Think you know this cool, creamy confection? Think again. The next time you tickle your taste buds, keep these fun factoids in mind:
- Soft serve has been around for nearly a century. While there is some debate as to whether it was Dairy Queen Founder J.F. McCullough or Carvel founder Tom Carvel who invented soft serve, either way, the dessert has been around since the 1930s. However, the Soft Serve Ice Cream Machine as we know it today didn’t come about until the 1960s, when mechanized air pumps were first added to the machines.
- Urban legend credits Margaret Thatcher as the creator of soft serve. Prime minister by day, soft serves maven at night? While this is purely urban legend, Thatcher did at one-time work for the food conglomerate, J. Lyons & Company, which did develop soft serve technology.
- Soft serve has seaweed in it. Sort of. Carrageenan, an ingredient commonly found in soft serve, is a natural seaweed extract. It’s used for its stabilizing and thickening properties, as well as to help give the ice cream a smooth texture.
- Soft serve is technically a reduced-fat food. The average hard ice cream has to have a minimum of 10 percent butterfat, and some have up to 16 percent (think Haagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s). Dairy Queen’s soft serve has a saintly 5 percent, with most soft serves landing somewhere between three and six percent.
- August 18 is National Soft Serve Day. As if enjoying a reduced-fat treat wasn’t reason enough to indulge, there’s a special day dedicated to this delicious dessert. However, with all the flavors available as well as organic, all-natural versions, there’s no reason to wait to have America’s favorite frozen fare.
Bonus fact: Soft serve isn’t cold enough to give you brain freeze, perhaps making it the best cold dessert ever.