Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Pharmacist creator of the sundae

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

I have written in the past about the US pharmacists who invented fizzy drinks such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola, initially produced for sale through their drug store soda fountains (PJ, 13 September 2008, p310). I have since learnt that it was also a pharmacist who created the ice cream sundae.

The inventor was one Chester Platt, proprietor of Platt & Colt’s Drug Store in Ithaca, New York State. According to a letter written many years later by his soda fountain clerk, Mr Platt created the dish on Sunday 3 April 1892 for his friend the Reverend John M. Scott.

The minister was in the habit of visiting the pharmacy for a Sunday chat with Mr Platt, who was church treasurer. On that particular Sunday, Mr Platt asked for two bowls of vanilla ice cream, but instead of serving it plain the fountain clerk topped it with cherry syrup and a candied cherry. The minister declared the dish delicious and suggested naming it after the day on which it was created. Thus the cherry Sunday came into being.

Three days later, the Ithaca Daily Journal carried a notice that read: “Cherry Sunday. A new 10 cent Ice Cream Speciality, Served only at Platt & Colt’s Famous day and night Soda Fountain.” And on 11 April, the newspaper described the new dish as “ice-cream served in a champagne glass with cherry juice syrup and candied French cherries on top”.

A letter survives from a Washington patent attorney showing that the firm made an unsuccessful bid to trademark the word Sunday for its ice cream concoctions. The change of spelling to sundae may have been an attempt to find a name that could be registered. Or perhaps the change was made out of deference to people’s feelings about the use of the word Sunday for commercial purposes.

Several other US communities also claim to have invented the sundae, but only Ithaca seems to have good documentary evidence to support its case.

Whatever its origins, the sundae has remained a popular dessert for well over a century.

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

From: Beyond pharmacy blog

Take a look here for thoughts and musings beyond the pharmacy realm

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.