August 4, 2011

"Ice? I don’t hate ice."

"It’s just that when these Americans hand you a can from the freezer, and it is already so cold that just touching it practically turns your hand into a claw, I don’t really see the need to add ice."

Are we Americans too into the cold, or is it the rest of the world that has a problem? Or just the Russians?

67 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

The rest of the world is insane on the ice issue.

TWM said...

Lived in Germany and traveled Europe for six years and my final opinion is that it is not half as cool or trendy or right as some people seem to think here in the USA. Not undestanding that beer and other liquids (tea, soft drinks, etc.)should be icier than ice cold - especially during the summer - is just one of their faults.

chickenlittle said...

My mother used to say "unthaw" when she meant to say "thaw out."

I teased her about it, which was mean of me. Eventually, I apologized.

Trooper York said...

Plus the shaving issue!

Methadras said...

In soviet russia, ice hates you.

rhhardin said...

I haven't had ice in over a decade, freeing up some fridge space for frozen vegetables.

Trick for getting a gallon of milk home on your bicycle without ruining its shelf life through warming: pack it with lots of frozen vegetables.

Carol_Herman said...

Well, it's like making ice cream, and learning you can freeze your tongue to the bucket.

Just as something too cold can give you a headache.

Meanwhile, how do people drink warm beer? Worse. They order it by the pint! It must be just for the buzz.

TWM said...

"Meanwhile, how do people drink warm beer? Worse. They order it by the pint! It must be just for the buzz."

You get used to it but you never really enjoy it like a cold one back in the States.

Mary Beth said...

Who keeps cans in the freezer?

chickenlittle said...

@Trooper: I think I godwin'd (godwon?) that thread on your blog.

Sorry about that.

traditionalguy said...

Episcopalian never drink water except for melted ice cubes.

In Mexico avoiding the ice cubes in glasses glass is a matter of life and 24 hours of intense diarrhea.

Maybe the Europeans never had clean water supplies that Americans learned to rely upon. The get wine and Perrier instead.

t-man said...

Do Canadians have an aversion to ice?

DaveW said...

20 years ago, when I first started traveling to deepest darkest Mexico,one of the first words I learned was 'hielo'.

Not that it helped much. The idea that drinks should be served cool was totally....foreign....to them.

laddy said...

I lived on the economy in Germany and Austria for a couple years when I worked for Uncle Sam at the DoD and was nearly always served cold beer. I was also served cold beer in Holland, Belgium, France, and Great Britain. The venders in Italy and Greece often just had warm stuff, but the bars and restaurantes were pretty good. There was even cold beer in vending machines in some locations. In Germany and Austria, locals would sometimes order a hot poker to stick into their cold beer to warm it. It wasn't always ice cold but at least had some chill. The other thing you could nearly always buy cold was water, sparkling or otherwise. Sometimes Coke, but just as often it was warm in the can. In two years I was served ice on two occasions when I had iced tea. They just didn't have ice cubes like we find in abundance here. My friend sprained her ankle playing basketball and there was no ice to be found anywhere so we improvised by sticking her foot into a small fridge wrapped in a wet towel. There were places that catered to Amis that had ice, at a price of course.

T J Sawyer said...

It's just another one of those quirky things where the rest of the world refuses to follow "normal" behavior.

Like football.

I always hate to be offered a Coca-Cola in an overseas location. I know it will be warm, and that they will probably put one small ice cube in it in deference to me being an American. This is a regular occurrence in Egypt. I'll be checking out Romania this fall.

Joanna said...

I hate ice. Unless it accompanies liquor.

David Smith said...

Got turned off to ice in drinks because I didn't want the booze diluted. Then I noticed that soda dispensed from a fountain came out cold (from being decompressed) and all the ice was doing was displacing soda, so "Coke, no ice" results in a cold drink with about a third more soda. Still use it in iced tea.

jamboree said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob said...

Americans don't "hand you a can from the freezer". We keep our beverages in the refrigerator, and serve them on ice in a glass because we like to take real good care of our guests.
Even good beer tastes better when it's tooth cracking cold.

MadisonMan said...

Do Russians take ice with their Gin and Tonics? I can't imagine, and couldn't bear, a lukewarm G&T.

pm317 said...

Trust me.. ice is an American thing. It is all about being rich and affordability. Rest of the world is not there.

Christy said...

I'm a cola flavored ice kind of girl myself -- glass full of ice with soda poured over. (Could be because Mom diluted soda when I was a kid.) And cans over bottles because they chill faster.

Both sisters have raised their boys on room temp sodas. I have a hard time convincing them that guests usually like a cold beverage. Brainwashed they are!

Irene said...

My Russian and Lithuanian relatives believe that drinking an ice-cold beverage will result in a sore throat or a cold.

Every time we visit, they take drinks (orange juice, tomato juice, vodka, "iced" tea) out of the fridge at least thirty minutes before serving so that the drink will come to room temperature before it is consumed.

edutcher said...

Putting ice in a drink means there's less drink.

Mary Beth said...

Who keeps cans in the freezer?

Don't ask.

Irene said...

I recall from an episode of "Unwrapped" that the inventor of the Icee drink came up with his product idea after he left a Coca-Cola in the freezer for too long.

Freezers+capitalism+ingenuity. Not Russian.

TWM said...

"It wasn't always ice cold but at least had some chill."

I lived in Germany as well, and we must have embibed in different bars, because at MOST the beer was barely cool when it ws first served and never cold. Which was okay during the winter but during teh summer, ugh.

As to ice watering down drinks like a good whiskey, they have those "ice rocks" you can freeze and they work great.

dbp said...

I prefer ice in my drinks, especially soda. The soda should be ice cold before being poured so that all the ice has to do is keep the drink cold.

If the liquid is room temperature then it will just melt most of the ice and become watered down.

Ideally, the glass will be pre-chilled so that source of unwanted heat is eliminated. This is very nice for beer since you don't want to put ice in it.

Revenant said...

The only drinks I put ice in are club soda and margaritas.

For everything else, being kept in the fridge at 38 degrees is fine.

traditionalguy said...

Mint Juleps are served in frozen silver cups.

Cold drinks in the summer = rich people.

Air conditioning to temps under 78f = rich people.

Obama and Garage are right to be angry. The Obama family in Kenya suffers heat stroke while the Rich Kochs in the USA sit in AC houses and sip ice cold drinks. (You know that Koch is pronounced Coke!)

Lets send Garage to Kenya for the summer to atone for our sins of using scientific comforts powered by our energy ... you know the stuff the Kenyan branch of the EPA just made illegal.

galdosiana said...

I don't like ice in my drinks, either. Not because I'm against ice, but because eventually it turns to water and the soda tastes awful. Aside from that, the more ice you have in your cup, the less soda you get. That's why I dislike going to fast food places where they automatically fill up your cup halfway or more with ice. After a few sips, there's hardly any drink left!

nina said...

Cultural habits vary. Not better, not worse, just what you're used to. Russians chill their vodka in a freezer if they have one. French put a cube of ice in a glass with freshly squeezed o.j. Poles don't do ice at all. They avoid tap water too, because of the chemicals. But they adore good ice cream. Italians chill their aperitifs. Habits. Different habits born of different traditions and economic needs. Makes the world an interesting place.

PatCA said...

Italians also hate ice. They think ice shocks your stomach and causes all sorts of ills. They recount apocryphal tales of otherwise healthy historical figues who collapsed and died after foolishly ingesting ice.

So you relent and stop asking, unless you are in a Harry's Bar, and then you really appreciate it.

EFB said...

Freezing cold kills the flavor of things, which is what I suppose you want to do with a beer like Budweiser.

SteveR said...

American culture developed as ice (derived from frozen sources and cheaply distributed, and later cheaply made) was readily available. Its always been a standard part of drinks for us. Even after ice became easily available in Europe, they never adapted to that. Enlightened they are though

Lamar63 said...

What Irene said.

Russians are very odd about cold things and drafts. Try to open a bus or train window on a hot day. You will be instantly yelled at. Russians think a draft will make them ill. And never try to go outside with wet hair!

But contra the article, Russians love ice cream. Every street and every park will have many ice cream vendors. If the author is talking to Russians in Brighten Beach she may be talking to Russian Jews. I don't know if Jews have a problem with ice cream

Lamar63 said...

Oh and MadMan.

Russians don't drink gin and tonic. Any mix, tonic or juice is for children :)

Blair said...

"Meanwhile, how do people drink warm beer? Worse. They order it by the pint! It must be just for the buzz."

The opposite. It's because, especially in the case of a good quality ale, you want to taste the beer. Especially in winter, nobody wants to drink a nice porter ice cold. But if your favourite "beer" was Bud Lite, it needs to be rapaciously cold, or else there is a danger you might taste what little horrid flavour there is in it.

As an immigrant to the US, I have to say I find the obsession with ice bizarre. Especially if the beverage is already cold. Sure, if you want to make a good martini, ice is mandatory, but I almost always order beverages at fast food places "without ice".

Also, beer is never served "warm". Nobody ever heats up the beer. It is actually served at room temperature, as any beer other than a pilsener or lager should be.

Allison said...

--My Russian and Lithuanian relatives believe that drinking an ice-cold beverage will result in a sore throat or a cold.

My Polish relatives too.

My German ones seem jealous of the space we have for modern American fridges. They would like ice if they were rich enough to afford it but hate it and us because they aren't.

t-man said...

I rarely have ice my drinks because almost 100% of my fluid intake is either beer, wine or coffee.

Also, I'm not very picky about food, and don't care one way or the other if my beer is cold or warm (same goes for the very rare soda).

I recently found, though, that I really prefer room temperature fruit to chilled fruit. It has much more flavor.

No one answered my question about Canada. Is ice a USA thing, or North American (excluding Mexico and Central America). And what about Quebec? Is that different from the U.S. as to ice usage?

MAJ Arkay said...

I lived in Germany for five years. Never once was served a room temperature beer -- always cold, in a cold glass. My soda drinks were cold, in a cold glass - sans ice. Got so used to cold drinks not watered down by ice that we use very little ice now, but all our drinks are kept in the fridge.

Delayna said...

I'm from the Deep South--the part where you fight to park in the shade. I was in college before I met someone who didn't automatically put ice in a drink meant to be cold. When it's 95+ in the shade, you need lots of ice in your drinks, to keep your hand cool.

WV--immulin: insulin derived from mule pancreas.

Jennifer said...

Ice is an American thing. Cold is not.

When it's very hot here in Germany (which is not often), I always order a schorle weiss (white wine mixed with mineral water) because that is served cold and in smaller quantities than beer and thus less likely to go warm on you. But, even at the pool, I am served cold beer out of the fridge.

Soda is far more likely to be served warm here than beer.

Carol_Herman said...

At least in europe, soda is made with cane sugar!

Here they've crapped into soda with corn syrup. Like slugging back ethanol.

TWM said...

This whole thing is a matter of taste, of course, but what amuses me is that Europeans, as always, believe their taste is superior to American taste.

It isn't.

Hockey Bum said...

Forget ice, what is with the European aversion to clean underwear and regular bathing?

Jose_K said...

Americans meaning all the Americas. it is the same here in Southamerica. And the rest of the world , Europe. They are crazy.I bought a Coke in the Tour Eiffel. 40 degrees, celsius,and the coke was ambiental temperature. That is around 30 sometning. When my brother asked for giacchion in Italy with his coke, the woman said : you can get a cold. It was 32 celsius. That the temperature here in a fresh morning.
And yes,her you can lose your finger if you take a beer o coke from the refrigerator

Jose_K said...

By the way here the main candy frape: ice with colorant

rhhardin said...

Foreign lack of ice may have to do with the availability of clean water.

Sofa King said...

Here they've crapped into soda with corn syrup. Like slugging back ethanol.

No, it really isn't. Drinking ethanol is actually very enjoyable.

multiuseless said...

Half way through the article "A Russian woman filling out a lottery ticket down the street concurred. “Unlike other nationalities, Russians are very clever. You can’t fool us,” she warned."

But she is playing the lottery.

Fred4Pres said...

Given the 40 below zero temperatures in Russia in the winter, Russians have a deathly fear of their vodka getting exposed to the elements. The vodka will not freeze due to the alcohol, but if you do a shot of liquid at -40 degrees (and the celsius and farenheit scales meet at that point) it is generally fatal.

So I understand their phobia.

Greg Hlatky said...

Foreigners are so cute when they complain about American customs.

AJ Lynch said...

I am reminded of the Three Stooges short where they were ice delivery men.

Andrea said...

Americans to foreigners: "Wow, your customs are so different and neat. Tell me more about the way you do things!"

Foreigners to Americans: "God, you're so... American. Why can't you do things like we do in my country?"

Why we left the Whole Rest Of The World to come here, Part 12,689.

YoungHegelian said...

If you want to see a European face wrinkle up in a look of real disdain and disgust serve them a bottle of root beer!

Root (or birch) beer is a quintessentially American taste that really doesn't transcend our national borders. Any culture that likes tamarind flavored sweets (e.g. Mexican) gets the idea of root beer, but for Europeans it's an even viler American attack on gastronomy than even peanut butter!

Methadras said...

I like my cold drinks as cold as humanly consumable as possible. Even Iced Tea. Hot tea is different. :D

purplepenquin said...

I prefer most of my drinks closer to room temperature rather than ice cold, but that is mostly due to my bad teeth.


I'm half hillbilly and half English...my poor choppers never had a chance!!

BAS said...

Ha, that was a funny article. I didn't used to serve water on ice for dinner, but my family objected strongly so now I serve the water with ice. If you can't beat them join them, now I drink everything with ice, too.

wdnelson93 said...

Coke and Chocolate should go in the freezer. Chocolate should be eaten frozen solid. Coke should form just a small amount of ice when it decompresses on opening.

Erik said...

I drink my soda warm. I actually prefer it cold, but I just never have room in my refrigerator for it (though I do find room for my beer). And honestly, I don't drink it much. Beverages in general need to be cold. Soda I can tolerate warm. Beer, never, and not any other alcoholic beverage either.

This must have to do with the general enthusiasm with which Americans adopted refrigeration in the post-war era. Not being focused on rebuilding over convenience, Americans used the new economic energy for luxury rather than survival. Europeans in general did not have the opportunity.

No, we're definitely right about this one, and the world is wrong. And I'm not bothered in the least in saying it.

Michael McNeil said...

I like to freeze milk, in those gallon plastic containers so pervasive these days. If you first open it up and decant off a portion (so the container doesn't burst) before putting it in the freezer, then after an hour or two (before freezing solid a while later) it produces this wonderful slush. Just shake it up into a milk-ice froth and it's delicious — indeed one realizes after a while that ordinary cold milk just isn't cold enough.

Ex-Dissident said...

Sometimes you link to observations made by a very inexperienced opinion writers. This is the case here. I eat out at many Russian restaurants in the same district as described by the writer, and have no problems obtaining ice. It's possible that the writer was so irritating that the waitress decided to have a bit of fun with her and refused her ice. It is also possible that the writer was simply delusional or made stuff up to fit into the setting of her odd family behavior. It's not that Americans are crazy about ice, and it's not that the rest of the world doesn't appreciate ice during hot Summer days. It's a simple case of a weird family a member of that family having a very limited understanding of the world at large.

David said...

Actually, there's an interesting reason that American ice consumption differs from the rest of the world.

Ice production and export was a key American industry beginning in the late 18th century and the booming for most ofthe 19th century. Ice from New England ponds was sold throughout the United States and exported to the Caribbean, Europe and India. In the US, cheap ice in the summer has been available since before the Civil War, whereas in Europe and India exported New England ice was a luxury.

One of the primary sources for exported ice was Walden Pond, of Thoreau.

Wikipedia has a decent biography of Frederic Tudor, the Ice King, who invented the export business.

Strelnikov said...

Get out of my country.

Anthony said...

David - and here I thought it was because the English forgot to end ice rationing after the end of World War 2.

MarkD said...

I didn't have this problem in Japan. Even the vending machines have cold beer.

PMorg said...

Russians do worry about the origins of the water in ice cubes, that's true. Not only it could contain bacteria, but any kind of substance, never can be too careful. It does take away from the taste. Americans are in love with bottomless soda and pop drinks, but to cut cost food establishments are pre filling your glass with tons of ice. Yes, root beer and peanut butter are offensive taste for Russians, but so is red caviar to Americans. Tastes are very different.