Ice is used in cooking mostly to chill things, though some entire dishes, such as Japanese Shaved Ice desserts, can use it as the main ingredient.
In the food processing industry, it’s used a great deal to keep temperatures down to levels appropriate for safe handling.
It’s only pretty recently, though, that we’ve had the luxury of having Ice on hand to use in the kitchen — unless it was the depths of winter, which would have been the last time you’d have wanted a chilled drink or food, anyway. We have to hand an incredible luxury in our everyday living that was once reserved only for the very rich who had slaves to run it from mountain tops for them, if the legends are to be believed, and we can now take it for granted. Unless you live in Europe that is, where if you ask for an Ice Cube in a drink they look at you like you just popped in from another plane of existence.
That aside, Ice at first glance seems pretty simple. It’s frozen water. Different forms are, however, appropriate in different circumstances. Different sizes of Ice Cubes are appropriate at different times. And when small Ice Cubes are not small enough, Crushed Ice or Shaved Ice comes into play.
To chill something so that it approaches the freezing point of 32 F (0 C.) Any dish you Ice should frost up. Make sure that the dish can stand the cold: don’t use your heirloom crystal.
“Ice cubes” in Spanish is “Cubitos de hielo”