The Origin Of Our Favourite Ice Cream Sundae
Image Credit: Ice cream Sundae has an interesting history | Pexels

I am sure everyone has enjoyed a fancy scoop of ice cream sundae. The chilled dessert is one of the most loved ice cream varieties in the world and is loved by people of all age groups. But have you ever wondered what is the reason behind the spelling of Sundae ending with an ‘e’ instead of a ‘y’? Was it by mistake? Was it a fun twist on the name? Or was it not related to our beloved weekly holiday Sunday at all? Let us try to map the origin of our very own ice cream sundae and trace its evolution into the world-famous dessert that it has become. 

Interestingly, ice cream sundae was created to evade the laws of America in the 1800s. As harmless as ice cream might look to us now, it was made illegal on Sundays in America. The country’s religious guidelines were based on the Blue Laws. These laws decide what was legal and illegal according to their interpretation of the Bible. Now, ice cream had become extremely popular as floats over the sodas that people consumed during Sundays.The druggists, or pharmacists as we call them now, used to earn a lot of profit by selling ice cream soda floats on hot Sunday afternoons. But according to the Blu Laws, the ‘sucking soda’ was seen as too frilly or fancy to be had on the holy day of Sunday. This was a cause of concern to both the pharmacists and hundreds of ice cream lovers. So, the former came up with the idea of adding chocolate syrup to ice cream instead of sodas. This way, they were abiding by the rules, making profit and their customers were also happy. While it is confirmed that this is how the ice cream sundae came to exist, there is still a historical debate over the actual birthplace of the dessert. While Two Rivers, Wisconsin claims that it is where the sundae has its roots; Ithaca, New York has maintained that it is in fact the true birthplace of the dessert!

Ice cream sundae was created to dodge the Blue Laws of America | Picture credits - Pexels

Now, why is the ‘y’ in sundae replaced by ‘e’? There are a couple of different explanations for it. The first school of thought says that this was to avoid hurting the sentiments of devout people who would be upset with the direct use of the word Sunday. Few others believe that this was done to deliberately cut ties from the word Sunday, so that people buy this variety of ice cream on other days of the week as well. Yet others believe that Sundae was the left-over ice cream from Sundays that was sold on other days of the week. While none of these claims are proven, they are all equally amusing and interesting. 

Sundae is no longer a scoop of vanilla, topped with chocolate sauce and a cherry. Now we have elaborate ice cream sundaes that are a mix of fruits, nuts, chocolate, brownies and multiple flavours of ice cream. The dessert might have evolved, but it still remains a fan favourite. Now that I look back at the history of sundae, I totally understand why people were risking breaking laws but did not stop eating ice cream even for one day of the week. The scrumptious ice cream sundae is worth breaking and making laws for!