Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ice is important

Hello my name is Ken and I am addicted to ice. I'm an iceahloic. An ice junkie. It has been over 6 months since I had my last glass filled with ice. I guess I realized I had a problem with ice when I moved to Holland.

There is very little ice. Ice is hard to find. People just do not have ice trays. This was one of the first things I noticed here. There are no soda fountain machines, like at the movies (which is healthy. I get it) however not seeing glasses filled with ice is shocking for Americans. Even restaurants. You can maybe get one ice cube! One! Two is rare and is like winning the lotto. Even Dutch McDonald's gives very little ice.

When I first got here Jur had this mini (1 inch x 1 inch size) 6 cube ice tray, made from some sort of bendable rubber. I can't tell you how angry I would get trying to pop those cubes out and having them shoot out like bullets into the air, or skid across the counter. I would scream and scramble to try to save them since I only had six cubes to work with. There was no ice to spare! No room for error. Ice had quickly become a precious rare commodity to me. God forbid if a cube fell on the floor and got dirty. I was screwed if that happened because the cubes are so small that if I rinsed it off most of it would melt!

I would often scream things at Jur from the kitchen like....

"This is INSANE...Ice should not be this hard!"

"OH GOD! Jesus, I dropped a cube!"

"Jur, you get no ice! You hear me? No ice for you" (I blamed him for this ice problem so he should be punished).

I even tried to freeze a pan of ice and chisel large ice chips out of it but ended up with a drenched kitchen and walking into the living room with shriveled, red, frost bitten hands, a few melting ice flakes in my hair and said defeatedly: "Ice is important Jur."

This ice thing was driving me insane....for a while I would lay awake at night and wondered if I was sent here to be like Harrison Ford in the Mosquito Coast and introduce ice to the people of Holland!

I spent almost 50 percent of my time the first month or so in Holland obsessed about ice. It was my mission to find ice trays. I made Jur take me to department stores, IKEA, kitchen stores, all over Holland looking for ice trays. I asked employee after employee over and over about ice trays, all who seemed to have no idea what I was talking about but when I would finally mime it out to them they would nod and indicate that oh yes we have that and THEN they ALL would hand me that damn same rubber mini 6 cube ice tray. After each store and each employee I grew more and more upset and anxious. I would get my hopes up and then they would get shattered. Twice I got so upset I started to get teary eyed. Once I just started to laugh uncontrollably at the realization that there just are no decent ice trays here.

I even got a bit angry once at a VERY uncaring employee as he stood there holding out that dangling, miserable excuse of a piece of a doo doo Dutch version of an ice tray. I swelled up with anger as I explained to him "NO NOOOOOO, no good! a BIG Ice try, BIGGER! Pops Out right when you twist it. POP! POP! POP! GIANT AMERICAN ICE! Comprende? (I don't know where the Spanish came from) Understand? A GOOD POP OUT AMERICAN BIG BIG AMERICAN ICE TRAY! I AM AMERICAN I NEED ICE! WE HAVE ICE IN AMERICA!" I angrily again mimed the twist and popping out of the ice but he and the crowd that had gathered all just looked at me as if I were some typical emotional obnoxious American doing some hand jive dance. I wanted to hit them all with their stupid rubber floppy ice tray!

I can't explain to you the rage I felt as I sat at a table explaining my ice cube plight with a few Dutch and I drew them a diagram of the ice tray I was searching for. One of them had the nerve to correct me and said "that is not an ice cube. Cubes are square. That is a rectangle" I wanted to lunge across the table and scream in his face All RIGHT ICE RECTANGLES THEN! I WANT ICE RECTANGLES! A GLASS FILLED WITH GIANT ICE RECTANGLES!..... Ice was making me violent.

My addiction had gotten so bad that I found myself sneaking into the kitchens of my Dutch friends to see if they had any ice. I would often yell or snap at anyone serving me a drink if they did not provide me with ice. When we were out at a bar or restaurant and someone would leave our table to go to the bathroom I would steal their ice if nobody was looking. I would go into restaurants and bars as I walked along the streets and beg for them to sell me ice to take home. Only one did. I paid one Euro for a plastic grocery bag (that I found on the floor near a trash can that looked clean) of ice and I ran home before it would melt. I hid it from Jur. I was hiding my addiction from the ones I love. Ice was controlling me.

I guess I hit rock bottom when I went into a liquor store to ask if they had ice. She said yes but she had not turned the machine on. She had a machine! I was so thrilled! She told me to come back in 30 minutes and she would give me a bag of ice. I waited for an hour so that there would be plenty of ice. The whole time I was thinking of ways she and I could set up an arrangement for ice. Could I call her whenever I needed ice? What could I do for her in exchange? How much would a weeks supply of ice cost me? When I returned she smiled and said "Oh the ice. wait here!" When she returned she handed me a Ziploc sandwich baggy of about 15 mini ice cubes. Apparently seeing that I was confused she showed me their ice machine. It was the size of a samll microwave and only made one cube at a time. I am not exactly sure what happened after that but I remember trembling, screaming something, running out of the store, mumbling the whole way home about the Dutch and Ice as I sucked on as many of the cubes as I could before they melted. I haven't been back to her liquor store since.

Eventually I took matters into my own hands and got a good American Friend (fellow ice junkie) to send me 40 American Ice Trays. I have given a few out as gifts but only to people I visit on a regular basis so they will have ice for me. Jur and I now have a freezer full of ice. All is good. Guess what all my Dutch friends and family are getting for Christmas?

Unfortunately now that winter is here I find it too cold for ice...... FYI....I do NOT need to hear anyone say "SEE that is why there is no ice in Holland!" ICE IS IMPORTANT!


  1. OMG please let me know your needs before you kill someone over toilet paper or something. I'd be more than happy to send a little care package to my favorite Dutch non-relative! xoxo Tiffy-poo

  2. Haha!! It took me ages to get over the lack of ice. I finally brought back some ice trays while home for a visit...

  3. :-) great article.
    Here we look such machinen on
    (Dutch Ebay)

  4. This post really made me laugh because my bf is also an iceaholic. He's such an ice geek that he has different preferences for his ice cube size (he likes to munch on them).

    When we moved into our home we actually stole the trays from our apartment because they were the perfect size for him. Yes, my name is Derrick Jackson and I am an ice cube (ice rectangle?) tray thief. What can I say? I did it in for love!

    No ice? Those Dutch! Savages, I tell you. SAVAGES!

  5. OK here's the key to the mint!

    MOST grocery stores now carry ready made ice. BY THE BAG. It's in the frozen section and you may have to look in ever spot for it. I usually buy a 1kg bag for 1 euro at Jan Linders, Plus, Jumbo, or the great almight Albert Heijn. They have not always had this. It's only a few years now but you should be able to find it. I prefer it to making my own anyway as dutch freezers.. ummm.. SUCK. I was sick of the mess of American trays in them and buying it ready made is very cheap and I like the size of the blocks.

    Also if you fail to find it ready made, they also have something else insane for the dutch. They have these things like baggies for ice cubes. You need a degree of some kind to operate them but they do make ovals and about 20 per bag. Not big, but better than 6 baby ones!

  6. Thanks again Laura, I bow to your expertise!