Post # 293 Ice is Nice!

October 8, 2014 at 10:34 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 293 Ice is Nice!

Ever see the movie “Real Genius” starring Val Kilmer at the start of his acting career?  It’s a cute comedy showcasing his skills on many levels.  In one scene, a student has created a “fake” ice to make an indoor skating rink and Val Kilmer slides down a hallway shouting “Ice is nice!  Yeah!”  Silly memory, but it highlights how I feel about ice.  Not the kind you slide on, or the kind you drive on, but the kind you put in your glass to cool down whatever you’re drinking at the moment.

Ice-Cubes

I’ve never been a big fan of hot drinks.  They burn my mouth.  Coffee tastes terrible.  Black tea is only slightly better than coffee.  Herbal tea, unless they use anything other than spearmint, usually end up tasting like old gum.  Even soup broth is something reserved only for illness.  Hot chocolate, oddly enough, is too sweet for me.  There is one hot drink I like, a tea from Good Earth, either their original blend or their Red and Spicy, which can’t be found anymore.

Cold drinks, on the other hand, are great.  I even like the brain freeze that some of them cause.  It hurts a lot, but feels so good when it goes away.  I like my iced water with enough ice in it that they barely float when the glass is full.  I like my sodas with enough ice to keep them completely chilled till I get to the bottom of the glass.  I like my juices with a layer of ice on the top to keep them chilled but won’t dilute them too terribly.  I even like wine slushies, but it’s difficult to get the wine to exactly the right point.

So ice is a matter of high priority for me.  Sounds dumb, but there it is.  One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone empties the ice tray from the freezer and puts it back in the freezer empty.  That means there is no ice for anyone else.  It smacks of inconsideration and laziness.  My little brother used to do that, so I’d fill the ice trays.  Eventually, he got to thinking it was my “job.”  You remember those, right?  When you’re little, to teach you responsibility, your parents would assign jobs or chores that were yours, and yours alone.  You were expected to keep up with those jobs so the family wouldn’t suffer from your neglect.  It’s a good system for kids to learn.  Mine was doing the dishes.  I hated it.  My brother’s was taking out the trash.  Suddenly, though, I’d hear him shouting out, “Ice tray’s empty!” when he emptied it.  So I’d said, “Fill it.”  “No, it’s your job to fill the ice trays.”  When you’re ten, fairness is paramount in your life and the indignity of my little brother telling me what to do was almost unbearable.  After some discussion (read that loud arguing) we took our debate to our mom who settled the matter by saying, “Be quiet.”  I refused to fill ice trays after that, and the first time my dad reached for an empty ice tray and my little brother explained that I hadn’t filled it after he’d emptied it, there were no more empty ice trays.

Years later, I ran into almost the same situation with grown adult males I was sharing an apartment with.  The first time I found an empty ice tray in the freezer, I left it in the sink.  When there was a stack of empty trays and no ice, they got the message.  It was hard not having ice in my drinks for a while, but well worth it.  I’m not the only person to feel this way, by the way.  In the break room of one company I worked at was a sign on the freezer with a recipe for making ice.

'First, let me start by saying 'Making Ice' is really not helping with dinner.'

Ice has some oddities.  Making ice with hot water, for some reason, makes ice faster.  It also makes it clear, or clearer, than with cold water.  Crushed ice cools liquids faster than larger cubes, but long narrow pieces of ice barely cool a liquid at all.  Adding salt to ice melts it, but then it refreezes quicker and colder than before.  When they put salt on the roadway, they dump a lot of salt to make sure it melts completely, and use other chemicals to keep it from refreezing.  Also, don’t ever put ice on a burn.  It can cause more damage to your skin by freezing the skin rather than taking the burn away.  Just run cool water over the burn till it stops hurting.

Crunching ice isn’t really all that good for your teeth and gums, and can be terrible for your pets teeth and gums.  I can’t keep our Boston Terrier away from ice that’s dropped on the floor.  He thinks it’s a treat just for him.  Also, ice has a unique property not found anywhere else in nature.  Water expands when it freezes due to the structure of its molecules.  Therefore, a large block of ice will melt into a much smaller amount of water.  Don’t ever think that sucking ice will hydrate you as much as drinking water will.  I once knew an older woman who went to ER with symptoms of severe dehydration.  She was amazed when they told her because as she explained, “I eat ice all day long.”  She was trying to lose weight and nearly killed herself.

Next time you need to clean your garbage disposal, dump several ice cubes down it and turn the thing on.  Crushing the ice will clean the blades.  Then just run hot water for a few minutes.  Sparkly clean.

I was working in Naples, Italy once and when I asked for ice in my soda, I was met with horrified looks and long explanations about how drinking beverages with ice will kill you!  All beverages should be cooled in the bottle in a refrigerator and served with no ice.  Bowing to local custom, that’s how I rolled while there.  One of my colleagues drank his sodas with ice and came down with a terrible case of traveler’s trots.  It was his first trip, so I don’t know if it was just that his system wasn’t used to traveling, foreign food, or there really was something in the ice.  But it made sense that if you weren’t going to drink the local water, you probably shouldn’t use ice made with local water to cool your drinks.

When I was a kid growing up in my small town in the Arizona desert, the local radio celebrity started touting that he had a great tip to keep ice fresher for longer periods.  He was going to share that tip on Friday’s show, and kept talking about it all week long.  I was mildly curious.  Friday came and the tip?  To keep ice fresher longer, store it in the freezer.

Keep your ice trays full and Enjoy!

happy_ice_cube

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