We’ll go ahead and file this one under ‘Trivia’.
So what does this post’s title mean? No, I’m not going to talk about Vanilla Ice. (As far as I know he has absolutely nothing to do with The Netherlands or Amsterdam.) Rather, it’s a clever play on words. Today, we’re talking about ice cubes, specifically the lack of ice cubes available for purchase in large quantities at the grocery store.
You see, historically, Holland (and western Europe as well) doesn’t really believe in drinking beverages too cold. This has been changing in recent years, and cold beer is now common.1 Ice in a drink, though? Yeah, you’ll get ice: 2, maybe 3 cubes. Bars just typically don’t need a lot of ice as their clientele doesn’t expect it as they’ve grown up not really using it.2
Case in point: We had a party at our place a couple of weeks ago to celebrate Staci’s graduation. We live above a bar. (Yeah, it’s kind of awesome. You can be jealous.) I went downstairs to see if we could get a small bucket of ice. First thing the bartender says is “Ice?” as though he had no idea what I was asking for. Turns out he just couldn’t hear me, but I thought it was funny that that was initial response given the lack of ice to be had. Anyways, when he grasps what I’m asking for (a small, hotel-size bucket of ice,) he begins to try and figure out if giving me that much ice will leave him without enough for the night. (It’s ~6:30P on a Friday night, there were 4 women sitting at the bar drinking wine and the bar crowd won’t even start trickling in until ~10P.) That’s when I realized that their ice making machine was under the bar counter, and the tub it dumped into was maybe 12″d x 18″w x 12″h. My little bucket was going to take ~1/2 that. He gave it to me anyways, and even offered to let me come get more later if I needed it. (We did, but opted to not go get any. I didn’t want to screw him over.)
So the whole point of this post was to give you a little background and show you how things we take for granted in the U.S. can be a big deal here. Also, it clues you in to why I’m excited to find out that I discovered that the liquor stores sell ice and that I was way to excited when I confirmed it wasn’t just a rumor. I saw it with my own eyes yesterday. Granted, anything resembling warm weather is gone until May, and we have no space in our freezer for a bag of ice, but I still feel like I won $10 on a scratcher ticket.
1. Cold beer is found in bars. Beer is not refrigerated at the store. It’s your job to get it cold, not theirs, which really sucks when you have a refrigerator the size of a hotel mini-bar. Think I’m kidding? Click the picture to get a full-size view. I’m standing next to it to give you perspective. My inseam is 36 inches. (Sorry ladies, I’m married.) It’s about 2ft wide inside. Remember when you were in college, living in the dorms and you & your roommate shared one, but it mostly just contained beer and soda because you had the dorm cafeteria to eat at and no place to cook anyways? Now imagine using that dorm fridge to store food that you cook and still having the roommate share it. Yeah, it sucks. The first thing to lose fridge space? You guessed it: beer.
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2. My polling sample is some of the students from western European countries in Staci’s master’s program. ~15-20 people were polled at a party while I was drinking, so the data may not be as conclusive or accurate as it could be.
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