Food Origins: The Ice Cream Cone

Ah, the ice cream cone -- where cool creamy confection and crunchy treat meet. But who invented it? See more pictures of cool foods and drinks.

You've polished off half a scoop and gotten to your favorite part - where cool confection and cone meet. As you take that first, creamy, crunchy bite, you wonder, "Where did it all begin?" OK - maybe you've never thought twice about the crispy batter cone your slowly melting soft serve sits in, but believe it or not, the origins of this functional treat have been a controversial topic since the beginning of the 20th century. In fact, many accounts trace the beginnings of the ice cream cone to the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

One popular legend tells of an ice cream vendor named Arnold Fomachou whose product was so popular that he ran out of bowls in which to serve his tasty treat. But as luck would have it, his stall stood near that of a resourceful waffle vendor named Ernest Hamwi. Hamwi rolled his product into the shape of a cone, as a container for the ice cream, and voilĂ , history -- and a tasty treat -- were made. The idea of a portable, edible ice cream cone became wildly popular and soon ice cream vendors all over the fair began selling this ingenious combination.

Another version of the story claims that it was not Fomachou, but rather Charles Menches who ran the famous ice cream stand next to Hamwi's. And still another tells that it was not Hamwi, but Albert and Nick Kabbaz who were responsible for the edible waffle containers. Some even claim that a man named Abe Doumar suggested the idea to Hamwi, or that a man named David Avayou got the idea from vendors in France, who used paper cones. So, what's the real scoop? We perused some patents to see.