Students from the Science and Technology of Foods (Food Science 1101) course sample Freedom of Expression ice creams on Nov. 29. The entire campus will be able to judge the flavors of the four finalist ice creams during the spring semester. 

Food for thought: Students churn ‘Freedom of Expression’ ice creams

What’s Black, White and Big Red All Over?

It’s a scoop of student-developed, newspaper-inspired ice cream based on Cornell’s Freedom of Expression theme year. The flavor is one four finalists created by student teams from the Science and Technology of Foods (Food Science 1101) introductory class and announced Dec. 11 by the Department of Food Science.

For nearly three decades, the Science and Technology of Foods course has been offering lessons in food safety, sensory evaluation, packaging, and understanding kosher and halal food preparation. Every year at the end of the semester, the students divide into teams, develop a recipe and churn out ice cream creations featured at the Cornell Dairy Bar.

Rayanna Northgrave, left, Shreekanya Mitra and Jordan Klein create an early version of What's Black, White and Big Red All Over ice cream in November at the Leslie J. Herzog '77 and Jacqueline H. Beckley Food Product Innovation Lab in Stocking Hall.

This year, a panel of judges – including President Martha E. Pollack – scooped up the creations and chose four contenders. The campus will get to vote on a winning Freedom of Expression flavor during the spring 2024 semester.

The challenge for this year’s flavors was inventively connecting the ice creams to the freedom of expression idea. As a theme, freedom of expression prompts thought, cooperation, compromise – and learning. “The ice cream prototyping mimics my early experiences in kitchens,” said Christopher Loss ’96, M.S. ’01, Ph.D. ‘05, the Louis Pasteur Lecturer in Food Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), a trained chef who teaches the class.

The students learn from experimentation, he said.

Freedom of Expression

“You look in the pan, something curdles, something burns, something smells, something gets dark. And then you ask, ‘what happened?’ and ‘can we combine this and that?’ This lab is a hotbed of questions,” Loss said. “The students are engaged.”

The final four flavors:

• Black, White and Big Red All Over features a banana base with swirls of peanut butter and pockets of raspberry jam, creating a vision reminiscent of a newspaper.

“Newspapers have historically played a crucial role in reflecting freedom of expression by providing a platform for diverse perspectives and opinions,” said team member Rayanna Northgrave ’27, a food science major in CALS. “They serve as a vehicle for the free exchange of ideas, encouraging people to express their thoughts, challenge authority and contribute to public discourse.”

In addition to Northgrave, team members are: Shreekanya Mitra ’27, Riley Ebersole ’27, Magdalena Martinez ’27, David Erdos ’27, Truman Popp ’27, Justin Tsemekhin ’27, Mason Rummery ’27, Jordan Klein ’27 and Matthew Schwartz ’27.

• Coming Out of Your Shell offers a bright peachy-blush (raspberry-citrus) ice cream with dark chocolate ribbons spun inside, tucked beneath a hardened chocolate shell. The creators encourage you to express yourself and “come out of your shell.” Team members are: Roman Dias Pinto ’24, Jonathan Gotian ’24, Kyra Kozin ’24, Nathan Lesser ’24, Ellie Zhang ’24, Kelly Kong ’24, Lauren Elmer ’24, Cecilia Pereira Damasio de Loyola ’26, Will Lin ’24 and Jeffrey Zoyhofski ’24.

• Toni S’Morrison pays homage to Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55. The flavor emulates eating s’mores around a campfire, a dessert that brings different tastes together through the flame of artistic expression, according to the group’s description. The team is Noel Davila ’27, Sofia Fuertes ’27, Nihar Hegde ’24, David Ovetsky ’24, Elana Pocress ’24, Tucker Poff ’26, Greg Powers ’24 and Trisha Saxena ’27.

• Brewing CommuniTea bows to the rich history of tea-drinking customs, embraces the diverse and expressive nature of contemporary society, and recalls nuance of cultural expression, the team said. Caramel swirls and scattered buttery shortbread pieces race through an Earl Grey tea base in this creation. Team members are: Bill Chen ’27, Lucy Clarke ’27, Rica Craig ’24, Erin DeHollander ’27, Erin Goldsmith ’27, Marcus Iong ’27, Min Kwon ’27, Ava Maduro ’27, Madeleine Rodoski ’27, Aya Rosen ’27, Demetra Sela ’27 and Jeffrey Xue ’27.

In addition to Pollack, the ice cream judges were: Kim Bukowski, dairy extension specialist, food science; chef Ian Cairns, MBA candidate, Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management; Garrett Downing, undergraduate coordinator, food science; Louise Felker, dairy extension specialist, food science; Alina Stelick, M.S. ’03, manager, sensory evaluation, food science; and chef Paul Zullo, Cornell Dining. Julie Goddard ’99, Ph.D. ’08, professor of food science (CALS), administered the judging.

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Kaitlyn Serrao