I get a lot of stupid promotional e-mails, but this one really made me sit up and take notice:
“Hello Erica,” it began, “ … here’s a quirky story idea about people who have a passion for chewing ice—specifically the soft, chewy kind, often referred to as “nugget ice. Ice-chewing fanatics from all over share their love of nugget ice through social media with thousands of tweets and status updates each month and hundreds of Facebook groups.
“Now passionate ice chewers everywhere have a new digital community, www.LuvtheNug.com. At this site, visitors can ‘Find the Nug,’ which locates nearby locations by ZIP code that serve nugget ice. In addition, site visitors can tell about their favorite nugget ice moment for a chance to win their very own nugget ice machine.”
And so on.
I actually plugged in Newsday's ZIP code and discovered that a chewy mouthful of nugget ice is no further away that F&G Gudtfood at 150 E. 52nd St. in Manhattan. No venues on Long Island were listed.
Is there really a grassroots nugget-ice movement? Perhaps not. A look at the website's fine print reveals that LuvtheNug.com is the creation of Scotsman Ice Systems, the self-described “world’s leading ice machine manufacturer.”
For what it’s worth, I could find none of the putative “hundred of Facebook groups” through which ice-chewing fanatics share their love of nugget ice. All Facebook delivered was a page (which 1,610 people like) containing the Wikipedia entry on pagophagia, “a form of the disorder pica involving the compulsive consumption of ice or iced drinks. It has been associated with iron deficiency anemia …”