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Summer heat makes us want to (s)cream

To say that summer arrived with a vengeance would be an understatement. On Sunday, the mercury topped out at 115 F at the official weather station at the municipal airport, and it reached 120 F when I was driving in my car that afternoon.

But soaring temperatures in July shouldn’t come as too big a surprise. The Desert Research Institute shows July has the highest temperatures each year, averaging 101.6 F.

According to the National Weather Service, the highest temperature recorded in nearby Las Vegas was 117 in 2005 and Boulder City is typically a few degrees hotter, especially inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

Don’t expect any relief soon. The weather forecast for the remainder of the month is in triple digits, with highs of 106 for the next couple of days.

Something else that shouldn’t come as a surprise is that people seek a variety of creative ways to stay cool. One of my favorites is indulging in a cool treat: ice cream. I am not alone in enjoying this refreshing and cool indulgence. July is National Ice Cream Month and Sunday, July 19, is National Ice Cream Day.

In fact, throughout the month there are several days designated specifically for various ice cream flavors and treats. It starts July 1 with National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day. Then we proceed to National Strawberry Sundae Day (July 7), National Peach Ice Cream Day (July 17), National Vanilla Ice Cream Day (July 23) and National Hot Fudge Sundae Day (July 25).

The month also brings us National Freezer Pop Day (July 8) and National Coffee Milkshake Day (July 27).

Those are holidays I can get behind 100 percent.

The National Day Calendar states that the likely origin of ice cream dates back to A.D. 54 to 68 when Nero was emperor of Rome. Evidence shows that ice and snow were harvested and flavored to make a form of ice cream.

In the United States, the first reference to ice cream came in a 1744 letter by Maryland Gov. William Bladen. It was a special treat, affordable primarily for the rich, including the nation’s first president, who spent about $200 for ice cream in the summer of 1790.

The invention of mechanical refrigeration and technology to boost production helped make ice cream more available to the general public in the mid-to-late 1800s.

Now, not only do we have to make the decision about what flavor of ice cream to get, we are offered a variety of choices about the sugar and fat content, as well as if we want ice cream, gelato, frozen custard, frozen yogurt, sorbet or sherbet. Plus, there are now ice creams made with dairy substitutes such as oat milk, almond milk, cashew milk, soy milk, coconut milk and banana puree.

There is even one brand that features “hidden vegetables,” though I’m reluctant to call that a summer indulgence.

I hope this cool information helps you chill out for the remainder of the month as we look forward to August, when the average temperature drops to a “refreshing” 99.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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