Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I ~ is = ice

When visiting Sweden, I was always thirsty. It's not like Farmor and Farfar were denying us beverages, it's just that the custom of having a glass of water with a meal, in addition to a beverage of some other sort is unheard of in Sweden. Therefore, today's word is “is” which is pronounced (p)eace. As in all those beauty queens who want world peace. (No actual beauty queens were harmed in the writing of this post.)(Or if they were, I do sincerely apologize. I love Miss Congeniality!) Is means ice. That lovely, frozen piece of water that chills your beverage and helps quench your thirst. First, they don't serve you water, but if they, upon request do, then there's no ice. They don't have that either.

They have plenty of frozen lakes and ponds that we ice-skated on. They have plenty of hockey players and indoor arenas with ice for the games, but if you want ice in your glass, forget it.

The lack of ice and water made all the coffee parties we went to so dehydrating. The tradition is that if people “stop by” you serve coffee and some cookies. And some buns. Perhaps a tiny sandwich. Then when everyone is totally stuffed, they bring out the cake. Throughout this party, you can drink coffee. If you're fourteen and don't like coffee? You drink nothing. Unless you happen to stumble upon someone who serves cider.

I love cider. In Sweden it doesn't resemble the American version served at fall festivals in the slightest. We're not talking squeezing apples here. Swedish (and perhaps all over Scandinavia) cider is a carbonated, ALCHOHOLIC beverage. It's not highly alcoholic, perhaps .5% or so to the best of my recollection. When I looked it up in Swedish on Wikipedia, they referred to the 5-6% cider that we call “hard cider” here. That's not the kind I'm talking about. This cider is like the sparkling cider we buy for our kids for holiday parties, only in Sweden, if you drink ten or so bottles, you might catch a buzz.

The alcoholic content was part of the dehydration problem. You were served A glass. A tiny glass. A glass like this. 

 I sometimes was brave enough to ask for a second "shot". After that, though, I was likely to get a glance from Farmor with the, “No!” in her eyes. Then the hostess might say something like, “Well, I guess she's feeling a bit thirsty!” Of course this didn't mean the obvious, THAT I WAS DYING OF THIRST. It meant, that girl sure likes her alcohol. Well yes, all .5% percent of it...

Perhaps times have changed. I haven't been to Sweden since 1997. Maybe they do serve ice water at meals. Those of you who are living in Sweden will have to enlighten me. But pass me some ice-water first, OK?

P.S To Anna of Anna's Adornments, please let me know if this has changed?  The rest of ya'll, go visit her.  She rocks.  Don't worry, she blogs in English.


Jeremy [Retro] said...

Is...Is...Unge. Think I typed that right... :)

Impressive, Most Impressive... to the challenge "I" is for Interesting!
Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
A to Z Co-Host
My New Book:
Retro-Zombie: Art and Words

Pam Williams said...

Visited England in 1995 and again in 2003 and no water or ice was served at meals where we ate either. Such a simple thing, we just assume it is universal. It's an interesting world out there. Thanks for sharing your Swedish insights.

Unknown said...

Kära, kära Tina!
Tusen tack för att du nämnt mig och min blogg. Du är guld värd!
Det finns is i drycker på sådana serveringar som redan har ett amerikanskt koncept, t.ex. MacDonalds. Men även andra caféer har tagit efter, åtminstone här i Norrköping.

Men det händer aldrig att man serveras isvatten med detsamma på en bättre restaurang utan att man har bett om det, som är fallet i USA eller i delstaten Virginia, där jag arbetade på Howard Johnsons en sommar.

Låt mig ta en promenad på stan för att undersöka saken. jag återkommer!

Short translation:Yes at MacDonalds and other chains from America, but not at a better restaurant. However in cafes you can get a soft drink like Coca-Cola with lots of ice in it, taking after MacDonald's. But still no ice-water.

I will take a walk downtown now and check this for you.
I'll be back with more information!

Kram/Best wishes & hugs,
of Anna's Adornments

Jo Gards said...

I feel your thirst pain. I am always thirsty and drink at least a large glass of water during a meal.

I am English though, so Pam's comment surprised me. I always serve a jug or bottle of water with food in my home.

But in most UK restaurants you still need to ask for water on your table - so we're not quite there yet I guess.

Great post.

Made me thirsty just reading it - I'm off to get a cold drink :)

Julie Kwiatkowski Schuler said...

It's often a waste. When I take the kids to restaurants and the table is filled with glasses of ice water, no one drinks them. I'll maybe have a sip, but I often take no beverage with dinner. I would make a good, dry European.

Brian Miller said...

huh, would not mind to try the cider...yeah my parents would have not let the look even wait for the second either...lol

Laurita said...

This makes me wonder how they feel about salt in Sweden. I'm thinking maybe the food is not salty, or perhaps there would be more water to drink at meals.

I found this so interesting, and another good word to know (especially since I live in the land of 'is').

Sally said...

As a child we weren't allowed a drink with our meal in case it made us too full to eat the meal. I always have a glass or jug of water on the table for anybody who wishes to participate in a drink. Interesting cultural differences.

Dani said...

Did Jeremy [Retro-zombie] just type Ice, Ice, baby?! lmbo!

Again, great word!

loverofwords said...

I found this in the UK, but I think the reason is that the fridges there and perhaps Sweden are not the monsters we have here in the US, so they have the ice cube trays, perhaps only two, so there isn't the habit of putting ice in everything. Check out my blog today, www.castlepinesnorth.blogspot.com, I wrote about the IKEA we have and mentioned your blog. Have a cup of Fika on me!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have to have ice with my drinks! I'll bring my own bag.

DonnaGalanti said...

Its interesting as I lived in England for awhile as a child and they did not drink with their meals at all, either. Is it a European thing? I almost did Ice today too!

H said...

In England, people often offer fruit juice with a meal or maybe a soft drink; sometimes water. You are right about the ice though. To get ice, I have to go outside and into my garage. There is no room for a freezer in my kitchen. Even the fridge is not very big. Our houses tend to be a lot smaller than in the States.

LA Nickers said...


(Is that right?)

Visiting as an A to Z blogger.

All on Blogspot.com and all in the A to Z Challenge:

Heart of a Ready Writer – Bible & Devotional
Meme Express – Daily Blog Prompts (A to Z)
Nickers and Ink – Featuring favorite classic poems from A to Z
Practically at Home – See what fellow writers are cited – with article links!
The Mane Point –Profiling special horses from A to Z
Working in Words – Writing How-to’s

Click my name/icon for links to all these blogs! Happy A-to-Z!

Holly Michael said...

Life is Good! And as a traveler, I've visited England and Sweden is on my list! Love this blog. Looking forward to more posts. SO glad I found you!!!

MunirGhiasuddin said...

I bet nothing can beat NY State Apple cider in Fall and throughout the winter. Drink it ice cold or warm it up ever sol slightly and add a little bit of cinnamon. No need for the alco.

klahanie said...

Hey Tina,
Ice think this is a very cool blog. I was be cider myself with joy reading this icicle, sorry, article.
I don't like having ice put in drinks because that way you get less of a drink and more ice.
Anyway Tina, I'm now off to visit a whole bunch more of those bloggers who are involved in the alphabet challenge.
Take care and have fun.
With respect and bucket of ice, your way, Gary :)

Viveka said...

Hejsan, du har gjort mycket bra ifrån dig med Dina svenska ord. Cider kan du nu köpa hos ICA och smakar mycket bättre än den sura engelska som är mycket starkare dessutom.

Underbart roligt att läsa dina inlägg. Kram Viveka

Unknown said...

I am here from the challenge...great post for the letter I. :) I was in Europe last year and well you know here in the U.S. drinking coffee at morning, noon and even night is not considered weird ya know? But, when we were in London I asked for coffee WITH my meal...not AFTER my meal and you would have thought I asked to kill the spotted calf! LOL Great post. I have never been to Sweden...bucket list maybe! :)

Adrianne Russell said...

I like that you have to ask for water in most restaurants in the U.S. At least they're not wasting it when no one drinks it. But I chug water all day long. I would've been that thirsty kid for sure.

ediFanoB said...

I like to drink water but without is.

And I can't imagine to have meal without something to drink.
I don't drink coffee. I drink tea.

I think tea would have been an alternative for kids.

Heather Murphy said...

This makes me thirsty just thinking about it!

Selim Yeniceri said...

ice... nice...