walkitout (walkitout) wrote,


No, we don't have any ice on the ground around here. It's freakishly warm still.

I watched last night's Daily Show today; the interview was with photojournalist Benjamin Lowy who seems personable, able, calm and bemused about nearly everything. One of the photos that fascinated Stewart was of a woman at a market in Afghanistan; she's holding eggs. In the background is a table with a large block of ice on it. Stewart went on for a few sentences on the subject of wow, we just don't understand that here.

On the one hand, sure: this is a great way to illustrate the issues of Not Having Electrical Power Infrastructure. On the other hand, iceboxes rather than refrigerators are In Living Memory even here in the US. Working backwards from right this instant, my friend and former next door neighbor K. bought a house in the University District back in the late 1980s. It was cheap. It was in dire shape. Until she renovated the kitchen, she was using an icebox. A real icebox -- not a cooler.

My cousin B. worked at a company that made ice and stored it in a ridiculously ancient building (for Seattle). The building was insulated as well as it could be insulated when it was built: with sawdust. It went up in a horrifying fire shortly after B. moved on to other things.

R. bought his first house in Mayberry, New Hampshire, a small town (not it's real name) on the border with Massachusetts that was renowned for having a freakishly huge building (gone long before he moved to the town, but recorded in countless photos viewable in all sorts of public facilities around town). The building was used to store the ice which was harvested from Lake P. The company which ran the operation had previously run an ice operation out of Fresh Pond.

See? I didn't even have to invoke any family stories (I grew up in a time warp, so they aren't a great argument of, hey, you should remember this because I certainly do). I haven't even dragged in WDW's Carousel of Progress, which is _still_ viewable (I inflicted it upon my mother-in-law back in November), and which _still_ depicts an ice box on the first stage. Nor have I invoked remember-all-those-ice-boxes-and-pie-safes-you-could-buy-at-antique-stores-a-few-decades-back.

Having listed off all the examples of why people _ought_ to know about ice boxes, I'm now mildly curious. I'm betting most of my readers read way too many novels set in a time of iceboxes (whether written then or later) to be ignorant of ice boxes. The interesting situation would be if any of my readers lack any familiarity with icebox as a device for keeping things cold by sticking a largish square block of ice in it, along with the day's milk, eggs and so forth. Possibly cleverly located with a door to the exterior of the house as well as the interior kitchen, to enable the milkman to deliver the milk to the coldness.

Any takers?
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.