News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 19, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: The greatest invention ever? Frozen orange juice

Liz Ciancone
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — We were talking the other day and someone posed the question: “What do you think has been the greatest invention of all time?”

There must be thousands of opinions. Many will tell you that the discovery of the wheel was the most important as civilization plodded ahead. But Dad would surely have given the nod to the stoker furnace to cut down on his shoveling coal into the gaping mouth of the furnace. I’m pretty sure he would put a high premium on the automobile too. He always wanted to see what was around the next bend in the road and he could go further and faster in a car than in a horse-drawn wagon.

Then there is the convenience of frozen food as well as the speed of defrosting supper in the microwave. I imagine Mom would endorse either, especially after a day spent picking peas from the garden, shelling peas and cooking peas as dinner’s vegetable du jour.

The telephone can be both a blessing and a curse. I would not want to try to remove the computer or the cell phone from today’s young folks. The same can be said for television or radio which can bring us news from around the world in minutes and then endless replays of tragedy and horror.

I wouldn’t want anyone to tamper with my air conditioning during the heat of summer or my automatic furnace in the dead of winter.

But, if I had to pick just one, my vote would go to frozen orange juice.

I didn’t think I’d ever get enough orange juice. Actually, I still haven’t. Mom cut oranges in half and squeezed the juice out via a “juicer.” The process was repeated endlessly to get about four ounces of juice, so we didn’t have it every morning. Imagine my delight at spotting a tiny can of frozen orange juice in the grocery.

I bought some, of course. All I had to do was decant a frozen block of juice, add water and shake until the block melted. I can still buy it frozen, but it is easier to buy a half gallon already squeezed and strained (I like mine without pulp) thereby eliminating almost all work involved.

Best of all, I can have all I want any time I want. Is that a great invention or what?

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to