Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day Twelve: Chomp Chomp

Since I was a little girl, I have loved eating ice.  My grandmother used to tell me I'd break my teeth out, but it never happened.  In fact, every dentist I've ever seen said my teeth are as hard as nails.  When I was a kid, I would sit in front of the television with a big glass of crushed ice and chew, chew, chew.  Now that I'm grown, I hit Sonic as often as possible to get my fix.  I will eat cubed ice if that's all I have, but I prefer crushed, especially the "soft" ice some restaurants have. 

As I've gotten older, I don't eat quite as much ice as I once did, but I still crave it on a daily basis.  I recently found out that doctors consider this a form of pica since ice--like clay or dirt--has no nutritional value.  This type of pica even has a name--pagophagia.  When I was younger, people would tell me that chewing ice would cause anemia.  Since I was anemic (and still have issues with it), I thought they were right.  Turns out that the ice eating is a symptom of the anemia. No one really knows why, though I did read an article recently that suggested that ice tastes different to people who are iron deficient. 

So it turns out my ice chomping may be a two-part problem.  If it is pica, I wouldn't be terribly surprised since it's sometimes linked with anxiety, a problem I've struggled with for years.  I'm just glad that I crave ice and not dirt, clay, paper or feces (yes, I said feces).  Since I also have a history of low iron, it's possible that my deficiency has contributed to my craving.  Regardless of the reason, I love ice.

Today's "30 Day Challenge" is to post a picture of something I love.  Since it says thing and not one, I'm going to choose ice, more specifically my five favorite places in my city to get ice. 

5.  Jackson-Madison County General Hospital Delicious ice of the "nugget" variety, but larger pieces than what I find at restaurants.  I don't know anyone else who has this exact ice.  It's soft and has a good texture.  Unfortunately, unless you're a patient on one of the floors, the only other place I know to get it is around the corner from Subway in the basement.  This ice would actually rank higher on my list if it weren't such a hassle to acquire.


                                                      4.  Abbays
Abbays has the smaller nugget ice that is very easy on the teeth and actually seems to make drinks even colder. They are new to Jackson and a recent addition to my list of best ice places. Abbays has decent unsweet tea which is a big plus since I stopped drinking sweet tea when I lived in STL.  In non-ice related areas, I could replace one meal every day with their sweet potato casserole.  If Abbay's had larger cups, I would probably rank them higher. 

3. Zaxby's
Zaxby's has decent chicken, but everyone knows I'm all about some Chick-fil-a.  What the Christian Chicken doesn't have however are Zax dipping sauce and nugget ice.  I love the ice at Zaxby's, especially since it is served in a Styrofoam-type cup.  As an added bonus, Zaxby's has Mr. Pibb (which is far superior to Dr. Pepper) and freshly sliced lemons.  If you haven't had a Mr. Pibb and lemon, your life is a little less meaningful.  I rarely drink soda, but there are times I crave a drink from Zaxby's.  Since their ice is small and soft, the lemon can work its way down into the Mr. Pibb and infiltrate the syrupy carbonated goodness with a zest of citrus.  And nothing quite beats the way the ice tastes after I finish chugging down the drink. 

                                                                                    2. Pilot gas station

When the only Pilot gas station in my town was built a couple of miles from my place of employment, I was absolutely beside myself.  About ten years ago, I discovered that Pilot coffee is delectable.  Laugh if you want as I drink my gas station coffee while you pay for some overpriced beverage at Fourbucks, but it is delicious.  The Sumatra blend released a few years ago is rich, bold and just the kick in the arse that I need on an early morning.  But this blog isn't about coffee; it's about ice.  And as much as I love Pilot's coffee, I could dang near stalk their ice and take it behind the bleachers.  They have a soft ice that is a bit more solid and textured that most nugget ice.  And to make it even better, they have huge 44 ounce Styrofoam cups and freshly brewed unsweet tea.  To make it even better, it costs about a buck.  If I'm feeling naughty, Pilot's soda fountains feature a wide variety of choices in addition to cherry and vanilla syrup.  Pilot is literally a one-stop drink factory. 

1.  Sonic
Not nearly enough ice, but it'll do
The self-proclaimed "ultimate drink stop" with over 168,000 different drink combinations.  And from 2 to 4 each day, all drinks are half price.  I am all about an establishment that encourages customers to get creative with their drinks.  It's easy with me, though--just keep adding the ice.  Sonic may quite possibly be the only restaurant who understand the true meaning of "extra ice."  Their drinks are great, including the tea, but 90% of the time, I order either ice or water with extra ice.  And always in a Route 44 cup with a giant red straw.  I am literally addicted to Sonic ice and there is rarely a day that passes without me ordering at least one cup.  My students at three different schools all started associating me with Sonic cups since rarely a day goes by that I didn't walk onto campus with one in my hand.  Even the days I didn't have time to stop at Sonic, I at least took the time to rinse on the previous day's cup and fill it with my own (inferior) ice.  When my neighbor threw me a "favorite things" baby shower, she bought a stack of Route 44 cups and bags of Sonic ice for me.  Sometimes I wonder if I should seek out a sponsorship from Sonic.  I'm actually sitting here salivating just thinking about a cup of their ice.  Mmmm.

Honorable Mention
Growing up, we had very few places to eat in my hometown.  At one point, there wasn't even a McDonald's.  We did, however, have a Jack's Hamburgers, a fast food restaurant found throughout Alabama and in a few locations in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.  The food at Jack's is so-so, but they always had the best ice.  It was the tiny nugget ice that they heaped into big cups and filled with freshly brewed sugary sweet tea (this was in my sweet tea days).  I craved Jack's ice and tea, especially paired with a chicken biscuit for breakfast.  At some point several years ago, they changed their ice to "normal" ice.  I have no idea why they'd do such a thing since there are people who would come through the drive-thru just for drinks.  I guess those people go to Sonic now (I do).  For all my Hen-town folks who remember the "old" Jack's ice, though, you know why I have such fond memories. 

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