“Robin, Freeze has taken the new telescope and turned it into a giant freezing-gun. He’s about to turn Gotham into an ice cube. He will blanket the city in endless winter. First Gotham, and then the world. To the Batmobile, Robin, let’s go!” – Batman, Superhero.
Just like any other foreigner visiting the U.S., we all need a Batman to save us from the American deep freeze, aka the Ice Cubegate. “Hi, my name is U.S. of A. and I have an ice cube problem!” – such are the words that should be displayed at the airport in gigantic blinking red letters with orange cones and police tape around them when landing on U.S. soil. Warnings should also be featured on customs forms: “Tourists, beware! Warning! Alert! You’re about to swallow ice during your entire trip! We hope you have a strong stomach, enjoy your stay!”
What did grandma teach us as kids way back in the days? “Don’t drink too cold, it will hurt your stomach”, “Ice cubes don’t quench one’s thirst”, “Don’t use ice cubes, it’ll hurt your teeth”… and guess what? Grandmas are always right! You haven’t experienced a cold drink until you have visited here. Every time I sit down at a restaurant, I am waiting for the waitress to ask me if I want some water with my ice. It’s that serious and unless you have other non-natives at your table, no one will understand your pain.
Ice cold milk, ice cold water, soda cups and water glasses filled with ice, ice cold white wine, iced coffee, iced tea – under the ice, no one can hear you scream! You can spot any non-American at a restaurant when you hear: “I’ll have water please… NO ICE!” It’s a code, some sort of trick we use to recognize one another and to survive in the arctic tundra because at this point, let’s be honest, it’s a matter of survival. Seriously, who wants ice or ice cold drinks when it’s in the 30s outside? Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work as the waitress will carefully remove 1 or 2 ice cubes from an already ice cold water pitcher. What is wrong with room temperature water? Why does it have to be so cold? As a rule of thumb: if you can only lap up your water like a delicate small dog because it’s too cold to drink, that’s an issue!
Having dealt with the cold cheeses already (Frenchie and the Cheesy Serial Killer) in an earlier post, the logic and reasoning behind the fact that cold hinders flavors and taste are the same here. Ice cubes and cold in general numb taste buds and are inclined to ruin the flavors of a drink (or food). Room temperature sodas are horribly sickening but with ice, they “seem” drinkable. Ice cold white wine straight out of the fridge will not render all of its flavors, nuances and complex flavors like a white wine stored at an ideal temperature – usually 55 °F (13 °C) instead of the 35 °F (2 °C) fridge temperature. After some careful research, it looks like ice cubes became the latest fashion items in the U.S. during the Prohibition years (1919-1933) when bootleg whiskey was so disgusting to drink, ice cubes were the only way to disguise its taste. America, take back the control of your taste buds! Or is living a life without taste and flavors better after all?