Remember summer as a kid, when the time between grade levels was a young eon? I still envy teachers who get that lazy summer change of pace (even though I know perfectly well how hard won and well deserved the time is). My summers were sadly marred by the TWO HOURS per day of garden work in which my sister and I were required to participate. Yes, of course it was character building. But just how much character does one need, anyway?
At any rate, as I marinate in the Georgia humidity, I find myself popping back frequently to those grade school summers in Virginia. Last week, we had a minor catastrophe at work. (Hang with me. I’m going somewhere. Promise.) The office mini-fridge freezer had formally frosted over, making it impossible for the freezer flap to shut properly, and thus, forcing the fridge door open. The result was a lot of weeping coke cans and quickly defrosting microwave lunches. And after the thawed-broccoli incident last fall, it was clearly a matter to be dealt with swiftly. I took on the icy build up with the most formidable weapon at hand: a paring knife. As I hacked away and the ice chips flew, I couldn’t help contemplating the lack of worker’s comp for my job.
Still, the cool snowfall was welcome, and it hauled me instantly back to the circa 1950s kitchen in the old farm house we rented while I was in grade school. The refrigerator was a venerable old Frigidaire, and, unless my memory is playing tricks, it lived in the back of the rather large pantry. It had a freezer, but that freezer had issues – as in the thick coating of ice that would slowly take over any actual freezer space. I’m sure it was a royal headache for my mother, but for my sister and me, it meant one thing: shaved ice.
When the time arrived for the inevitable defrost, my mom would scrape away at the ice, whittling it down, and depositing the shavings in a bowl. These ice shavings were for quick savoring before the Virginia heat reduced them to mere droplets. Those spoonfuls were pure, cold bliss, especially in a house less than aptly cooled by window units.
I’ve had a fetish for ice ever since – especially shaved or slushy ice – and my summer freezer is never complete without a box of corn syrup saturated flavor ice. I secretly covet a fridge with an automatic crushed ice device.
True, this may have something to do with that iron deficiency. But I prefer to attribute it to the Frigidaire.