Entry in progress—B.P.
Wikipedia: Hokey pokey (ice cream)
Hokey pokey is a flavour of ice cream in New Zealand, consisting of plain vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee.
“Hokey pokey” was a slang term for ice cream in general in the 19th and early 20th centuries in several areas — including New York and parts of Great Britain — specifically for the ice cream sold by street vendors, or “hokey-pokey” men. The vendors, said to be mostly of Italian descent, supposedly used a sales pitch or song involving the phrase “hokey pokey”, for which several origins have been suggested, although no certain etymology is known.
The name may come from the term “hocus-pocus”, or it may be a corruption of one of several Italian phrases. According to “The Encyclopedia of Food” (published 1923, New York) hokey pokey (in the U.S.) is “a term applied to mixed colors and flavors of ice cream in cake form”. The Encyclopedia says the term originated from the Italian phrase oh che poco - “oh how little”. Alternative possible derivations include other similar-sounding Italian phrases: for example ecco un poco - “here is a (little) piece”.
8 October 1907, New York (NY) Times, pg. 11:
SAMUEL F. DUNHAM DEAD.
He Was the Inventor of the “Hokey Pokey” or Ice Cream Brick.
Special to The New York Times.
BURLINGTON, N. J., Oct. 7.—Samuel F. Dunham, an aged citizen and originator of the now widely popular “hokey-pokey,” or ice cream brick, died at his home here to-day of heart disease.
Dunham conceived the idea of selling ice cream in cake form for a penny and laid by a snug fortune before imitators broke into his trade. He lived, however, to see the business he invented become a great industry, and took just pride in being styled “the original hokey-pokey man.”
9 October 1907, Washington (DC) Post, “‘Hokey Pokey’Originator Dead,” pg. 11:
Burlington, N. J., Oct. 8.—Samuel A. Dunham, an aged citizen and originator of the now widely popular “hokey-pokey,” or ice cream brick, died at his home here yesterday from heart disease. Dunham laid by a snug fortune before imitators spoiled his trade. He took pride in being styled the “original hokey-pokey man.”