|Drink a Cold Cup to Technology
There are two reasons for drinking: One is, when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it.
- Melincourt by Thomas Love Peacock, 1785-1866
Tom, might I add a third reason? In a hot summer, a drink can be cool and refreshing - as in winter, a hot drink can be warm and refreshing. Hot drinks in summer, like cold drinks in winter, leave much to be desired.
Under most circumstances, it is simple indeed to match the climate of a drink to the opposite climate of the atmosphere. Is that not what stoves and refrigerators are made for?
Necessity is the Mother
But there are occasions when neither heat nor cold is readily available when it's time for the pause that refreshes. Unless one is absolutely dying of thirst or dehydration, what good is a tepid beverage in summer when mind and body demand chilly refreshment?
Conversely, of what value is a lukewarm drink when one is shivering with the cold? That's why - since humans developed sufficiently to appreciate comfort and taste - we have perfected the process of creating a liquid of temperature appropriate for the season at hand.
Let's face it. Can you, as a fellow creature of comfort and taste, name one drink that rouses temptation when consumed in a state of what can be described as room temperature?
Room temperature is recommended for body comfort only. To quench the thirst, it takes a cold drink. To heat a body in the early stages of hypothermia requires a hot beverage. Facts of life.
For many of us who spend much time out of doors far from the kitchen with its microwave and range or refrigerator and ice cubes, accommodating our lust for a quick and convenient extreme temperature in what we drink is not always easy, unless
Unless we cart around a mini-stove or an insulated container, whether it be a thermos or cumbersome ice chest, which is not always appropriate. They can be accommodated easily in boat or vehicle, but what about those who jog, hike, backpack or walk a trout stream? Are they to be excluded from the refreshing pleasures of life?
Tempra Technology of Bradenton, Fla., says no. Not if as the sun melts the body and dries the throat, one wants a cold drink. At present, their chilled beverage would be a foamy beer, but there's no apparent reason why TT's instant chill concept wouldn't be appropriate for a soda pop, fruit juice, milk or even water.
Sorry, but for those on the trail seeking instant warmth, no relief is in sight short of striking a match to get the pot boiling. But as we all know, it's less time consuming to get a liquid hot than it is to make it cold.
Fire works wonders at home or off the beaten path; a pot can be boiling within minutes. But, lacking ice, desired chill for a liquid can take a lifetime in the eyes of one whose thirst screams for refreshment.
So along comes Barney J. Guarino, the innovating Floridian whose company can chill our beverages by 40 degrees via its I.C. Can. Now within five minutes we can enjoy the pause that refreshes. You might call it a self-chilling can.
It works by evaporation. A quick twist starts the cooling process. When the bottom of the can is twisted, a seal is broken to expose a gel to a water-absorbing substance, creating evaporation. As the water evaporates, it takes heat with it. Once the heat is gone, the chill in the beverage, which is in a separate compartment, can last for up to an hour.
Presto, a beverage that satisfies on a hot day.
Late, But Better Than Never
Where was Guarino's Tempra Technology during the two and a half semesters I attended an isolated college back in the days when dormitories weren't equipped with compact refrigerators? Where was TT in my backpacking days when a clear, sufficiently pure and cold stream wasn't always convenient? Why does the younger generation get all the breaks?
At Goddard College, nestled in the back woods of Vermont, in spring, summer and fall, the beer was warm, agreeable only to one student from England where, he informed us, they preferred their suds warm. In winter, sometimes, we enjoyed cold beer; other times we licked large chunks of frozen, dead foam.
That was back in '46, when GIs returning from World War II surviving on government stipends didn't have sufficient income to buy both beer and coolers. The choice was simple on the few occasions we traveled to Montpelier or Barre, both more than 15 miles away.
Only a few students among the 125 or so enrolled owned cars, so it was thumbing a ride - and what driver would pick up a couple of students toting a big dripping bag of ice? So we drank our beer warm like our English exchange student - except in winter.
Only trouble was, the war had just ended, Goddard was getting set for the big rush of ex-GIs and Dewey House, our dormitory, wasn't completed. Frigid northern Vermont nights not infrequently overwhelmed the temporary heating system. Until some of us learned to take our brews to bed with us, they could be a frozen mush. Ugh.
Tell me about the hardships of students of today. Did they, I ask you, ever have to open a half frozen or warm beer, then try to catch the erupting, fizzling foam with open mouths?
Many times in years since, when backpacking or fishing, a cold beverage would have hit the spot. Sometimes on the cold Battenkill trout stream in southern Vermont we'd secret a Schlitz under a rock, but the best we ever got when it was time to celebrate a nice catch was at best a cool, not-so-appetizing thirst quencher.
However, once when searching among the rocks in a shaded pool for my cooling beverage, I did retrieve a near full-bottle of Jack Daniels stashed by an unknown angler who wasn't evident on the stream near Hickory Hill Road on the New York side of the border.
Obviously New York fishermen have more sophisticated tastes. I toasted my 16-inch rainbow several times before returning the Black Jack to its niche. Alas, it wasn't there when I returned at other times. New Yorkers never were dependable hosts.
In backpacking, one weighs by ounces, not pounds, for everything that goes into the pack has to be carried on the back. Yet there is always room for a can of beer, even if the dehydrated porridge or eggs have to be left behind.
But again, how to cool it? After a hard day's trek, a not-so-cold beer, while better than nothing, isn't what an evening's pre-chow relaxation is all about.
Now those on the trail can tote a refreshing Tempra's I.C. Can to sip on as they wait for the freeze-dried beef stroganoff to perk. Probably, within a few more years, courtesy of TT or some other entrepreneur, there will be what most every backpacker hankers for: a chilled martini with equally cold olive and a wisp of Vermouth.
That's bound to be a financial bonanza for its innovator, but unfortunately by then my days on the trail will be history.