who made a major contribution to the growth of country music after World War II.
For more than two decades, Foley was one of the biggest stars of the genre, selling more than 25 million records. His 1951 hit, “Peace in the Valley”, was among the first million-selling gospel records. A Grand Ole Opry veteran until his death, Foley also hosted the first popular country music series on network television, Ozark Jubilee, from 1955 to 1960.
He is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, which called him “one of the most versatile and moving performers of all time” and “a giant influence during the formative years of contemporary Country music.” (per Wikipedia).
Here is Red Foley performing “Chocolate Ice Cream Cone”. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“The only thing that ultimately matters is to eat an ice-cream cone, play a slide trombone, plant a small tree, good God, now you’re free.” – Ray Manzarek
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky