Originally created 06/02/04

Ice cream parlors help beat the heat one lick at a time



AIKEN - "Sprinkles."

That was the word that 2-year-old Meghan Glinski said as she studied the flecks of color that adorned the chocolate-dipped ice cream cone in her hand. She licked the rapidly-melting vanilla ice cream that topped the cone while sitting at the Sweet Cow Creamery with her mother, Holly Glinski, on Tuesday afternoon.

More ice cream is sold in the South than in any other section of the country, according to the International Dairy Food Association. Local ice cream shops are looking to scoop up the bucks as people look for a tasty way to beat the heat.

Laura and Richard Sherman, co-owners of the Sweet Cow Creamery in downtown Aiken, keep track of the daily high temperature and the amount of sales made by the Moo Crew, store employees who serve up those ice-cold scoops, to see whether there is any connection between the two.

"Everybody is in a good mood when they come in here," said Mrs. Sherman, 31, of Aiken. "It's politically correct - everyone likes ice cream."

Despite a nationwide low-carbohydrate-diet craze, sales of the decadent dairy dessert have not slacked off locally, owners of area ice cream parlors said. The Sweet Cow Creamery has adapted to the changing tastes of health-conscious dessert connoisseurs by serving low-carb chocolate and butter pecan ice cream.

Although no one knows the true history of the frozen dessert, Alexander the Great, King Solomon and the Roman emperor Nero are said to have dined on snow flavored with honey, nectar and juices.

As ice cream evolved, it was enjoyed primarily by royalty until the late 17th century. With the rise of ice houses and soda fountains in the 1800s, ice cream became a huge treat for Americans. The frozen treat became an edible morale booster during World War II when ice cream was served to the troops.

A family-owned ice cream shop started by Bruce Reed in Bridgewater, Pa., in 1989, has grown into the booming Bruster's Ice Cream franchise, with stores stretching from Florida to New Hampshire. Bruster's Ice Cream, located on East Gate Drive in Aiken, offers about 25 frigid flavors, including two special flavors for June: black raspberry and peach.

Bruster's in Aiken serves about 800 scoops on a sweltering summer afternoon, said crew leader Ashley Evans, 16, of Aiken. Even canine companions brought to Bruster's on a leash can lap up a free scoop of vanilla ice cream in a dog biscuit cone.

"We have little baby cones for the little kids," Ashley said. "It's so fun to watch them because they have their favorite colors that they pick. And they're so little."

Reach Karen Ethridge at (803) 648-1395 or karen.ethridge@augustachronicle.com.

Ice Cream Facts

  • In the summer of 1790, George Washington spent about $200 on ice cream.

  • Based on market share, the most popular flavors of ice cream are vanilla, chocolate and Neapolitan.

  • The fastest-growing flavors in 1999 were caramel, cookie, peach and nut.
    Source: International Ice Cream Association