Tuesday, March 18, 2008


 …and some like it cold….ice cold, in fact. And ICE cold is the way I like my ICED tea. Get it? ICED tea is supposed to be…..ICED! And yes, of course I’m a spoiled American, and surely this penchant for ice in my iced tea is further proof, if you were in doubt. I also like my fountain diet Cokes with lots of ice, but that’s a treat saved for visits to the states.

For now, I do indulge myself, only at home of course, because if you’ve traveled in Europe you already know that ice isn’t something that’s readily available or often used. During my visits to England this seemed a little more reasonable, given the fact that summers are rarely scorching, and yes, I did adapt. I drank water and soft drinks at room temperature, saving the decadence of ice for a rare stop at McDonald’s.

Here in Italy, where summers are considerably hotter than they are in England, ice is still nowhere to be found, but for different reasons. I thought the most logical reason would be that electricity is more expensive, but now I think that the real reason is because of the Italian obsession with digestion. They say that ice cold drinks make your meal harder to digest, and possibly they’re right. Digestion certainly is something that seems to be on the minds of most Italians. We’re bombarded with commercials and ads for remedies and food to help with digestion, regularity, and constipation, but I’ve survived this far, so I don’t think I’ll worry about that now.

Now I DO like the Italian way of serving most side dishes at room temperature; this certainly makes life easier, not having to have everything piping hot at the same time. (And please note: this rule does NOT apply to pasta. Pasta should be served and eaten immediately, while it’s still hothothot!) I also like the fact that gelato is served in a semi-frozen state, not rock hard like the ice cream in the states.

In summary you can see that as always, I take what I like from both cultures and try not to feel guilty. One of the benefits of being an expat is just this: being able to have foods and traditions from the land of our birth, and now being able to adopt the traditions and foods from the land we’ve adopted. But if you want ice in Italy, you’ll probably have to make your own. The good news is that ice cube trays can now be found in Italy! (I brought my own with me when we moved!)


At 3/18/2008 09:13:00 AM , Blogger Valerie said...

Barb, we even got an ice cube tray with our fridge when me moved to the new place. Yes, one...it makes about 20 cubes. I have to convince the barista to put more than one little cube into iced tea or other drinks. "But it will seize up your stomach!" they say. Nah, I'm American...covers a multitide of eccentricities.

At 3/18/2008 05:08:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll never forget on our first trip to Paris being in the cafe in Le Louvre after walking for miles, and it was pretty hot even though it was October. I asked for a large Coke, and when I was handed the paper cup (which I then would fill myself) I could hear one lonely 1/2 inch square ice cube rattling around in the bottom. My husband absolutely cracked up at the look on my face as I peered into the cup in disbelief!



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