Do Americans like their ice cream or what?

Here's a guide to common frozen desserts:

BOMBE: Molded frozen desset usually composed of layers of two or more ice creams, sorbets or mousses. When unmolded and sliced to serve, the layering results in a decorative pattern.

A Guinness Record is set for the world's largest ice cream sundae-33,616 pounds of frozen fun.

The U.S. Congress declares July National Ice Cream Mounth, and the second Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day.One recent survey revealed that more Americans would go off a diet for ice cream than for any other product.

It is high on the list of favorite foods in this country - more than 800 million gallons of the stuff are consumed each year (n amount that the International Association of Ice Cream Manufacturers has calculated would provide single-scoop cones for every human being on earth).

And everyone has a favorite flavor. Although flavors now run the gamut from the tried and true Neapolitan to such new innovations as Brassicaceous Beer (oot beer and horseradish) and Pumpkin Licorice, vanilla remains the hands-down favorite of many Americans, posting a 31 percent share of all ice cream sold last year.

When Donvier, manufacturer of a home ice cream maker, checked out taste buds of the rich and famous, it found some interesting bits:

Former president Richard Nixon had gallons of his favorite, Macadamia Nut, flown to the mainland from Hawaii. 1988 presidential hopefuls Bush, Dukakis and Jackson cast their votes for vanilla with butterscotch sauce, mocha and Rainbow Sherbet respectively.

Columnists Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers share a passion for Pralines 'N Cream. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff confides that his favorite also brings back memories. "Rocky Road reminds me of my attempts to get out of Russia," he muses. Phyllis Diller stocks her fridge with lo-cal chocolate, while New York Mets right fielder Darryl Strawberry opts for chocolate chip.

There are probably as many suggestions about the origins of ice cream as there are ways to eat it. Legend has it that Alexander the Great, Nero and the Egyptian pharaohs all enjoyed the treat. But historians think what they ate was not ice cream as we know it, but a concoction of snow and milk.

Charles I of England introduced to his subjects a dessert made from frozen milk and cream. It was so successful that the king commanded his French chef to keep the recipe a royal secret.

George Washington was also extremely fond of the confection. His ledgers show that during two months in 1790, he spent more than $200 on ice cream. Washington's household inventory listed "two pewter ice cream pots."

A man named Jacob Fussell of Baltimore was the man who brought ice cream to the masses. He opened the first ice cream factory in 1851, and in so doing, cut the price by more than half. We've been a nation of ice cream eaters ever since.

The ice cream soda came along in 1874. The ice cream cone was invented by an enterprising seller at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. The banana split was introduced in 1905.

Today's ice cream, of course, is a lot different from that eaten by presidents and kings of the past. Today, the composition is carefully controlled. All states as well as the national government have established regulations called "definitions and standards of identity" for ice cream.

These regulations determine maximum amounts of some ingredients, minimum amounts of others, and tell what must be listed on labels.

Look inside ice cream and what do you find? Ingredients include:

Milkfat: This is what imparts the full creamy flavor and produces a smooth texture. It also helps ice cream resist melting. The more milkfat, the richer - and more calorie laden - the ice cream will be.

Non-fat milk derived solids: When water and milkfat are removed from whole milk, this is what remains. These solids add just enough flavor to round out the delicate taste and help give ice cream a smooth, compact texture.

Sweeteners: Many kinds of sweeteners are used, the most common being sucrose. Corn syrup, honey and others are added. Sweeteners enhance flavor and help provide body.

Egg yolk solids: Add richness, food value and delicate flavor.

Stabilizers: Prevent the formation of large, coarse ice crystals if ice cream is subjected to temperature changes.

Emulsifiers: Cause two liquids that do not naturally mix to combine. Emulsifiers improve whipping quality and give a smooth, dry texture.

Flavorings: Spices, fruit, fruit juices, chocolate, nuts, candy, cookies are just a few of the many flavoring ingredients used.

Air and overrun: Cranking an ice cream freezer whips in tiny cells of air among ingredients to act as cushions to keep ingredients from pressing together in a solid, icy mass. Overrun is usually defined as volume increase obtained by whipping air into the ice cream mix.

Because such a variety of frozen desserts is available, the label on the container is your best source of information.

This is the information in shadow #1:

FRAPPE: Originally frozen ices that had been scraped or crushed and served slushy. Cream and eggs have worked their way into some of today's mixtures.

FROZEN CUSTARD: (lso FRENCH ICE CREAM and FRENCH CUSTARD ICE CREAM) A product very much like ice cream, but must contain at least 1.4 percent egg yolk.

FROZEN SOUFFLE: Similar to mousse; however, frozen in and served in a souffle dish; or, a sherbet containing egg yolk or whole eggs.

FROZEN YOGURT: Yogurt, buttermilk or cultured sour milk combined with fruit and sweetener.

ICE OR GRANITA: Italian-style flavored ice that sometimes is flavored with fruit. Ices are frozen with very little agitation to obtain a rough granular texture.

ICE CREAM: A mixture of milk and cream or other milk products, sweetener and flavorings. It may or may not include eggs, egg products, added emulsifiers and/or stabilizers. It must contain at least 10 percent milkfat to be labeled ice cream. At 11 percent milkfat (he average), 1 cup of ice cream contains 270 calories. Rich ice cream (6 percent milkfat) has 350 calories per cup.

ICE MILK: Like ice cream but contains less milkfat. It must contain at least 2 percent but not more than 7 percent milkfat. One cup has 185 calories.

MOUSSE: Can be made from one of two bases: a sugar syrup flavored with fruit puree, or a rich cooked custard. Whipped cream is then folded in to produce a velvety texture.

PARFAIT: Ice cream or whipped cream layered with fruit into a tall footed glass; or, egg yolks cooked with a syrup then cooled before whipped cream and flavorings are folded in.

SHERBET: Sweetener, fruit juices, stabilizers and a small amount of milk product. It only contains between 1 and 2 percent milkfat and usually has more sugar than ice cream has. One cup contains 270 calories - about the same as ice cream.

SORBET: Usually made from fruit juice or puree, water, sweetener and a small amount of stabilizer such as gelatin or beaten egg whites to produce a smooth texture.

This is information in shadow box #2: THE HISTORY OF ICE CREAM

Ice cream vendor at St. Louis World's Fair runs out of paper dishes; substitutes a rolled-up waffel and the ice cream cone is born.

Baltimore milk dealer Jacob Fussell builds the first ice cream factory.

New Jerseyan Nancy Johnson invents the handcranked ice cream freezer.

The first recorded evidence of ice cream in America arrives via a letter from a dinner guest of a Maryland's Governor.

The French public gets a first lick at ice cream. The setting: Cafe Procope, the first Parisian cafe.

N

Catherine de Medici (Life of Henery II of France) introduces sherbet to the French court.

Explorer Marco Polo returns home to Italy from the Far East with first known recipe for flavored ices.

Young Nero Claudius Ceasar invents the "sweet ice", sends teams of runners to the mountains for snow which is then flavored with honey, fruits and juices.