Monday, July 28, 2014

There Is No better Dessert Combination

Pecan Pie Alamode, recipes below
July is national ice cream month as part of our ongoing series let's talk about ice cream, and pecan pie. I know the statement is quite opinionated but, I think many will agree that there is no better dessert combination then vanilla ice cream and pecan pie! Perhaps it’s the reason I liked Ben and Jerry’s old Rain Forrest Crunch ice cream flavor. Pecan pie makes me think of my southern heritage and the influence of Amerindians on American foodways. Amerindians gave the pecan its name; they knew and enjoyed them and introduced them to European settlers and the first Africans in North America. Pecans and pecan pies did not become popular in the south until the mid-20th century when farmers began cultivating a domesticated and improved pecan plant. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Ice Cream and Political Stability

 Eating ice cream at Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor in Havana  
In January of 2004 I took a group of U. S. students to Cuba as part of a winter session course abroad on Cuban History.  Our hotel was just blocks from the famed Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor which is located in a park like setting that takes up an entire city block. There is nothing like this in the United States. The Cuban revolution began in 1959 and the construction of Coppelia happened in 1960. You can purchase ice cream in the national currency in contrast to the hard currency which doesn’t often happen in Cuba making it inexpensive. For example at Coppelia one can purchase an Ensalada—four scoops of some of the best ice cream I've ever had covered with chocolate syrup for 5 pesos around 20 cents! Coppelia's ice cream makes me wonder what role food quantity and quality plays in a government’s support, stability, and longevity? How does change in food policy such as food subsidies for milk, tortillas, or bread change overtime and subsequently shape political changes? I am thinking most recently for example of the bread riots in Mozambique and the increasing long bread lines in Egypt that in part contributed to the revolutionary changes there.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Eating Ice Cream South of the Border

Paletas de Michoacán, water or cream based coconut, lemon, guava, strawberry, mango, Kiwi, and pineapple popsicles. And as pictured  above, chocolate dipped frozen banana and other frozen fruit treats. Recipes below  
In the 1990s I spent several summers as a graduate student living in Guadalajara, Mexico studying Spanish. Eating paletas de Michoacán (popsicles from Michoacán) represented one of my favorite Guadalajara memories.  Paletas are indigenous to the region of Michoacán, Mexico. These are water or cream based popsicles made with pieces of fresh tropical fruit like coconut, lemon, guava, strawberry, mango, Kiwi, and pineapple.  Coconut still remains my favorite; it’s like eating chunks of coconut in coconut creamed milk frozen solid. The hot Guadalajara sun quickly softens the coconut treat enough so one can eat it.  Just thinking about it makes one's mouth water.  About five years ago, Mexican street venders like the one pictured above pushing small white freezer carts advertising paletas de Michoacán started appearing on the streets of Harlem and the South Bronx in New York City. Their presence is a good indicator that the population of Mexican migrants had increased significantly in New York City and the variety of ice cream in the big apple has improved.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Arundel Ice Cream in Baltimore, Maryland 1920-1950

A hand dipped ice cream cone, recipes below 
Our ongoing series on ice cream takes us to Baltimore, Maryland for a look at the history of the Arundel Ice Cream Company. The Arundel Ice Cream Company started in 1920 in Baltimore with a plant and ice cream store at 683 Washington Blvd. The plant relocated to 300Ba North Smallwood Street in 1931 where it produced both ice cream products and baked goods for its expanding chain of company owned ice cream stores most of them located within the city limits. The company gained its greatest notoriety for selling more “hand-dipped ice cream than any other manufacturer in Maryland” and for its assortment of flavors included for example Black Walnut. Until the late 1950s it also gained a reputation as a company that practiced segregation in its eateries. 

Ice Cream Series with Recipes:

Baltimore Foodways & Recipes:

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Black Walnut Ice Cream Recipe:

Hand Dipped Ice Cream Cone and (Vegan Ice Cream) Recipes:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday is Sunday!

Carvel Ice Cream Sunday, links to related stories and recipes below 

During spring of my senior year at Croton Harmon High School in the 1981 in the Hudson Valley, Tom Carvel, the Greek founder of the Westchester based franchise introduced the “buy one get one free,” gimmick. The Carvel franchise claims that it invented that marketing idea. We high school kids in Croton-on-Hudson literary ate that ice cream sales gimmick up. In the early 1980s, Tuesday became Sunday (ice cream Sundays) at Carvel for me and my classmates. We piled into old beat up Chevys, Fords, and Dodges and caravanned to the Carvel located around the corner from the A &P north west of the village of Croton-on-Hudson. Imagine this, just an hour before lacrosse practice and games, teammates and I would down two ice cream Sundays! I would order a Sunday made from scratch with vanilla soft-serve ice cream, strawberries in syrup, and chopped nuts. As a a lacrosse player at Syracuse University we would eat 3 to four hours before a game to be sure our food had been digested. Boy that was good but foolish!

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!