Friday, July 25, 2014

Frozen

Artisan ice cubes, I call them
My not-so-willing offspring are burdened (to hear them tell it) with an unreasonable number of tasks around here: laundry, dishes, putting out the trash, you name it - there is always some chore that one or the other of my hapless children finds him/herself obligated to perform. And believe me, there is no whistle-while-you-work ethos happening in this household; rather, each task is greeted with dismay - nay, shock - that there is yet again something that needs to be done. And at the top of their list of disliked chores? That, my friends, would be the dreaded making of the ice cubes.

You see, there is no automatic ice maker for us, no binful of perfectly shaped cubes waiting to chill our drinks when we open our freezer door. Instead, once or even twice daily, we have to fill the 5 plastic trays with water, stack them in the freezer, WAIT several hours, and then empty the resulting ice cubes into our ice cube bin.

To hear the kids tell it, this job has them channeling 19th-century Almanzo Wilder, going out on the frozen lake with his dad and the hired men to cut large blocks of ice to store in the icehouse. Not a day goes by that one of my beloved progeny doesn't complain about the fact we are the only family (in his world, anyway) continuing to make ice cubes the old-fashioned way. Tell me, is this the price I pay for raising them in an upscale, semi-urban community?  Are they doomed to grow up thinking that the luxury appliances they see in all their friends' houses are the global norm?

Sometimes I think I should ditch everything and move us out to a farm in the mountains for a year, where the kids can learn to, I don't know, do whatever it is people do on farms. Churn butter? Muck out stalls? Hang wet laundry on the clothesline?  Maybe, after enough time doing those things, they would be happy to come back to a place where their toughest task is to wrestle a few cubes of frozen water out of plastic trays.  Maybe they would even begin to appreciate the air conditioning, the automatic clothes dryer, the ever-present supply of hot water as the luxuries they really are.

Better yet, I shouldn't move away from city life at all.  I mean, why should I suffer? I already appreciate the advantages of modern living.  Instead, I can just send the kids.  Any farming bloggers out there who want to do a kid swap?  Think about it - you can teach my kids what REAL WORK is, while your kids would experience what to them will feel like a well-deserved vacation.  It's a win-win, right?




[Ice cubes image: Photos Public Domain]

14 comments:

  1. I can go for months without needing ice. but my husband is obsessed with it. The constant grind and crunch of the icemaker and his teeth wears me down. If he had to make the ice himself would he use it more sparingly? I wrote this comment earlier on my phone but I swear the crunching made me hit the wrong key and I lost it all. I am always close to losing it when I hear the crunching...

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  2. When we bought our fridge, nigh 'pon 20 years ago, we specifically requested that they REMOVE the automatic ice maker. We use ice trays, like you do. Now I know to call them 'artisan ice cubes'. The ice trays take up much less room, and the ice tastes better than the stuff made in the automatic ice maker.

    But, alas and alack, while I may write like someone from the 19th century, I don't live on a farm.

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  3. We have an icemaker, but I miss my ice cube trays because you can make fun things in them besides ice. Things with alcohol in them. I think I need to buy some.

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  4. We live in the Netherlands and when it comes to ice cubes, we know no other way than 'the old fashioned way'. I'm quite certain we aren't as backwards in other areas however (allthough, !'ve been known to peg wet laundry to a clothesline...). But picture the surprise on our children's faces when during a trip through the US they only had to hold a thing called 'ice bucket' close to a hotel fridge, press a button, and ice cubes came rolling out... Absolute miracle. Kept them occupied for hours.

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  5. The Christmas issue of Bon Apetit last year had an actual recipe for ice cubes. Because large square ice cubes look much classier in a cocktail than the moon-shaped ones from an ice maker. So you are totally trendy! We have never had an ice maker. I consider them a ridiculous waste of freezer space.

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  6. We probably all grew up with those infuriating metal ice trays with a ratcheting handle which, ostensibly, could be cranked to release the cubes but almost never did. I'm sure you, too, had at least one ice-pick in the kitchen drawer. No kid today knows the usefulness of that handy tool. (They have to find other ways to earn their tetanus shots.)

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  7. LOL we don't have an ice maker either. Well we DO but we don't have a water line to the fridge so we have to use trays. I just make sure they get filled as they get emptied and it's all ok. I think I'm really the only one that uses them most of the time.

    When we went camping Scott was saying we should move off the grid somewhere. I was like um no I don't think I could deal with just you for my entertainment ;)

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  8. My two sprogs had to unload the dishwasher AND reload it with the new accumulation in the sink. One of the two handled it pretty calmly, but the other one punctuated her labors with a number of martyred sighs.

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  9. I think of ice-makers as just one more appliance that can break and be annoying. We make ice cubes in trays. And we just pluck them from the trays to the glass- no intermediate ice bins. Now if I could just get my adorable spouse to put the newly refilled tray on the bottom of the stack like I do, so the trays rotate in FIFO, I would be a happy woman. (I hate going into the freezer and picking up the top tray to find it filled with half-frozen water that I then spill all down my shirt.)

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  10. I think I should send you our gummy bear-shaped ice cube trays. Who could complain about those? (Kids, that's who. But still.)

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  11. Our icemaker can't keep up in the summer. I should put the ice trays back in the freezer, but I'm not sure where they are currently. My kitchen is a mess, as we took everything out of the old pantry/laundry room so we can replace the rotten floor joists and flooring. Everything is now piled all over the kitchen. One more joist to put in and then we can put the first layer of plywood down. After that, the walls and ceiling are coming down, so I can bring the wiring up to code and rewire the exterior lights for my patio and north yard. They are not grounded and burn out bulbs fast, so probably have a short in them somewhere. Then I will insulate and put up new drywall, then need to paint and add the flooring. I may be done by Christmas, but probably not ;)

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  12. Heck, I'd just send mine so I don't have to listen to the whining. ;) And we DO have an automatic ice maker. It doesn't automatically dispense anymore, but we can live with that...

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  13. Kids despise any chore. I believe they'd pitch the same fit whether mucking a stall, baling hay or emptying a dishwasher. But I'd be game to send mine to Amish boot camp just to see the suffer more...

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