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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ice Cream of Yesteryear: or, Life Scream for Ice Cream

The Ice Cream of Life Magazine

Summer is mostly over.  Hot days still linger in parts of the country but they won't for long.  And what better way to enjoy the last of these warm days than to dip into a tub of ice cream?  Of course, the trouble with eating ice cream is choosing one from all of the great flavors out there.  I used to believe that all these flavor choices were new, and that in the old days people just had vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream.  Didn't you?

But as I look through old magazines I find that is not the case.  Below is a small selection of ads I found in Life magazine, ranging from 1953 to 1963.

Life, January 19, 1953 advertisement

As you can see, this first vintage ad gives a somewhat common flavor a fancy name: Lorraine Cherry.  Only Lady Borden Ice Cream had this elegant cherry.  Full of big, juicy black cherries, this sweet treat was one of the many products offered by Borden.  Begun in 1957, Borden primarily produced condensed milk, including a contract to supply canned milk to Union armies during the American Civil War.  By the 1950s, Bordon's food division had gobbled up a great many smaller food lines, including Cracker Jack, Wyler's, ReaLemon, Wise (potato chips) and Bama jams.  Despite their smorgasbord offerings to the public, and their boast in fine print at the bottom of this ad that "Borden foods must be good--folks buy more food packages carrying the Borden brand name than any other in the world..." Borden could not maintain their place in modern markets.  This 19th century company closed its food division in 2001.

Life, September 5, 1955 advertisement

Here's a great look at a favorite brand of mine.  My grandmother never seemed to buy any ice cream other than Meadow Gold.  But she always stuck with vanilla.  Here you can see that Butter Brickle was available in 1955.  According to the fine print, you'll taste a wonderful candy surprise when this ice cream melts in your mouth.  It seems that at this time, butter brickle was one of America's popular candy bars.  In addition, there is a recipe supplied here to make the mocha topping.  Even better!  You can buy a life-sized doll for nearly 25% of its value, all with the Meadow Gold shield from your ice cream.  I wonder if anyone out there still has one of these dolls?

Meadow Gold began producing dairy products in 1901 in Topeka, Kansas.  Originally named the Continental Creamery Company of Topeka, the new name was selected by company employees to describe the golden quality of their fresh creamery butter.  There is some confusion as to the origin of this company.  Dean Foods, who now owns the brand, supplied the information on the Topeka Kansas origin.  However, they provide a link to Meadow Gold of Hawaii as the brand's website, which says that it began in Hawaii in 1897.  If anyone knows the real story I'd love to hear it.

Life, September 30, 1957 adversitement

Rolling down the river of time, we come upon this fun little vintage ad from 1957 for Sealtest ice cream.  And what other flavor would we see down south on the Mississippi than South'n Pecan Crunch?  Oh yes, this scrumptious southern delight has just arrived!  It is, in fact, "a packet of pure eatin' pleasure--full of chewy, crunchy goodness."  Wonder if you could send off for the toy boat?

The Sealtest brand was originally a franchise name sold to local milk bottlers throughout the Midwest and as far east as Philadelphia and  New York City.  The Sealtest Dairy Company was founded by Vernon F. Hovey.  Eventually the brand was acquired by Kraft in 1993.

Life, Apil 29, 1963 advertisement

Moving on a few years we see that Sealtest is still pushing pecans to the readers of Life magazine.  At some point in those five years their ice cream became Prestige French.  And the Pecan Crunch became Butter Pecan, a flavor that is quite common today.  It appears that the change has made this ice cream "so tantalizing, so distinctively different!"  This stuff is so good it incorporates "all of the skill of the ice cream maker's art".  That's hard to top.  Note the clear bucket, which is heralded as "ice cream that shows its good taste--and yours."

This is the kind of luxury I can understand.

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