Why are Americans obsessed with ice cubes?

I think Americans have different DNA than the rest of the world. There is a genetic instruction in their biological makeup other earthlings just don’t have. Because what I am observing, seems to be a continental determination, not some age or gender issue. It stimulates a zest for H2O in its solid state. What is up with all the ice cubes, United Staters?

Order a drink in a restaurant and I guarantee that two-third of your glass will be filled with what Americans probably consider Survivalist Cubes. I have a strong suspicion they actually need them as human beings, because their biological makeup demands it. It’s not a matter of wanting anymore.
This suspicion was backed up when I asked my American friend Brandon about his feelings on the matter. ‘They are life blood’, he firmly stated and he continued with a passionate ode to Cubes. And he’s certainly not the only one who feels this way, because this lifeblood flows through every vein in New York and the rest of America.

At your serv-ice
Part of the deal in restaurants here is that upon your arrival you will be served a glass of water. Good customer service. Waiters will politely keep refilling your glass during your entire visit. But this liquid H2O is not sufficient, dear customer. It needs to be mixed up with some solid stuff.
Go to a hotel and the lovely hotel desk clerk will not only specify breakfast hours and complimentary amenities, but most certainly won’t forget to clarify where you can find The Ice. Yes, dear guest. Your Cube has its own room. A king-size cabinet down the hallway. Like I said, survivalism.

U.S. patent for ice trays 1930
‘To freeze ice cubes […] put into pans the partitions which come with them and fill with water.’ – Electric Refrigerator Recipes and Menus, 1927
Home is where the cube is
When you’re not out and about – don’t worry. Your body will still get the satisfaction it longs for, because Americans also invented stuff for that. Your fridge at home will produce the necessary cubes. And if you’re looking for drama, you can even get it crushed. In the land of the free, home is where the cube is – and it’s been like that for decades.
Home production of ice cubes first saw the light of day when more Americans started to purchase electric refrigerators in the 1930s and 1940s. They realised it was easy-peasy to enjoy an ice-cooled beverage at home with the invention of the ice cube tray. The call of Frigidaire Household Sales Textbook in 1928 to have ‘a suitable size of ice for cooling drinks’ was answered. Several patent requests were filed in The States.
Then, in the 1970s the nation’s leaders gained massive popularity from the public when they announced no human effort was needed anymore – home fridges now had chilled water dispensers and automatic ice-makers!

We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto
A happy nation was disrupted when Americans traveling abroad stumbled on the lack of cubes in other continents. How could this possibly be explained?
Experts argued. ‘Energy costs are higher outside of America’, shouted the economists. ‘Urban water supply produces unpalatable cubes’, culinarians cogitated. ‘Teeth are overly sensitive to cold due to the notoriously inferior dental hygiene of certain nations’, dentists stated.
Rather than just focusing on cubeless drinks elsewhere, Americans searched their own life styles too and wondered: ‘Why do we love ice cubes so much?’

Ice, more ice, baby
The ‘more is more’ mentality of the U.S. stands out in this debate and seems to be the only credible answer. This is the land of bigger cups, free refills, bigger kitchens – and therefore bigger fridges. In the largest part of the country that is, of course. New Yorkers actually feel left out being forced to own ‘small European models’ in their tiny apartments.
Lisa Bramen, a former writer of Smithsonian.com’s Food and Think blog, explains the fascination with quantity: ‘[…] somewhere along the line free drink refills became the norm, giving customers lots of ice was seen as adding […] value.’ So, quantity is believed to be an improvement. Brandon again supports this hypothesis: ‘You get a second drink after it sits there for a bit. Man, I love ice.’

Basic instinct
More is more. You can’t dispute that. And we know Americans are fans of quantity. But is that why they all go crazy for ice? In the case of cubes for Americans ‘more’ obviously isn’t ‘just more’ – it simply is better. ‘A few cubes make a drink 10 times better’, another American ice-lover called Mike agrees. ‘Ice all day’ is his motto. Why? Their needs are being met on a primal level. There’s something in their DNA, I tell you.


If you want to read more about the ice cube obsession:

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