Your New Favorite Food Magazine and a Dose of Ice Cream Truck Nostalgia

Laurel Greenfield

Since it's still National Ice Cream month, I wanted to share a beautiful essay with you written by my best friend Rachel. It's a moving and wonderfully written piece about the nostalgia of running for the ice cream truck with her mom in New York City. It is also one of the feature stories in the very first issue of GRLSQUASH, a biannual women’s food, culture, and art journal. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

This Was Us
by Rachel DeSimone

“This was us,” she said as she handed me a comic that she had cut out of the paper and saved for me, un-creased like it had come from today’s paper but she had kept it for weeks. When I took it from my mom’s cracked and bloodied fingers I had already begun to put crinkles on the edges that she had kept straight. “Put it on your refrigerator,” she said. “I have one up on our fridge from the same comic.” That day we sat together in my parents’ bed for eight hours.

My mom has taken to reading the newspaper again since most of her time is spent in bed. When I was little she would get The New York Times on the weekends and not have time to read it so it would pile up until she would sit herself down one day with a giant stack and go through it all. That was too overwhelming. Now she gets The Daily News, which is much more manageable. Every day she sends me a text message with my horoscope from the paper. “This lady is really good,” she always says. I wait for the text to appear with capital letters “YOUR HORISCOPE!!!!” and tons of the red exclamation point emojis that no one uses because they are on the last page.

As I looked at the simple comic, a little boy and his dog, called “Red & Rover,” I didn’t quite see what she meant. The first frame of the comic showed the little boy and the dog sitting on the curb, the boy’s hand to his own ear and the dog’s ear standing at attention. In the corner of the box were musical notes. The next frame showed two clouds racing in the direction of the music (which must have been coming from an ice cream truck) and then the boy and dog strolling back both licking popsicles. As my mom watched my eyes finish scanning the paper she repeated, “that was us.” I stopped for a second, looked to the right, towards her bedroom window and it hit me... READ THE REST

I also want to introduce you to Madison Trapkin, founder of GRLSQUASH!

In her own words, GRLSQUASH is the "biannual women’s food, culture, and art journal self-published out of Cambridge, MA. Our mission is to highlight the overlaps of these worlds with words, images, and recipes from our contributors. Food is the common thread connecting the GRLSQUASH community and we believe it’s the GRLs we need to shout about the most."

Madison asked Rachel and me to become the copy editor and visual editor respectively and we both are SO excited to be a part of such an amazing project. I also got to contribute some of my food paintings and illustrations too! The drawings of my and my boyfriend's grandmothers and the painting of my mom that hangs in my kitchen are printed in this issue, which is so special to me!

is available now for preorder!!

This journal captures every single thing I love about food, nostalgia, and relationships and I know you'll love it too!

As an added bonus, if you email me a screen shot of your preorder confirmation email, I will send you a FREE mini print of an illustration I created just for GRLSQUASH!

With love,

P.S. Make sure you're following GRLSQUASH on Instagram @GRLSQUASH for daily inspiration!

The Unique Power of Ice Cream

Laurel Greenfield

I don't think I've ever met anyone who doesn't like ice cream or who doesn't have happy nostalgic memories associated with it. And unlike other childhood memories, I would venture to say that the memory of hearing the ice cream truck come down the road only has happy thoughts associated with it.

ice cream phone background.jpg

This year for National Ice Cream Month, I’m wondering what it is about ice cream that puts a smile on everyone’s face.  Besides the magical combination of dairy and sugar, here’s what ice cream means to me:

For me, there are few desserts that are as emotionally charged. And I think that's because the memories associated with ice cream don't stop at our favorite flavors. They involve every aspect of the ice cream experience: the excitement of your parents asking if you want to go get some, the anticipation and flavor decision making process, the race to eat it before it melts and glides down your fingers on a hot summer day.

Ice cream parlors are the site of much family bonding. My favorite ice cream place growing up in Atlanta was Brewster's. There were a few locations and all of them had two walk up windows and a small patio to eat your ice cream outside. My brother and sister favored the dinosaur or dirt sundaes, but I had my usual: chocolate peanut butter chip in a cup. We spent A LOT of time there!

Brewster's was my favorite, but Baskin Robbins holds a special place in my heart too. It's where we went the night before I started kindergarten, the same night I met my childhood best friend, Melissa and her parents. It's also where my family's favorite ice cream cake is from. If my Aunt Phyllis could live strictly on Evian and Baskin Robbins chocolate chip ice cream cake I know she would. I've seen her and several other family members attack a whole ice cream cake fresh out of the box more times than I can remember. At any given moment there are at least 12 pints of ice cream in her freezer. I am not exaggerating.

I used to spend my Christmas break in Puerto Rico with my family and there were several years on New Year's Eve where one lucky hotel employee had the task of picking up our beloved Baskin Robbins ice cream cake to bring back for us. Here's a photo of me eating it off the tray. I definitely learned from the best.

Who needs a plate right?

Who needs a plate right?

I've painted a lot of ice cream art over the years. I think without even realizing it, I've been trying to capture my most nostalgic memories. In the moment, each bowl of ice cream or slice of ice cream cake is a simple joy, but time turns the memory into something bigger. Painting it helps turn those intangible feelings into something I can hold.

I think that's why my ice cream paintings and prints are among my most popular. Ice cream is pure joy and never fails to bring up stories for people who add an ice cream print to their collection. It injects a little happiness into everyday life, and that’s what I want to achieve with my art.  Art, like ice cream, should bring joy and happiness to you every single day.

If all this ice cream talk is making you crave some ice cream art, you can check out my available ice cream prints HERE. You deserve to have something unique, nostalgic, and beautiful to make your house truly feel like home. Go find the piece that speaks to YOUR memories!


Boston Painting Workshop: Come Paint With Me At Sowa!

Painting WorkshopLaurel Greenfield

This Sunday, I'll be leading my first painting workshop at the Sowa Market in the South End! Come hang out with me and paint your own ice cream masterpiece. If you've been looking for kitchen art or just want to practice your painting skills, this is the perfect Sunday afternoon activity for you!

You don't have to have any painting experience to be a part of this workshop. All skill levels are welcome. We're gonna experiment with bright, vibrant colors and you'll get to walk away with a one-of-a-kind  ice cream painting that will make you smile every time you see it in your home!

Afterwards, I'll be sharing your creations here on my blog to hopefully spark some kitchen art ideas!

Tickets are $15 each and you can purchase them by clicking here or the button below

Here are all the details:

WHEN: July 1st from 1pm - 3pm

WHERE: SoWa Open Market, 450 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA, 02118


See you there!

Commission Story: The Ultimate Birthday Cake

Laurel Greenfield

Last Year I did a unique commission food painting for my Aunt's new kitchen. When I was growing up in Atlanta, she would make a banana layer cake for her three kids' (my cousins') birthdays, adding a layer for every year up to 21.

Today is my cousin Rebecca's 21st birthday. She's the youngest of the three and she finally got her 21 layer banana cake! I couldn't think of a better day to share this commission kitchen painting story!

We decided to do a series of three paintings capturing my Aunt Cathy's signature dessert recipes - Devil Dogs, Kiss Cookies, and the famous 21 Layer Banana Cake - so she could be reminded of all the happy times she made them for her kids even though they don't live at home any more!

The desserts are nostalgic for my cousins too. They still talk about them all the time!

Here is the whole process, from sketches, to painting, to the cake in real life!

The devil dogs, the cake, and the kiss cookies!

The original sketches!

The original sketches!

And the final paintings!

birthday cake facebook post 21 layer banana cake

It's such a special birthday tradition! Not only will the tradition be passed down in their family, but now this kitchen art is a new family heirlooms too!

Happy 21st Birthday Rebecca!

Do you have a family food tradition that you'd like to capture in a custom kitchen painting? Click the button below to see my commission packages and choose the best one for you!

Why Breakfast is My Favorite Time of the Day (And Why It Should Be Yours Too!)

Laurel Greenfield

There's something really special to me about breakfast time. My apartment is quiet and the day hasn't officially started. I usually eat one of two things for breakfast: toast with eggs or toast with avocado. I go through phases with each. Avocado toast every day for 3 months and then the thought of avocado doesn't sound appealing anymore and I'll switch to eggs, and around I'll go again.

No matter what breakfast I've chosen for the morning I take my time making it. Each step is a little mini process on its own. But before I even take food out of the fridge, I make myself some green tea. It's morning muscle memory at this point. I can't start most days without it. Then comes the toast. I take it out of the fridge (yes I keep my bread in the fridge) and toast up two pieces until they're perfectly browned and crisped in the toaster oven. If I felt fancy during my last trip to the grocery store, I'll have Kerrygold butter on my toast. Then I'll add either half an avocado - thinly sliced and carefully layered on the toast - or eggs, usually scrambled with butter, but over easy if Jeff makes them for me on the weekends. And if there are eggs, there is always ketchup!

Then it's straight to the kitchen table. The plain wood table belonged to my grandma when she lived with us in Poughkeepsie. We had to get rid of the chairs because they were falling apart, but the table is still with us. I face the window, which faces another building and just enjoy my time in the quiet. Usually it's sunny out and even though we don't exactly get direct sunlight, the quality of the indirect light is beautiful I think. It's warm, soft, and quiet. It gives a comforting glow to the kitchen and living room.

I set the table for one during the weekday mornings. I have my breakfast plate, either a rooster plate from my mom's old set of dishes or a plate from West Elm featuring an illustration of a gilded dapper goat. Then I have my water glass, one of my jewel-toned cups from a set I got at Marshall's. Then my mug. I have two favorites. One I got from Jeff for Hanukkah the first year we lived together. It's cream colored and has a decorative blue band at the top and a fancy bottom. The other I got from one of the first craft shows I brought my art to. It's speckled and grey and has a nice weight to it.

The first few hours of my day are my favorite. The whole day is stretched out before me and anything can happen. My day often ends up going in a different direction than I planned, but if my morning starts right with a little calm and quiet it doesn't bother me as much. I've been trying to be more present in the morning to really enjoy it. It's easy to scroll through my phone while I'm making an eating my breakfast, but I've been experimenting with keeping it on airplane mode until after I've eaten. Some days it's hard and I feel an instinctual urge to check it and scroll for a distraction, but I've been trying lately to let the need for my phone pass and just enjoy the breakfast I've made!

I've been wanting to capture my morning breakfast ritual in a series of paintings for a while now, but I wasn't sure what they'd look like. I've been working on four canvases that capture my breakfast table for one in the quiet morning light. They include my beloved avocado toast and eggs, of course. They also feature my favorite fruits (strawberries and cherries) served in bowls from my Boston kitchen. Bacon and pancakes make an appearance too. I'm not the world's biggest bacon fan, but the smell reminds me of weekend breakfasts growing up. The pancakes are a nod to my brother and sister. We used to set up the electric griddle and make the "feather pancakes" recipe we all got in 6th grade from school. All of them make me smile and I'm excited to share them with you and invite you into my morning breakfast ritual!

The four canvases will be released on Sunday June 17th at 10 am. If you'd like to be notified when the breakfast painting series is released, enter your email HERE!

Laurel Greenfield Painting