Paradise Lost No Thanks To The French Aversion Toward Ice

Paradise Lost No Thanks To The French Aversion Toward Ice
July 21, 2011 Leslie Juvin-Acker

It's highly unlikely to find an iced beverage like this even in a club like the famous Papagayo in St. Tropez

Our three week vacation (my hiatus from the blog) is just a week away. Next week, I’ll be slathering sun block onto my freckled face, lounging with my in-laws on a lounge chair in a beach club, jogging with my dogs along the beach, and sleeping in with my handsome French beau. Summering on the cote d’azur sounds like paradise, and it would be if it weren’t for just one thing: ice.

Ice, or, the disgusting lack of it in France is what keeps my vacation from being absolute heaven. For some strange reason, seeing a pitiful two pieces of ice in my lukewarm cocktail or what should be a refreshing Coca-Cola just ignites a flame bitterness inside of me. I always ask nicely for more, but for some random excuse, French ice machines are either completely out of ice or broken down.

I brought an ice tray to my in-laws beach house last summer. This ice tray was my solution to luke-warm hell, so I thought. It turns out that my father-in-law, Pat, found the extreme pleasure of ice-cold Cokes during lunch time and decided he, too, would partake of my precious ice tray.  Then, Mr. J decided he, too, had to have cold Malibu bay breezes after a hot day on the beach. How could I say no to sharing my ice with two of the greatest men in my life? Consequently, I was caught between my usual generous nature and greedily counting who had the most cubes of ice in their glass.

This all sounds ridiculous, I know, but you try growing up in Jacksonville, Florida without an ice cold beverage at least once a day in stifling, humid heat and not grow accustomed to the habit. I’ve been thinking about my ice strategy this summer – maybe I would bring several trays of ice so each of us can enjoy our own tray each day. That sounded like a plan until I got a disappointing phone call from my ever-so-neat mother-in-law who kindly asked if she could buy those plastic ice cubes filled with water so that the water from the cubes wouldn’t drip onto the white tiled kitchen where our mutts roam around with their dirty paws.

“Dang it!” I thought to myself upon hanging up the phone. What am I going to do about my ice situation now? Those plastic ice cubes don’t work! I’ve tried them and they’re sitting in my pantry collecting dust. They simply don’t provide the absolute minimum temperature the Coca-Cola company recommends for serving their beverages which is, for the record, between 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit.

I ran into this video featured by my hometown news station about the “Ice Man” who manufactures and sells those glorious bags of ice in freezers found in grocery and convenience stores throughout northeast Florida which sell for mere change. The video brought back so many good memories of hot picnics and beach days, family parties and celebrations, football games, festivals and athletic events where no matter how hot it got, one could always trust in that one plastic cooler filled with magnificent chunks of ice with which one could fill up their red Solo plastic cup and pour up to the brim with any beverage one desired. Brand name, generic, water, alcohol: it all tastes wonderful with freezing cold ice.

Torn between respecting my mother-in-law’s desire to keep her kitchen clean and my secret addiction to ice, I’ll have to figure out a way to have a cool summer in a region where air conditioning and ice machines are scarce. They say life is all about those small pleasures, and in my life an abundant supply of ice is one such pleasure.

What are your small pleasures?


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