Thursday, 11 March 2010
Hooray for Ice!
I'm celebrating the fact that I finally have a refrigerator again! I didn't have one when I moved into my flat, and for the past three months I've been fridgeless. It's not much fun, and ended up being quite expensive, as I had to eat out a lot. Luckily, a friend has come to the rescue and lent me his bar fridge for as long as I need it, so now I can have milk and fresh vegetables again.
I was mentioning this the other day when I visited one of my relatives. She's my first cousin twice removed, and was born in Hungary in 1921. She was saying that she remembers how in the winter when the Danube river froze, they would take a horse and cart and cut blocks of ice from the river. These would be placed in a big pit, which had been prepared with straw. The ice was then covered with more straw and planks of wood, then straw on top of that, and finally a layer of earth. Throughout the spring and summer, they would chip off enough ice to fill the ice box and keep food cool. How laborious!
My father remembers the ice man coming round in Budapest in the 1940s and 50s. He came by at least once a week, and had a horse-drawn cart with a big block of ice in it. If you wanted a piece of ice, he would cut it off, then balancing it on his shoulder, which was covered with a piece of leather or hessian (much like in the photo above from Berlin) he would take it up to your flat. You could buy different size pieces for different prices. The ice would of course melt eventually and you would have to drain the water out through a little spout at the bottom. And I though defrosting the freezer compartment was a pain!