Craving Earth (and Ice): Sera Young on Sonic Ice

Sonic Ice

“I NEVER join these things but I really DO love Sonic Ice!!”– A post on the Sonic Ice Facebook page

In Craving Earth: The Urge to Eat Clay, Starch, Ice and Chalk, Sera L. Young examines nonfood cravings described in her subtitle. Young describes the substances most frequently consumed and the many methods (including the Internet) used to obtain them. She reveals how pica (non-food craving) is remarkably prevalent (it occurs in nearly every human culture and throughout the animal kingdom), identifies its most avid partakers (pregnant women and young children), and describes the potentially healthful and harmful effects.

In an excerpt from the book, Young describes the following the has grown around the fast-food chain Sonic and its ice among pagophagists (ice-eaters).

Pagophagists are as picky about their ice as geophagists are about their earth. Once a person finds exactly the ice they like, they are hooked, returning to the restaurant or party store or laboratory icemaker again and again, sometimes multiple times per day. On icechewing.com, a Web site dedicated to the joys and difficulties of chewing lots of ice, the general consensus is that the ice at Sonic fast-food drive-ins is superior:

“Hi I am visiting this site for the first time as I sit here at work doing what I am notorious for . . . chewing ice. This is the first post I saw and I am cracking up! Sonic has the best ice on earth aside from what I call rabbit turd ice. I know that sounds gross but I am guessing if you love to chew ice like I do you know what I mean . . . you know that ice that is soft and almost cylindrical in shape. Well anyhoo glad I found this site. Hopeful knowing there are others out there like myself I won’t feel so strange about it. lol”

“OHHHHH, dat Sonic Ice goes so hard!!! I love Sonic Ice, LOL, I thought I was the only one but I buy it by the bags not cups!!! It costs $2.12.”

In fact, there are so many fans of Sonic Ice that it even has its own Facebook page, with 162,063 fans. One quote on Sonic Ice’s wall: “I NEVER join these things but I really DO love Sonic Ice!!”

The lengths people go to, especially pregnant women, to obtain the ice they crave can be astounding. They drive for hours or sleep very little so that they can crunch their ice away from the prying eyes of their family. One woman even bought the machine they use at Sonic (a Scotsman MDT2C12 Touchfree Air Cooled Cubelet Ice Maker/Dispenser) to have in her home: “Found on e-bay, paid $2250 for the thing.” Short of purchasing an industrial icemaker, there are other tactics to ensure a steady ice or frost supply: frequently borrowing trays of ice cubes from many neighbors; leaving the door of a deep freezer open a crack so that frost continuously forms; and sending boyfriends and husbands out for ice, even in snowstorms (Cooksey 1995).

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