Keep It Icy

With September but days away and the crisp of fall in the air, we best get our outdoor ice-cream kicks in while we can. We won’t yet know how the pandemic affected our overall August ice-cream consumption, but in August of 2019, Statista reported that 1.87% of Canadian respondents admitted to eating ice cream every day. 24% said they ate ice cream two to three times a month.

Beyond the cooling and the delicious calories, what effect does all that ice cream have on us?


Ice cream, gelato and sorbet rate high on international comfort food lists. Who doesn’t remember the excitement of heading out for ice-cream as a child?

Four swerves left of innocence, ice-cream has also been invoked in songs of grown-up lust to love. Leading the flirty 2020 late summer ice-cream charge are powerhouses BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez. Stand back and watch the hundreds of millions of views rack up.



Historically there were those who believed that ice-cream also had extraordinary medicinal power. Particularly influential was doctor and author Filippo Baldini. His 1755 De’ sorbetti e de’ bagni freddi saggi medico-fisici – or ‘On sorbets and frozen products, the medical and physical benefits’ – described different sweet ice flavours and their unique bodily effects.

‘Sorbets and gelato are the products of the most refined human intelligence,’ the Naples-born Baldini said. ‘Frozen products undoubtedly produce countless positive effects in our bodies.’ ‘They can ‘fortify the body and exhilarate the spirit.’

Baldini divided these healing ices into:

i. Aromatic flavours – coffee, cinnamon, chocolate, pistachio, pine nuts.

ii. Sub-acid flavours – citrons, lemon, orange, strawberry, pineapples, bitter grapes.

iii. Milky flavours – Made from the milk of goats, donkeys, cows or sheep. Most like our ‘ice cream.’


Lemon sorbetto, according to Baldini, could soothe a sore stomach and break a fever. Get to the bottom of your bowl of citron sorbet and you were thought to be one step closer to a healthy, long life. And, Baldini raved, pineapple sorbet inspired vigor and drive.

The aromatic cinnamon sorbetto, Baldini believed, could ease pain, calm nerves, and enhance circulation. Chocolate ice was expected to raise the spirits – true story, Dr. Baldini. He also saw chocolate sorbetto as relieving symptoms of gout, scurvy, and atrophy.

Baldini was particularly ambitious with his expectations of the milky ices. Donkey’s milk was said to purify blood. Both sheep and goat’s milk ice-creams were expected to cure hemorrhages, diarrhea, dysentery, scurvy. Cow’s milk was even said to help those who could not walk to walk again.

Thankfully, we do not demand such miracles from our ice-cream. We’re just ‘ice-cream chillin’. Enjoy your late summer season cones 🍦.


Header: Anna Tukhfatullina

Photo 2:  Pablo Merchán Monte


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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton