Science for Kids – Tanya Richardson

Science for Kids

30 FUN Science experiments perfect for young kids- We have done a few of these, and my kids were in awe!

Snow cones are a classic fat free summer delight. With a bit of shaved ice and a flavored syrup, a delicious treat is made that anyone can enjoy. Despite the prominence of this treat, most people don't know how the it came about.

Surprisingly, the ancient Romans are credited with the creation of the original version sometime between 27 BC and 395 AD. Snow was brought down from the mountaintops and flavored with syrups. Though undoubtedly considered a treat, this process was laborious and would have required great speed so that the ice didn't melt before it could be consumed. In the late 1800s to early 1900s, the creation of snow cones was revived. In this instance, ice blocks were shaved down in a manner similar to grating cheese with metal shavers, and then the syrup was added to the finished shaved ice product. Hand held shavers were produced by many manufacturers in the late 1800s. Though certainly less time consuming than hauling snow down from a mountaintop, this process was still labor intensive.

The easier incarnation of these treats came about in the early 1900s. In 1919, Samuel Bert began selling modern versions at the Texas State Fair. A year later, he invented his own version of a snow cone machine, which was able to produce the treats far more quickly than in prior attempts. He continued to sell his popular cones at the Texas State Fair until his death in 1984. Ernest Hansen in New Orleans also created his own snow cone maker in 1934. His came equipped with a motor to shave the ice quickly and evenly. He and his wife created various flavors of the syrup to be added to the ice, and opened his own business, featuring his invention. The establishment is still open to this day, and Mr. Hansen continued to work there until a year prior to his death.

Ever since snow cones became easier to make, people all over the world have come to love them, resulting in new and unique varieties of flavors and serving styles. The Japanese, for example, enjoy akizuki syrup, also known as the red bean flavor. Leche, or milk flavor, is popular in Mexico. Puerto Rico tends to serve the ice in a pyramid shape. They are especially popular in tropical and island habitats due to the high temperatures year long. Snow cones have a long and varied history and are clearly here to stay.