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We All Scream for Ice Cream

When you need a break from the car, ice cream is there to comfort you.

©iStockphoto.com/kuriputosu

Few things represent an iconic American childhood so well as the thrill of a coming ice cream truck. Unlike the other roadside vendors we've discussed that try to attract passers-by, this is one will come to you. Throughout the 20th century, wagons, vans and trucks have wandered through suburban neighborhoods, ringing bells or playing music to attract customers.

It would seem that something that needs to be kept cold would be an unlikely food for a street vendor to carry. However, don't underestimate Americans' insatiable desire for the frozen treat. Even before modern refrigeration, wagons would come through towns selling ice cream that they kept cold in buckets of ice [source: Simopoulos].

The Good Humor ice cream truck, still popular today, dates back to 1902, when it was sold from a motorized wagon. What would eventually be known as the Eskimo bar, an ice cream bar dipped in chocolate, was invented in 1919 and wildly popular for ice cream vendors [source: Quinzio].

Although we haven't nearly exhausted the kinds of food you can get by the side of the road, you can bet there are choices for almost every preference, taste and passing whim.

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