Lawyers Alice Crowe-Bell, left, and her identical twin sister Alicia Crowe are graduates of the Howard University School of Law and entrepreneurs after they decided to bottle their grandmother, Emmaline Stinson’s, famous hot sauce recipe. (Courtesy Photo)
By Nicole D. Batey
Special to the AFRO
Identical twin sisters, Alice Crowe-Bell and Alicia Crowe, have made a name for themselves in real estate law, owning their own legal firm. However, it’s their grandmother’s name, Emmaline Humphries Stinson, they want you to be well acquainted with around the kitchen table. Emmaline’s Hot Sauce officially relaunched on Juneteenth this year and long-time customers couldn’t be happier.
Emmaline’s Hot Sauce is a four-generation-old recipe passed down from Alice and Alicia’s grandmother to their mother, Gwendolyn Stinson Crowe and now to them. “My grandmother had twelve kids and kept a garden. She used to string peppers in the kitchen. My mother told us stories of how Emmaline seasoned and bottled her peppers. My relatives used to sit around the table, eating peppers until their noses sweat to see who could last the longest. That was something to watch. Some would be out in the first round,” Crowe-Bell reflected.
“If you love good home-style cooking, then you know you’ve got to have this sauce. We make our hot sauce the traditional way with fresh peppers, herbs, spices and simple homespun goodness, just like our grandmother, Emmaline. A thick, rich, smooth well-seasoned peppery flavor that leaves just enough kick on your tongue to spark you joy.” Crowe said. Emmaline’s 1910 wedding photo is featured on the front of the bottle.
It was actually the twins’ mother who dreamed of selling the hot sauce, so they helped their mother sell it at various farmer markets and food tastings throughout the tri-state area. As a result, the sauce developed a loyal following. In 2007 Emmaline’s Hot Sauce won the Whole Foods Local Hero Award.
Emmaline passed away last year, and the twins decided to honor their mother’s dream and continue their grandmother’s legacy by relaunching the hot sauce with Emmaline’s 1910 wedding photo featured on the front of the bottle.
“The minute we reached out to her customers, within minutes, they were ordering the sauce, some by the case. They were so happy to know that we were moving forward with the sauce. That kind of response, it wasn’t because of me or my sister, it was because of my mother. She was so passionate and made her food with love,” Crowe said.
Selling Emmaline’s Hot Sauce is a family affair. In addition to the twin sisters, Crowe-Bell’s children both grew up selling the bottles of hot sauce at local food markets. Her 21-year old daughter now serves as their graphic designer and her son, a freshman in college and trombonist, is currently working on a jingle for the hot sauce. Crowe-Bell’s husband, Curtis, handles the technology and does much of the heavy lifting within the business.
For each bottle sold, a percentage of the profit is donated to the Black Family Land Trust, an organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of African American and other historically underserved population’s land assets.
“At Emmaline’s, we work to create moments around the table that matter. Food is a part of our rich cultural heritage and our African traditions. We spent Sunday evenings around the table with great food and spirited discussions. We must keep that alive.” Crowe said.
The dynamic duo are planning to expand Emmaline’s to other sauces and other all-natural items. For more information, visit Emmalineshotsauce.com.
Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members! Join here!