Just Nuts


My Cuisinart ice cream maker had arrived only a few days before the e-mail did. I did a double-take when I saw the subject line:

trying to track down Nathan Kurz

Nathan Kurz? The Nathan Kurz? The Nathan Kurz of Scream sorbet? Yes, that one. The e-mail was from Charlotte Druckman, the reporter who had written about Scream for the New York Times. The article told the story of Nathan Kurz (yes, that one!), the computer programmer turned ice cream genius who had brought the creaminess of ice cream to the dairy-free world using nothing but the fat content of nuts. His Scream sorbet had built a devoted following in the Bay Area only to close its doors a few years later.

I was one of their devoted, and last Thanksgiving, I’d written a blog post about reviving their signature pistachio sorbet recipe. Since then, I’d been making new flavors, recreating old ones, and sharing the results at parties. It was all thanks to a recipe that Nathan Kurz had shared with Joy of Blending. I actually hadn’t seen or spoken with him since Scream had closed its doors, and this newbie to the ice cream world had a bunch of questions for him.

Charlotte Druckman had questions for him, too, and when she discovered my blog, figured she’d check if I had his contact info. I wanted the answer to be yes, so before responding, I got in touch with a friend in the food industry who might. While waiting for a response, I searched the Internet and came across a GitHub account by someone named Nathan Kurz.

I compared the account details with what I knew from the New York Times article. This Nathan Kurz had started the account in 2009, shortly before the birth of Scream sorbet but only started checking in code in late 2013, a few months after Scream had closed its doors. This Nathan Kurz was interested in CPU caches, and another Google search turned up a blog post he’d written about it. This Nathan Kurz’s blog included an e-mail address, so I sent him an e-mail asking if he was also the Nathan Kurz of Scream sorbet.

A response came within an hour:

Hi Krish,

Yes, you’ve got the right me.

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