National Sundae Day is observed each year on November 11. National Sundae Day celebrates Ice cream Sundaes. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the term sundae is obscure; however, it is generally accepted that the spelling “sundae” derives from the English word “Sunday.
The oldest known record of an ice cream sundae is an advertisement in the Ithica Daily Journal dated October 5, 1892, with the conventional day of the week spelling – Sunday. It has been hotly debated where the sundae originated. There has been a friendly rivalry between Ithica, New York, and Two Rivers, Wisconsin over which city is the true birthplace of the sundae. The Two Rivers’ claim is that in 1881, Druggist Edward Berners served the sweet concoction when customer George Hallauer ordered an ice cream soda. Because it was the Sabbath, ice cream sodas were prohibited at that time. As a compromise, Berners served the ice cream in a dish without soda and topped it with chocolate syrup. This story is disputed by some because Berners would have only been 18 at the time the story takes place. In Ithica on a Sunday after church in 1892, Chester Platt, proprietor of Platt & Colt Pharmacy, and the Reverend John M. Scott stopped at the pharmacy to enjoy a bowl of ice cream. Instead of just plain vanilla, Platt topped the scoops with cherry syrup and a candied cherry. The dessert looked and tasted so delightful it required its own name. It was named for the day it was created. Ithica also has some historical evidence supporting this, including the advertisement for a Cherry Sunday.
Ice cream sundae soon became the weekend semi-official soda fountain confection in the beginning of the 1900s and quickly gained popularity. The Ice Cream Trade Journal for 1909 along with plain, or French sundae, listed such exotic varieties as Robin Hood sundae, Cocoa Caramel sundae, Black Hawk sundae, Angel Cake sundae, Cherry Dip sundae, Cinnamon Peak sundae, Opera sundae, Fleur D’Orange sundae, Knickerbocker sundae, Tally-Ho Sundae, Bismarck and George Washington sundaes, to name a few.
The original sundae consists of vanilla ice cream topped with a flavored sauce or syrup, whipped cream, and a maraschino cherry. Classic sundaes are typically named after flavored syrup employed in the recipe: cherry sundae, chocolate sundae, strawberry sundae, raspberry sundae, etc. The classic sundae is traditionally served in a tulip-shaped, footed glass vase. Due to the long association between the shape of the glass and the dessert, this style of serving dish is generally now known as a sundae glass. The banana split is another type of Sundae, This dessert consists of two halves of a banana, sliced lengthwise. The classic banana split consists of strawberry ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, chocolate ice cream topped with crushed pineapple, and vanilla ice cream topped with strawberry syrup. Each scoop is individually garnished with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. Amother type of Sundae is the Knickerbocker Glory, This ice cream sundae is served in a large tall glass, consisting of layers of ice cream, jelly, and cream, topped with syrup, nuts, whipped cream, and often a cherry; it is popular in the United Kingdom. Another popular Sundae is the Black and white (Tin Roof Sundae). This sundae features a scoop of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and a scoop of chocolate ice cream with creamy white marshmallow sauce, topped with Spanish peanuts. The Tin Roof Sundae was created in 1916, at the Potter Drug Co., in Potter, Nebraska, owned by pharmacist James Earl Thayer. His son, Harold Dean “Pinky” Thayer, worked in the soda fountain as a teenager, and is credited for inventing the ice cream treat. According to Dr. J.E. Thayer of Sidney, there are two stories of how the sundae got its name. The first is that it was inspired by the tin ceiling in the business; the other is that the stable across the street had a tin roof and that he named it after that. The Tin Roof Sundae can still be enjoyed in Potter, Nebraska, where the Potter Drug Co. now called the Potter Sundry, is still in operation.