- April Vega
The Roast of Ice
By April Vega, Managing Editor
There is a beast — no, to give it the name “beast” implies it the dignity of living form. It is a wraith, a boogeyman, that rests over this nation. It started in the cruel, maladjusted imaginations of this country’s puppeteering elite and has wormed its path down from the soiled pipelines of its corporate spawning bed, leeched its way through the most virile cradles of Western gathering and culture and festered in the minds of everyday Americans. It is the placement of way too much ice in our drinks.
It’s a practice that our average countryperson rarely thinks about but that those abroad widely recognise and abhor. Those in Ireland, Italy, Egypt, China, Panama and Java alike all know that water, let alone other more substantial drinks, is best enjoyed without an excess of ice — maybe two to four cubes, to break even the temperature on a searing hot day.
Dwell not on the idea of enjoying one’s proper beverage with ice; the average citizen of the world would retch at, mock or put aside without any serious gravity the mere notion of diluting a substance celebrated for its flavor and texture with half to three-quarters of a glass of ice. From indulging minor indiscretions like iced soda or juice to horrific aberrations like iced coffee, tea, wine or creamy nitrogenated beers, we are jeered at by the vast majority of the world; and they are right for it.
In case I’ve gotten ahead of myself, let me paint a picture for you. You’ve taken a seat at your favorite restaurant. It doesn’t matter what it is — fast food or gourmet; classic American diner or Asian fusion; taco joint or poutine shack. The gracious server returns with your drink order, and whatever it is you savor its arrival... by what characteristic? The larger part of respondents would list the following: the sonar tinkling of the ice against the crystal. The glistening of the ice from the dark depths of the cola it has sunk beneath. The shocking sting of the near-freezing glass against one’s fingertips. This is the hold Big Ice has over our consumptive desire.
When ice industry titan Frederic Tudor’s moronic idea to ship New England ice to the Carribean failed on account of the Martiniquais having good taste, he fell deep into debt and had to think of how to scavenge a profit from his intellectually bereft investments. He engaged in several ruthless practices, the worst of which was spiking his dagger of market force into the heart of human culture: the public house, the restaurant, the bar.
No, he did not intend to use his invention for the cooling of homes, nor for preserving medical specimens. Instead, he outlines in his diary that his goal was “to make the whole population use cold drinks instead of warm or tepid. ... A single conspicuous barkeeper having one of the jars and selling steadily his liquors all cold without an increase in price, render it absolutely necessary that the others come to it or lose their customers — they are compelled to do what they could in no other way be induced to undertake.”
By spawning a fetishistic cult for the aesthetic of frosty drinks in a foreign land that had no initial desire — nor any natural need — for ice, as well as manipulating inventors into patent loyalty and employing brutal pricing strategy, according to historian Linda Kistler, “Tudor perhaps deserved his reputation as America's first monopolist.”
The rest is history. By the beginning of the 20th century, almost every household and business in America had an icebox, an ever-hungry furnace for which the fuel was an ever-melting supply of ice. Ice has not only become the central image in every single beverage marketing advertisement to further the investments of Tudor’s successors, but is used by an increasingly powerful capital body in the corporate restaurant industry to further two other corrupt interests: first, a glass filled to the top with ice requires less actual substance by volume to sate the brainwashed American’s liking. By diluting the value of our beverages, the drink-misers — presiding amongst the rich elite corroding the world’s spirit — manage to pad their pockets while we drink their slop.
Second, a glass filled two-thirds of the way with ice requires a more potent flavor to even make the consumer feel like they’re drinking anything. This has led the sodas, lemonades and juices we consume them with to experience a vast increase in their sugar content over time, contributing to endemic heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
This is not just a matter of taste, but a societal alarm and a battle of injustice waged against the average consuming citizen of America’s financial and physical well-being... and if we really wanted to open a can of worms, we could consider that by indoctrinating Americans into consuming an excess of ice, the capitalist class is creating a dependency and conditioning Americans for adapting to the realities of the climate change they’re actively furthering.
A better world is possible. In fact, it’s already here. All over the planet, people are enjoying their drinks with a negligent or reasonable amount of ice. It’s better for their electrical bills, their taste buds, their endocrine systems, the environment and their spirits. If we ourselves can wake up, rise against the systems put in place before us and ask ourselves why we bend to their needlessly frosty will, maybe we too can join that reasonably temperatured world.
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