Casita Sundae

a churro & vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream, abuelita sprinkles, and strawberry puree

The sundae is an ice cream dessert. It typically consists of a scoop of ice cream topped with sauce or syrup, and in some cases other toppings including chopped nuts, sprinkles, whipped cream, or maraschino cherries.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the origin of the term sundae is obscure, however, it is generally accepted that the spelling “sundae” derives from the word Sunday or, according to one source, from the German name Sonntag, which means Sunday.

Among the many stories about the invention of the sundae, a frequent theme is that the dish arose in contravention to so-called blue laws against Sunday consumption of either ice cream or ice cream soda. The religious laws are said to have led druggists to produce a substitute for these popular treats for consumption on Sunday. According to this theory of the name’s origin, the spelling was changed to sundae to avoid offending religious conventions.

In support of this idea, Peter Bird wrote in The First Food Empire: A History of J. Lyons and Co. (2000) that the name ‘sundae’ was adopted as a result of Illinois state’s early prohibition of ice cream consumption on Sundays, because ice cream with a topping that obscured the main product was not deemed to be ice cream. However, according to documentation published by the Evanston Public Library (Illinois), it was the drinking of soda, not the eating of ice cream, that was outlawed on Sundays in Illinois.

A churro, sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnut, is a fried-dough pastry—predominantly choux—based snack. Churros are popular in Spain, France, Portugal, Latin America (including Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands) and the United States. There are two types of churros in Spain, one which is thin (and sometimes knotted) and the other which is long and thick (porra). They are both normally eaten for breakfast dipped in hot chocolate or café con leche.

Abuelita is a brand of chocolate tablets, or powdered mix in individual packets, made by Nestlé and used to make Mexican-style hot chocolate. It was originally invented in Mexico in 1963. The name is an affectionate Spanish word for “grandma” (literally translated as “little grandmother” or “granny”). Since 1973 the Mexican actress Sara García has been the image for the brand before it was acquired by the Swiss company.

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