July is National Ice Cream Month (Credit: Census.gov/ Public Domain)

Former US President Ronald Reagan's love for jelly beans was well-known. However, the country's 40th leader also had another guilty pleasure — ice cream. In 1984, Mr. Reagan gave the "nutritious and wholesome food" the respect it deserved by declaring July as National Ice Cream Month!

Proclamation 5219 urges citizens to observe the entire month, or at least the third Sunday of July — designated National Ice Cream Day —"with appropriate ceremonies and activities." This, of course, means eating as much ice cream as possible. Here are some fun facts to keep you entertained while you perform your civic duty.

The origin of ice cream

The emperors of China's Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) are believed to be the first to eat an ice-cream-like frozen treat made with milk, flour, and camphor. But the modern-day recipe using milk and sugar as the primary ingredients was invented by the Arabs in the 9th century. By the 10th century, the delicious treat, made with milk, cream, flavored rosewater, dried fruits, and nuts, was popular in many middle-east nations.

Fun ice cream facts (Credit Senior Advisor.com/ CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Europeans discovered the icy treat in the 16th century. But it took a lot longer to get to the US. Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen was the first to serve ice cream to guests in 1744. Due to a lack of refrigerators, the treat did not become widely available in the US until 1851.

But Americans have made up for the lost time. They are now the world's biggest ice cream consumers. An average US resident eats about 48 pints a year. California produces the most ice cream. But the biggest fans — on a per capita basis— live in Washington, DC, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin.

Your favorite ice cream flavor may reflect your personality

Most people believe their ice cream choice reflects their taste preference. However, Dr. Alan Hirsch, founder of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, claims it is a window into an individual's personality.

Some experts believe the choice of ice cream reflects a person's personality (Credit: Baskin Robbins/ CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Vanilla ice cream fans are impulsive risk-takers. Those who love chocolate are lively, charming, and somewhat dramatic. Strawberry ice cream enthusiasts are tolerant, devoted, and reserved. Love chocolate chip ice cream? Then you must be generous, competent, and a go-getter!

The world's largest ice cream scoop

Kemps celebrated its 100th anniversary by creating the world's largest ice cream scoop (Credit: Guinness World Records/ CC-BY-SA-2.0)

In 2014, Minnesota-based Kemps marked the company's 100th anniversary by creating the world's largest ice cream scoop. The 5-foot, 6-inch tall, and 6-foot, 2-inch-wide frozen masterpiece was made using 733 containers of strawberry ice cream. Once the Guinness World Record was confirmed, the 3,010 pound (1,365 kg) treat was distributed to hundreds of lucky fairgoers at the Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Happy National Ice Cream Month!

Resources: CNN.com, BaskinRobbins.com, Wikipedia.org