Celebrating a friend’s birthday a couple of weeks ago she mentioned that she preferred a certain location for getting her fountain drinks, “because they have cubed ice.”
One of the women in our group who only heard the periphery of that discussion replied, “they have cute guys?”
“Yeah,” says my friend, assuming she’d been heard correctly. “That keeps things cold longer.”
“How do cute guys keep things cold?” the out of hearing range friend replied.
“Cute guys? What the heck are you talking about? I said CUBED ICE!!”
“Phew! I’m glad that’s what you meant. You’re a married woman, you shouldn’t be checking out cute guys! Everyone laughed. “I like Sonic Ice,” the woman with questionable hearing added as an afterthought.
And so began a discussion about the best kind of ice, which is not a rare thing in these parts, any time of the year.
Obsess about your ice much? Arizonans surely make a hobby of it. I suppose anyone would who endures endless hundred-plus days and nights. Driving down the road with the windows down because the air conditioner has thrown up the white flag again makes ice a thing to be fantasized about to excess.
Crushed, cubed, full cubed, half cubed, round, tube, air blown, pearl, fluffy, clear, half-moon, flat, flavored, flake, Sonic, Hawaiian and shaved. One of the latest I heard of? Ice shots, a piece of ice in exactly the same shape and size as a shot glass. Drinkable, disposable, cheaper than glass. What a concept. Not sure it’ll fly here in the desert.
A key criteria for MSH in picking out a home to live is whether or not the refrigerator has an automatic ice maker. Seriously, I know! This is a man who wants some water with his ice. No sappy blue plastic ice trays for him. No aggravation from someone leaving two ice cubes in the tray and not refilling them. If you think water takes forever to boil when it’s being watched, you should try waiting for ice to freeze.
Ice is important in these here parts of the southwest deserts. Don’t be disrespecting someone’s ice of choice. You’d better be ready to defend your snide remarks or your backside if you do fall into such a miscalculation.
Different ice serves different purposes. Do you want the drink to stay cold a long time without watering things down? Larger cubes are your answer. Or do you prefer to get through the drink so you can crunch your ice? Pearl or tubes might be your ice of choice in that case. Maybe you simply want the stuff in the ice chest to make it to the picnic and back without become so much flotsam in a sloshing square pail of lukewarm salmonella. Better go with a block for that one.
Is there a difference between a snow cone and a shaved ice besides the shape of the container it’s in? Apparently, Yes! Made by crushing ice, a snow cone tends to let the flavors filter through to the bottom of the cup or cone very quickly. Shaved ice scraped from a block of ice provides a softer surface for the flavors to adhere to. Add some cream on top of either and you’ve got gourmet flavor.
Personally, I find tube ice an entertainment as well as a cooling luxury. Have you ever tried to keep a tube-shaped piece of ice tube-shaped as it melts? Not an easy feat. Getting it to slip on to your tongue like a little ice sleeve is an odd sensation.
I couldn’t tell you where to buy that kind of ice around here though. I should work on that. Right after I figure out how to time my driving between stop lights so I can keep a nice hot breeze blowing through the car instead of having to stop at each one and cook while waiting.
When I do get stuck at a stoplight, windows down, diesel wafting through the interior, heat from the pavement creating mirages of sweating glasses of diet cherry cokes, I tend to imagine myself sitting in one of those ice castles you see in the winter time in some exotic location like Siberia. Ah, that’s the life. Forget drinks on ice. Put me on ice! Temporarily, anyway.