National Ice Cream Day

Jul 19, 2020 by Teresa Michael, in Travel , Essay

Today is National Ice Cream Day. Ice Cream and the Michael’s Ice Cream famous Bubble sundae are at the foundation of the Michael Family. Larry’s grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1902 from a village outside of Beirut, Lebanon. At the age of fifteen, he entered the Great Hall at Ellis Island as Jusef Matuk, and, with a swipe of a clerk’s pen, he arrived in New York City as Joseph Michael. He settled in Jackson County in southeastern Ohio, where he met his future wife, Tutkla Shannon, who had immigrated from a different village near Beirut. In 1909, after a series of jobs including time as a pack peddler, he established the Michael Ice Cream Company, where he made his own mix from cream delivered to the plant by local dairy farmers.

After WW II, government regulations mandated pasteurization of all milk and milk products, a process that required an equipment investment that Joe was not prepared to make. At that time, he began buying his mix from a company that made the mix according to Joe’s recipe. Unfortunately, Joe’s original recipe was lost forever.

Larry Michael, Joe’s grandson (and my husband), decided to replicate Joe’s original recipe based on his childhood memory of how the ice cream tasted back in the late 1950s and 1960s when he worked in the ice cream shop. Armed with a one-quart Cuisinart ice cream freezer and a willing taste tester (me) and after multiple batches, Larry developed what he believes is the closest as humanly possible to a recreation of the original Michael’s Ice Cream Vanilla Ice Cream.

Meeka Mohler, Joe Michael’s great-granddaughter and Larry Michael’s niece, is carrying on the Michael’s Ice Cream tradition from her father, the late Tom Michael.

If you are ever in Jackson, Ohio, stop by for a Bubble and some roasted peanuts, another Michael’s Ice Cream tradition.


Joe Michael in front of the original Michael's Ice Cream in Jackson, Ohio.

*Michael’s Vanilla Ice Cream and Bubble recipes published in the Michael Family Cookbook - 2017