A lot of people swear their Grandma was the best cook in the world. I’ve heard about grandmas who baked the best pies. I’ve heard about grandmas that whipped up the best cookies you ever tasted. I’ve heard tell of recipes for pot roast, turkey, chili, even spaghetti sauce that would make you laugh, cry, whatever was appropriate. However, my grandma had them all beat. My grandma made the best water.
She kept the water in a pitcher in the refrigerator (she kept the 7-Up in the dishwasher… long story). It didn’t look all that difficult to make. She just placed the pitcher under the kitchen tap, filled it halfway with water. She made ice cubes in metal trays. They had blades frozen in the ice that you could shift with a lever. That was a bit tricky; I couldn’t even move the lever until I was in elementary school and then the ice shards (they definitely were not cubes) would erupt out of the tray and slide onto the floor.
For something so simple, I could never understand why I couldn’t copy it. I tried drinking water out of our taps at home. It tasted terrible! I poured water in a pitcher. I put ice cubes in it (we had plastic trays at home). Later on, I actually bought an aluminum ice cube tray at a garage sale and found a pitcher just like my grandma’s at K-mart. It still wasn’t the same.
My grandparents moved when I was in high school. By then, of course, I had long given up water for the more sinful pleasures of regular Coke. However, I remember stopping by and being offered a glass of water. To my surprise, it didn’t taste nearly as good as I remembered. It dawned on me the problem was the water itself. When I was a kid, Schaumburg had well water. It was full of minerals (we called it “hard water”). My parents had a water softener that we filled with large salt blocks every so often. However, my grandparents didn’t have a softener in their old house. Their taps would drip long after the pitcher of water had been placed in the fridge because the pipes were seriously messed up. However, you couldn’t beat the taste.
Unfortunately, by the time I made this discovery, Schaumburg had switched from well water to water from Lake Michigan.