Do you remember what you were doing when you first wondered, “Why is an ice cream sundae a sundae and not a Monday or a Friday?” Every single one of us has had this questions rattle through our minds, some to dismiss it and other to seek out an answer. You were probably just sitting down to enjoy an ice cream sundae yourself, the double scoop of vanilla, whipped cream, hot fudge, and a cherry on top, when you began to ponder about its name. For those of you who have yet to receive an answer, keep reading to discover the truth. This is the story of the ice cream sundae.
The story begins a long time ago in the small town of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. The year was 1881, it was a Sunday, and George Hallauer was on his way to a local drug store and ice cream parlor. When George arrived at the small ice cream parlor, he ordered an ice cream soda which was a very popular treat at that time. Unfortunately for George Edward Berner, the owner of the ice cream parlor, couldn’t serve him his ice cream soda because recent “Blue Laws” had labeled soda as “scandalous” and not appropriate to be sold or consumed on the Sabbath. Instead of sending George away empty handed, Edward served him a generous scoop of ice cream with chocolate syrup drizzled on top; an ingredient that was previously only used in ice cream sodas. Even though the treat was missing an important ingredient, soda, it grew in popularity and earned the name, “Treat for Sundays.” It wasn’t long before more and more customers began asking for the “Sunday” treat, further solidifying its name. To avoid offending those devoutly religious, the treat received an official title of “ice cream sundae.” The misspelling of Sunday was purposeful to assure religious leaders that the treat was not named after the Sabbath.
Luckily for us there are no “blue laws” prohibiting us from eating yummy treats on Sunday. Having said that, we are grateful to the religious leaders who saw ice cream soda as a sacrilegious Sunday treat. Without their extreme views on Sabbath snack food, we wouldn’t be enjoying our ice cream sundaes today.