The Scoop on an Ice Cream Stall in Baltimore Where Six Alumae/i and Students Happen to Work
The bustling upscale “food hall” R. House is home to a surprising subset of the Goucher community. Tucked into a corner of the marketplace, Little Baby’s Ice Cream sells handmade, small batch ice cream with unique flavors, like Earl Gray Sriracha. The slim, brightly lit stall also happens to be the workplace of six former and current Goucher students.
Perhaps you’ve seen the ad. Sitting in front of a black backdrop, a person who appears to be made of a thick white substance stares outward, wide-eyed. He reaches up, scoops at the top of his head with a large spoon, brings the spoon to his mouth, and licks it. A faint lullaby plays as a slow voiceover begins his hypnotic monologue by saying, “there’s good reason for my glistening skin.” The camera zooms out. At the end of the clip, a cheerful logo for Little Baby’s Ice Cream appears—a smiling ice cream cone holding a spoon and an ice cream scooper. While perhaps it is not the most immediately appetizing, the popular youtube ad certainly gets your attention.
My knowledge of this ad campaign, however, did not lessen my surprise when Goucher alum Rae Walker (’17) informed me, somewhat offhandedly, that in addition to teaching full-time and getting a Master’s degree in education, he also scooped ice cream at a place called Little Baby’s.
Little Baby’s Ice Cream (LBIC) was founded in Philadelphia in 2011 and has expanded over the years to offer catering services in Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Baltimore, and Washington, DC., with stalls located in D.C. and at Baltimore’s R. House. The founders believed that that ice cream could “bring people together.” Classic. It gets a little weirder, however, in the next part of their mission statement, which states that they see ice cream as “a unique opportunity to subvert people’s expectations,” a goal which they achieve in their ads, flavors, and business model.
“Little Baby’s is known for its weirdness,” said Hannah Spiegelman, ’15, the current manager of the Baltimore branch. Spiegelman worked in ice cream shops during the summers. At Goucher, she studied history, with a minor in art history. After graduating, she was determined to go down a path that involved museum work. However, after working in Special Collections at Goucher, she realized that it wasn’t the right path for right for her. In December 2016, when she saw on Instagram that the Little Baby’s Ice Cream (LBIC) stall at R. House was hiring, she applied. Within a year, she would become the manager herself.
“I realized that food is my greater passion,” said Spiegelman. “When I graduated…I thought that whatever I decided to do now [immediately after graduation] would be my life, but the more I talk to people, I see people who’ve completely changed what it is they’re doing. It’s okay not to know. People say ‘you’ve had four years to figure it out,’ when actually, no, I’ve had four years to become a completely different person and now I need to take time to process it.”
LBIC has kooky initiatives like a Pay It Forward Board through which you might pay for ice cream for a cancer survivor or a single dad, or for someone to do ten push-ups in the shop. Their biggest competitor in the area is The Charmery, probably due to the fact that, in addition to selling small-batch high-quality ice cream, both the Charmery and LBIC cater to eccentric tastes, with flavors like the Charmery’s Old Bay Seasoning and LBIC’s Pizza flavor.
When the photographer and I arrived at Little Baby’s for the interview with Spiegelman, Walker, who was manning the stall, handed us samples of every flavor that they had in stock. Earl Gray Sriracha was unexpectedly delicious and had a nice kick to it. After the interview, we walked away with scoops of Lychee Lemonade, which was very lemony and similar to sorbet, and Chocolate Mint Cookie, which was like eating Girl Scout Thin Mints in ice-cream form. Both were vegan flavors but certainly did not taste “vegan.”
LBIC’s unusual offerings attracted Spiegelman. “I hate boring ice cream flavors,” she said.
During Spiegelman’s time at LBIC, the number of Goucher-affiliated employs has steadily increased. Many of them work at LBIC in addition to having other positions and/or applying for or saving money for graduate school.
For example, Yael Ben Chaim, ‘16, started at LBIC in April 2017, while she had an AmeriCorps position working at the Maryland Farmers Market Association at a nearby location. She appreciated the combination of the office-based AmeriCorps job and the customer-service. Currently she works at MOMs Organic Market and she plans to go to graduate school for social work within the next two years. Yael’s favorite flavor is Plain. “It is simple, sweet and easy to enjoy,” she says. “It also mixes well with any other flavor on the menu!”
Rae works at LBIC at night and on the weekends. During the week, he is a Special Education teacher in a Baltimore public school, and is getting his master’s in education through Teach for America. Rae is also a fan of LBIC’s plain ice cream, but will willingly try any of the more unusual options.
Emily Abramson, ‘18, self-described avid tea drinker, started at LBIC in July 2017. She’s currently at Goucher in her final year for a Masters in Management. She also works part-time as a graduate assistant for the Office of Community-Based Learning (CBL) and is an intern for AARP Maryland’s state office, working to coordinate a statewide food drive in April. Other than all of that, she’s a freelance artist.
Emily’s favorite LBIC flavor would either be “Pumpkin Curry for the sweet/savory combo [and] the currants and cream because it reminds me of picking currants from my backyard when I was a little kid” or the “Cherry Hibiscus because the strong bitter flavor of the hibiscus counters the sweetness of the candied cherries perfectly.”
After she was hired at LBIC, Abramson encouraged Sophie Anger, ‘17, who was still a student and was looking for a weekend job, to apply. Anger started in September, while she was student teaching second grade at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School. Her favorite flavor is Coffee Toffee, because “I just love coffee ice cream, but I also loved our seasonal crushed candy cane, and chocolate ginger.”
Goucher student David Hernandez, ‘18, also works at LBIC. A history major, he is currently working on an archeological dig on campus, called the Epsom Project. His favorite flavors are a tie between Cherry Hibiscus because he’s “never tasted anything like it,” and Vegan Thai Iced Tea, which is made with delicious coconut cream.
This little ice cream stall has turned into a mini-Goucher community outside of Goucher. They work hard together and enthuse about their coworkers’ positivity, passion, and inspiring desires to make positive change in the world.
Spiegelman’s job as a manager, however, is not without its difficulties.
“R. House oozes that white men built it,” said Spiegelman. At the time that Spiegelman started at the newly-opened Baltimore branch, LBIC was partnered with Blk//Sugar, a bakery owned by Krystal Mack, who was the only woman and only black person working as a manager at R. House.
“I love the people that work here,” said Spiegelman. “It’s just the people upstairs…When I go to meetings with them, I’m the youngest, I’m the only woman…Everyone else is a white male.” Spiegelman laughed, drawing connections between her awareness of her management situation and her experiences at Goucher. “You don’t realize everything you’ve learned until you’re put into a situation, and then you’re like oh, that was very Goucher of me.”
A Goucher education can be taken in many directions. In addition to reflecting on how Goucher had opened her to a certain way of thinking, Spiegelman also emphasized how proud she was of all of her co-workers. “When you hear about alums, you just hear about alums in law firms, but the majority of graduated students are working in food service or something like that…[they are] working five jobs…and it’s all valid and awesome,” said Spiegelman. “There’s a lot of pressure to get salary jobs right out of school, and it would be great to have a salary job right now but there’s nothing wrong with working just because you love it. People should be celebrated for making it in this crazy world.”
In addition to managing Little Baby’s, Spiegelman works part-time in Goucher’s Special Collections. And on the side, she makes her own ice cream, based on historical art, events, and people, etc.! (Follow her on Instagram: @asweethistory). Her favorite LBIC flavor is Maryland BBQ because “it is unexpectedly delicious” and she hopes to go to graduate school for food studies in the fall.
A Little Extra
As part of the interviews, I asked alums to write what they appreciated about their co-workers. They all had many lovely things to say. Emily Abramson’s comments were so sweet and individualized, however, that it was impossible to resist publishing them all.
From Emily, on her co-workers:
Hannah: A sweet boss and always someone that is there for me. Both of us have this unique quality in which it can take one of us upwards of half an hour to tell a story, so there’s never a quiet moment when we’re working together.
Yael: An angel, and one of the sweetest people in the world. She brings out the goofy side in me, and we’ve heard reports from other R House staff that they can sometimes hear us laughing from across the building.
Efehi: I love Efehi for many many reasons, one of which being that she’s the only one that can keep up with me when I’m dancing in the stall.
Rae: Rae and I always manage to make each other laugh so hard we wheeze when we work together.
David: David’s smile always charms the older gay men into giving us lots of tips, which I appreciate. He’s so so sweet, and incredibly understanding.
Sophie: Through thick and thin, Sophie is a dear friend and a great person to work with. We spend slow days at work experimenting with weird flavor combinations and laughing at ridiculous college stories.
Zac: An impeccable fashion sense and such a down to earth dude.
Spiegelman also happily made it clear in her interview that Goucher students who visit Little Baby’s (while she is the manager, at least) will receive a discount.