Monday, July 21, 2014

Black Power Through the Lens of Ice Cream

Warren Pickard owner of Relics & Rarities Ice Cream Parlor and Car Gallery in Decatur, Georgia in metro Atlanta, is another example of a black entrepreneur making his mark in the ice cream business. See the link below. 
The Black power movement inspired a vibrant black entrepreneurial spirit that encouraged a number of black owned restaurant chains in the late 1960s. In Baltimore one of the greatest examples of this is the purchase of The Arundel Ice Cream Company. In 1973, Business Opportunities For Progress, a group of African American investors, purchased the Arundel Ice Cream Company and its 16 ice cream stores which also sold bakery goods, sandwiches, and fried chicken. The company planned to sell its featured ice cream products in every neighborhood grocery store. “Young blacks will be able to say it is possible for us to make ice cream not just operate a liquor store,” said Samuel T. Daniels executive director of the Council for Equal Business Opportunity Inc at a press conference. So a little over thirteen years after protesters forced Arundel to completely integrate its ice cream parlors (see earlier post), African American investors bought it. No details exist on how it changed overtime but about twenty years later, the company was sold at auction.

Relics & Rarities Ice Cream Parlor and Car Gallery Story:

Ice Cream Series with Recipes:

Baltimore Foodways & Recipes:

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ice Cream Culture in Jalabad, Afghanistan

Cardamom ice cream, recipes below (photo from

For the month of July I’ve been running a series on ice cream with all kinds of historical and cultural angles from different regions of the United States and the world. In the process of doing the research I’ve learned allot and look forward to sharing my findings as a lectured filled with the many great historical images I found. When you focus in on one topic and keep peeling away the layers you can really learn all of new information. Ice cream provides a lens into different cultures and societies. It also provides insights into class and gender differences as it relates to the space and place where and how ice cream is made, sold, and consumed.  For example, I came across a really interesting story done on NPR about ice cream in Jalabad, Afghanistan. 

Visiting an Ice Cream Shop in Jalabad:

Cardamom Ice Cream Recipes:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ice Cream's Asia Minor Roots

Ice cream merchant, Constantinople, Turkey, 1898 (Courtesy of the Library of Congress)  
Dondurma/Turkish Ice Cream, recipes below 
In celebration of ice cream month, lets delve deep into some of the history of this frozen delight. The Turkish have been making ice cream for some 300 years. Called dondurma in Turkey, it's made from milk, sugar, and thickening agent called salep which is flour made from the root of the Early Purple Orchid which blossoms in the spring. Salep his native to Asia Minor but can be found in India and Germany. The recipe also includes mastic which gives the ice cream a unique chewy and delightful texture. Turkish ice cream takes hours to make and it contains the medicinal quality of improving gastro-intestinal problems. It has a much slower melting point than North American style ice cream and it’s traditionally eaten with a knife and fork; although cones are popular too.  It's sold in store fronts, on street carts, and by street vendors like the one in the image above. As advertisement street venders cry out phrases such as “ICE CREAM Ice cream, ice cream that sends you to the Heaven! Ice cream, the herald of spring has come! As the YouTube link below illustrates, ice cream venders in Turkey play a game of catch it if you can as they mix and scoop the ice cream with a special long utensil. This is a surprise to most tourists and something you have to see for yourself!

Monday, July 14, 2014

July Fish Fry Picnics in Times Past

Red Velvet Cake, recipes below
Summer fish fries in July meant serious competition for bragging rights as a community’s best baker too. The summer picnic gave ladies a chance to show off their baking hands. Every baking artist brought out their prize culinary art to the delight of some and criticism of others. “Orange sponge cakes and dark brown mounds dripping Hershey’s chocolate stood layer to layer with ice-white coconuts and light brown caramels,” writes Maya Angelou of her Stamps, Arkansas childhood. Joyce White remembers similar competition in her hometown in Choctaw County, Alabama. She observed that the womenfolk “would vie to outdo one another” with their “peach cobbler, blackberry pie, banana pudding, chocolate cake, pound cake, and sometimes even homemade ice cream. These memories trigger a urge for some red velvet cake. Here are two recipes one traditional and the other vegan.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Feeding the Revolution in Atlanta

Lemon Pie, recipe below
Founded in 1960, The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) used the strategy of direct action to advance the desegregation agenda of the collective civil rights movement. SNCC gained international attention when in February of 1960 members launched a sit-in demonstration at a lunch-counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. At the time Julian Bond attended Morehouse College (the House) in Atlanta and first heard about while sitting in a cafĂ© (possibly Paschal’s) “a place where students went between--or instead of—classes,” says Bond. He and other Morehouse students organized a local SNCC chapter and launched their own lunch-counter sit-ins in Atlanta. Many of the strategy successions for their sit-ins occurred at Paschal’s just around the corner from the House because the Paschal brothers provided both food and space for Bond, Lonnie King (another Morehouse man) and others Atlanta University Center students who responded SNCC's example of direct action. Those familiar with Paschal’s remember fondly the fried catfish, mashed potatoes, sweet tea, and lemon pie on the menu. More on SNCC in Atlanta and Paschal’s tomorrow. 

Lemon Pie Recipe:

Pie Stories and Recipes:

Series Feeding the Revolution with Recipes:

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Redlining Through The Lens of Ice Cream Stands

Lime flavored piragua 
President Ronald Reagan gets the credit for naming July national ice cream month! We North Americans consume more ice cream than anybody else on the globe. I did a couple of post featuring Carvel ice cream and my childhood memories growing up in Croton-on-Hudson in  Westchester County a suburb of New York City. A friend of mine about the same age explained that he had much different childhood experience with “ice cream” in New York City. Mario, a Honduran American, explained, “Carvel Ice Cream, that was a suburban thing man! Growing up in the South Bronx [in the 1970s] we never had luxuries like Carvel or Mc Donald’s. Those companies never considered opening franchises in the Bronx, they were too scared. When we thought of Carvel growing up, we thought of about the suburbs, you know Long Island, Westchester, and places like that.” He went on to say, “We had piraguas,” Latin American snow cones that came in flavors like coconut, lemon, strawberry, passion fruit, mango, and pineapple.  They made them literally from scratch on the spot as they shaved ice from a large block and then flavored it to your personal taste. Cubans called them granizados and Dominicans frio frio. In short, even ice cream is an indicator of class and ethnicity. Until Mario's comment, I naively assumed that children all over metropolitan New York experienced Carvel ice cream like me. Now it’s clear that Carvel sold franchises to white people in vanilla suburbs like Croton and Hartsdale. When you see a Carvel or piragua vendor you can pretty much tell the class and ethnicity of the area.

Tom Carvel:

Ice Cream Stories & Recipes:

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A Piragua Man Doing His Thing: [Watch Now]

Mapping Inequality: A History of Redlining In Cities: [Listen Now 30 min 50 sec]

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rhubarb History On Three Continents

Strawberry Rhubarb creations, recipes below
The origins of rhubarb dates back to China in 2700 BC when the Chinese cultivated rhubarb for medicinal use. The Italian botanist Prosper Alpinus introduced the more popular edible species to Europe in 1608. People did not recognize it as a food plant and cultivate it as such until 1750 in Germany. Europeans introduced rhubarb first to the New England region in the 1820s where it became a popular ingredient for pastry and pie fillings. Sometime in the nineteenth century it made its way south and became very popular among southerners. My grandma Lucy Opie, originally from Virginia, made a great strawberry rhubarb pie. Like her, I don’t measure ingredients when creating so I provided this period recipe from the 1950s with its unknown author most likely a southern migrant from Mississippi or Louisiana who settled in Chicago. 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Recipe

1 recipe for a plain pastry
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup diced rhubarb
1 1/2 cups strawberries cut
1 tablespoon butter

Mix dry ingredients and add to fruit. Mix all into unbaked shell and dot with butter. Place crisscrossed strips of pastry over the top. Bake at 450°F for 12 minutes then 350°F for 30 minutes.
The Chicago Defender, June 30, 1951

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My Pie Stories and Related Recipes:

The Life of Pie on the BBC Food Podcast:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Southern Foodways, Herbs, and Survival skills in the 1930s and 1940s

Professor of History and Foodways Frederick Douglass Opie interviews artist and educator Dr. David Driskell, who was born in 1931 and grew up in Rutherford County, North Carolina, about the survival skills he observed and learned in Georgia and North Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s.

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More Fred Opie Interviews with David Driskell with Recipes:

David Driskell: