Hearing the words, “Your ice cream reminds me of when we ate ice cream at my mother’s funeral” would wipe the smile from most cooks’ faces. But for Nashville ice cream maker Lokelani Alabanza, this reaction from a customer was the ultimate compliment. Alabanza is a storyteller who mines Black history and cooking for inspiration, translating her discoveries into the language of sugar and ice, and triggering such profound emotions is the whole point.
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Hello everyone ! 👋🏾 Thank you for the outpouring of support. It’s taken a few days to process. I’m Lokelani Alabanza. ( Lokelani is the flower of Maui, Alabanza is praise in Spanish) It’s been a mouthful since childhood. They call me Loke for short. The past four years have been dedicated to the world of ice cream. It’s been an amazing and challenging experience. It’s truly unbelievable how much humans love ice cream. Love it! Throughout the past four years, I’ve managed to created over 300 flavors. The inspiration can come from anywhere, a color, history, a thought, smell, book, person , drive in the car. I have a deep fondness for nostalgia, it’s been the most potent ingredient that I use. Nostalgia and ice cream are a stunning combination. Food connects all of us. Don’t ever underestimate it’s power. Through ice cream I started a journey into its history. Stepping into a world that I didn’t even realize existed. Names that have been forgotten, legacies that created the path that I would one day walk down. Was it coincidence or perfectly timed, that I would learn the name of Sarah Estell. A black female entrepreneur who owned and operated an ice cream saloon in downtown Nashville in 1840. With this new knowledge gained, it’s brought me so much confidence. Recent changes in the past few months have led me to venture out on my own. I have a new project I’ve been working on @saturatedicecream. You’re always welcome whenever you’re in Nashville. Be well. Be safe. Let us always be good to one another. p.s. What’s your favorite flavor?
Just a month or two ago, East Nashville, where I live, was invaded by tiny, sweet, drought-immune cherry tomatoes. First, they overtook my carefully planted beds of native flowers. Then, I noticed them sprouting up along sidewalks, and learned from fri…
Just a month or two ago, East Nashville, where I live, was invaded by tiny, sweet, drought-immune cherry tomatoes. First, they overtook my carefully planted beds of native flowers. Then, I noticed them sprouting up along sidewalks, and learned from friends how their lawns had been similarly conquered. Newly ripened tomatoes burst from the vines daily, but there were only so many that I could eat and give away. I had to find something to do with them. I threw the delicious trespassers into salads, packed them for my child’s lunch, and gifted them to his teachers. I couldn't get enough.
Now that the first frosts have begun to hit the tomato vines in my yard, and the jammy little fruits are no longer growing abundantly, I still crave them (somehow). Luckily, they're still widely available at my local grocery store; unlike their heirloom, beefsteak, or Roma cousins, cherry tomatoes grow exceptionally well in greenhouses. This means I can enjoy them far into the chilly winter, when I'm looking for a bit of brightness.
From the basic burger to the moistest meatloaf and coziest chili, ground meat is the cornerstone of so many dinner mainstays. But when was the last time you really considered your ground meat, beyond grabbing a pre-packaged pound at the grocery store? …
From the basic burger to the moistest meatloaf and coziest chili, ground meat is the cornerstone of so many dinner mainstays. But when was the last time you really considered your ground meat, beyond grabbing a pre-packaged pound at the grocery store? Well, award-winning writers and newly minted restaurateurs, Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton—aka The Canal House Cooks—are here to help you start looking more closely at your ground meat. They've even dedicated an entire chapter to the subject in their newest book, Canal House: Cook Something: Recipes to Rely On, on the fundamentals of cooking (plus 300 recipes that demonstrate them all).
Hirsheimer and Hamilton explain that classic American ground meat dishes were born from efficiency-and economy-optimized recipe traditions from immigrants, who actually made them with different cuts of meat entirely. Take Russian beef stroganoff, which was originally made with tender cubes of beef cooked in a mustard–sour cream sauce. In the hurried New World, it morphed into a combination of hamburger meat and condensed cream of chicken soup over noodles that its creators may not have even recognized. Ditto goulash from Hungary (originally made with cubed beef, and sometimes, heart and liver), tacos from Mexico, and ground beef lo mein adapted from the Chinese culinary tradition. Despite this, ground meat has historically made our lives easier and more affordable, and still continues to do so.