There are lots of ways to get things. You can buy them. People can give them to you. You can find them.
We are interested in getting an ice crusher - for all those drinks that are served over crushed ice. If we are going to throw a party - in the back yard around the BBQ - it would be quite easy for us to serve 40 to 60 drinks in 2 or 3 hours, so it seems like a machine would do the trick.
Another thing to note is that we live communally, and my experience has been that groups are incredibly hard on appliances - much harder than a business would be. A business might use a machine for many hours a day, but usually only certain people operate it, and sometimes they are trained and feeding of a machine, and they know they need the machine to work to get their work done. In a communal kitchen, you don't know if the next person to use something will be 6 or 60 (or 75) and you don't know what they'll use it for - someone might try using the ice crusher to shred carrots. Notice I said "try". There is no malice, just a spirit of adventure, sometimes with a big ladle of naivety. Vic used to say that anyone who really wanted something tested and rated should send it to a Morehouse*
Anyway, what this means for us is that we have a kind of a two fold approach - either cheap (disposable) or expensive (restaurant or commercial grade). For toasters and juicers we go cheap - we beat the toasters to death in 3 or 4 months, for those $19.95 juicers they inexplicably last until we lose some piece (usually) or the plastic gears strip (much less often). We have "a real mixer" - its at least 15 years old and still going strong. Interestingly, no one knows how we got it!
So we want to try the high end approach for an ice crusher. Towards that end I did a lot of research [on amazon.com, etc.] and decided to take a chance on a Waring IC-70. I found this incredibly helpful post - I don't know if this link will work - http://chanticleersociety.org/forums/rss.aspx?ForumID=46&PostID=3743
which talks about the exact model I was thinking of getting. Reading his excellent post, I'm thinking I should look at the next level up in function (and cost).
Ah, cost. Where will the money come from? Well, I'd like to tell you about a somewhat unique institution we have, we call it a "brown bag." When you want something you don't have the money for, you can try to raise it. You get a brown bag - like a paper lunch bag, or larger - and you walk around - preferably with a buddy who supports your goal - and you ask people if they would throw money into the bag. By custom, one doesn't look to see how much a person is throwing in, or the giver can hold the money in their hand and put their hand into the bag so that you can't see. Whatever amount is given, the team thanks the donor and moves on. Often you get lots of change, but we've often seen people raise hundreds of dollars this way for rent or a medical bill or whatever.
So we are running a 'brown bag' for our ice crusher. In this case, we've gone a little upscale and used a box and covered it in wrapping paper - cause we want to put it out at parties and want it to look nice. But we still call it a 'brown bag'.
Here is what the sign on the box says:
Brown Bag for Ice Crusher
Would you like to have Tiki Drinks and Tropical Drinks at 80 this summer? Right here in our own back yard- with tiki torches!
We are planning on throwing BBQs and cocktail parties in our backyard this summer. I’d like to serve
Mai Tai’s, Zombies, Fog Cutters, Hurricanes, Singapore Slings etc. What all these drinks have in common is that they are served over crushed ice.
So we’d like to get a restaurant grade ice crusher. Would you like to “chip in?” If so, please throw some money in the box. We are looking to raise about $100.
*We'd be delighted to test products for you. And review them. Email me.