The now world-famous Eat Icecream for Breakfast Day was invented in 1966 by an American woman, Florence Rappaport, who reportedly invented it as a way of keeping her two youngest children, Ruth and Joe, happy during the long winter months. The celebration caught the imagination of ice-cream-loving people the world over and this year was celebrated in places as far-flung as New York, Jerusalem, Bolivia and Beijing.
Florence Rappaport's grand-daughter just happens to be my friend Rebecca, who established the Chinese chapter of the celebration along with her husband Liu Zhen some years ago. Yesterday around a hundred of their friends crowded into the Typewriter Museum with bowls and spoons at the ready for a morning of total unbridled ice cream enjoyment!
Given that this was Shanghai, the icecream flavours included green tea ripple as well as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry, and the toppings were nothing short of spectacular - bourbon cherries, choc chips, strawberries, caramel popcorn and fifty kinds of sprinkles. I whipped up a quick batch of hazelnut praline (as you do when you're up with the sparrows on a Sunday morning) as our contribution. But there were a few unexpected oddities too - black bean sauce, curry powder, sichuan pepper and Chinese five spice for those with less conventional palates.
I tried a brilliant combination at Rebecca's suggestion - vanilla ice cream, banana slices, a sprinkle of five spice powder, and a drizzle of rich chocolate sauce. Fabulous!
By the look of the many happy and slightly messy faces around me, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day was an unqualified success for all the kids (both small and large) in the room.