I am guessing mamas everywhere tell their littles not to stand with the refrigerator door open.
I’m also guessing that in the days before refrigerators, boys and girls most certainly weren’t allowed to stand gazing into the icebox, wondering what they’d have to eat. Wasting electricity wasn’t the concern; it was melting the ice.
Ever thought about life before refrigerators?
Your great grandparents knew about those days.
My understanding is that they were usually wooden boxes with metal insides. The empty spaces between the wood and metal were insulated with straw or cork.
This is the inside of the icebox. A large block of ice was placed in the top space, and the food went in the bottom.
Here is a larger icebox with more storage room.
You may recall when we read the Little House books. (Again and again and again!)
In “Farmer Boy,” the childhood stories of Almanzo (Laura’s future husband) are told. He was raised in upstate New York where they harvested blocks of ice during the winters and stored them in an icehouse packed with sawdust so that they would last until summer.
Those blocks of ice could be placed in an icebox to keep foods cold. As the ice melted, the water either passed through a tube or into a drainage tray that had to be emptied regularly.
If one lived in the city, the “ice man” delivered ice.
Notice the little square beneath the window behind these boys?
It opened to the icebox to simplify deliveries.
And now, that little history of the icebox brings us to one of the things which people from yesteryear might have stored there: Icebox Cheesecake.
This recipe is different from traditional cheesecakes as it doesn’t require baking. It is to be made well before you need it and stored in the refrigerator to set. Since it’s so quick to mix, it is a very easy dessert. It can even be stored in the freezer if you want to make it well in advance. This recipe is from Southern Living, by the way.
First you’ll need 8 oz. cream cheese. Unwrap and place in a large mixing bowl.
Add to that 1 cup powdered sugar.
Mix these together well with the mixer at medium speed.
I made a little “skirt” around the mixer to keep the sugar from going everywhere.
Next you’ll need 8 oz. whipped topping and
1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix on low until blended.
You can make a crust. Southern Living recommends a Butter Cookie or Pretzel one.
I was a little short on time, so I picked up a graham cracker crust at the store. I think the homemade pretzel crust would be my favorite. If you do make a crust that requires baking, be sure to do that and cool it before the next step.
Gently fold the mixture into the prepared crust.
Cover and place in the refrigerator for eight hours.
Cover with your favorite topping. I usually use an assortment of fresh berries, but this time I made a cherry sauce. You can’t go wrong; they’re all delicious!
I’m reminded of Granny Tootsie telling me one time that people who talk about the good ol’ days didn’t live through them.
I think she was probably pleased to give up the icebox for the refrigerator.
I love you,