Dietribes: Ice Ice Baby


• "But ice is not a food!" you say? The U.S. and Canadian food codes beg to differ! (although as you can see, it's not quite as easy as that).

• It's a real enough industry, anyway: the average American buys four bags of packaged ice each year, 80 percent of it between Memorial and Labor Day. If you use ice as a primary food group though, you may want to talk to someone.

• Curiously, ice cubes are not popular in other countries (the theory being that in Europe "it's just the way it's always been," while in American it goes to the "more is more!" principle).
• Extra! Extra! Read all about it: obviously the real reason the glaciers are disappearing: the 1980s trend of making glacial ice cubes.

• Quickly freezing tap water can cause cloudy ice, and leaving it in the freezer for too long can make the ice shrivel up, as molecules fly away from it on a bizarre journey under over around and through the refrigerator itself! It can also collect smells and other impurities … which is why the ice maker from my hometown of Columbus boasted that their packaged ice was pure and "never touched by human hands!"

• Mental Floss has covered some interesting ice cub trays in the past (and even sells one!), but there seem to be a never ending supply, including ones that are also rather dramatic.

• Although technology IS improving the age-old ice tray itself.

• Ice cubes are all around us - from retail buildings to hotels (yikes!), and of course the infamous ice bar (what must their bills be like?)

• You could also just live inside one, like the Israeli illusionist who stayed in a giant ice cube longer than David Blaine.

• So what's the verdict, Flossers? To ice or not to ice, that is the question. Personally … I can't stand ice cubes in my beverages of any kind. They dillute it, make it too cold for my tastes, and sometimes crash against my face and make me spill my drink (as noted in that New York Times article!) Also how many of you have had disasters involving your automatic icemaker? Those things can be wiley!

Hungry for more? Venture into the Dietribes archive.

‘Dietribes’ appears every other Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.