A battle over where and when the ice cream sundae
originated is heating up. The two American cities fighting to lay claim to inventing the treat have taken out ads in each other's local newspapers. One resident even mailed an inflatable cow to the mayor of his rival city.
Two Rivers, Wis., says that it concocted the sundae first in 1881 after a customer asked Edward C. Berners, the owner of a downtown soda fountain, to spoon a little chocolate sauce over ice cream. According to local lore, Berners began selling the new treat on Sundays.
Ithaca, N.Y., for its part, says it invented the sundae in 1892. Naturally, the city has its own folksy myth, too. As the story goes, the syrup covering the first sundae was not chocolate, but cherry. A local priest asked for vanilla ice cream with cherry syrup capped with a dark candied cherry and suggested that the dessert be named after the day.
Each town has historical markers devoted to the sundae. Two Rivers seem most passionate about the cause though. It was one of that city's residents who mailed the inflatable cow. Ithaca, for its part, said in a proclamation that people in Two Rivers are "great storytellers." As the cheeseheads like to say, "Uff da!"