Why Is Ice Cream So Easy to Love?

Ice cream is delicious. But it’s also a direct line to daydreams and memories—of leisure, of afternoons in the sun, of the excitement you felt as a 5-year-old meeting the ice-cream truck as it rolled down your street. In 2017, the culture writer Matt Siegel noted an Austrian study that found that “only ice cream lowered the human startle response in men and women (at least when ingested by syringe), whereas chocolate and yogurt did not produce statistically significant outcomes across genders.” This suggests that the comfort of ice cream goes much deeper than “the physiological effects of sugar, fat, temperature, and perceived sweetness,” Siegel writes. “The phenomenon, it appears, is largely psychological.” The writer Margaret Visser argues that ice cream evokes two kinds of nostalgia: one for childhood memories, which recall that feeling of comfort, and the other for “Elsewhere”—summer vacations, beaches, whatever elsewhere means to the rememberer in question. The psychological benefits of ice cream were so ingrained in America’s consciousness by World War II that in 1945, the U.S. Navy spent $1 million to convert a barge into a floating ice-cream factory that was towed around the Pacific, distributing ice cream to ships so troops could enjoy it. Source: Why Is Ice Cream So Easy to Love?

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