You know you must be married to a Hungarian when cooking sausages and making mashed potatoes in the middle of the first heat wave of the summer sounds perfectly reasonable and appetizing. A few hours later I had the baby in a sling and a bag of ice pressed to the tender skin of my inner wrist as we walked to the local drugstore for burn ointment. Yes, I managed to prepare the sausages but not without incurring a burn. Skin tends to burn when you touch pans simmering on a stove. The baby was crying. The sauce, which I was trying to prepare from the pan drippings, was scorching. A little flesh wound is not a high price to pay for good sauce. Except the sauce was lost and a burn makes rocking your baby to sleep virtually impossible. (Although I did manage it with a bag of frozen strawberries to soothe my wrist.)
At any rate, there I was walking to the pharmacy with my little baggie of ice. And I started to think about ice. How Americans love their ice. What is summer without a 64-ounce limeade with a pound of ice to keep it cool? I contemplated how much ice we love to submerge in our oceans of Coke and Pepsi. Imagine the water "wasted" as ice. Imagine the energy consumed to store the ice. In some cases, the gas to transport the ice. Please, some economist out there (calling Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics) calculate what would happen if we merely halved our ice consumption habits at fast food restaurants. Ack. And then I had an idea:
What if *insert large fast food chain* offered a "green" drink option? Half the ice. Of course, ice allows them to sell you less product for more money. So, reduce the size of the cup. Thus you get the same amount of liquid, no revenue loss for them. AND it reduces the amount of paper used as well. Double whammy. Here is the real marketing genius: charge 5 cents MORE for the green option with 1 cent going toward some environmental cause and the other cents covering the production/labor costs of the "green" drink initiative. Win, win, win. Think of the PR points that *insert large fast food chain* stands to earn. Think of the cultural capital it could then spend on marketing its newest monster beef burger.
And I've come full circle: from sausage to the environment and back to the meat.
The sausages, by the way, were handmade by Sulmona Meat Market with no preservatives in Boston's North End (little Italy) and were very tasty despite the 90 degree weather. The ointment was a waste of money and did nothing for the pain. I slept with a little baggie of ice and by morning I was ready to rock, by which I mean rock in the rocking chair.