There are idioms in use in several countries that can be translated as "selling ice to an Eskimo" or "selling a refrigerator to an Eskimo." Both are used to describe a pointless activity -- for example, when someone is given something that they already have plenty of. But it turns out that selling a refrigerator to an Eskimo is not so pointless after all, because Eskimos need refrigerators as well.
A refrigerator, by definition, is an appliance, box or even a room that keeps food and drinks cold. Naturally, we would not expect Eskimos, people residing in various Arctic regions of the world, to need refrigerators, but they do. Eskimos use refrigerators, not to keep food cold, but to keep food warm. Since the climate is very cold in the places where Eskimos reside, food can develop freezer burn easily if left unprotected. If Eskimos do not have access to refrigerators, they may use animal skins to keep food warm.
Eskimos live in Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, Siberia and Greenland where temperatures, with the wind chill factor, are frequently as low as -30 degrees Fahrenheit (-34.4 degrees Celsius).
More about Eskimos:
- There are more than 100,000 Eskimos in the world.
- Eskimos may use sleds to travel on ice and they may use boats called kayaks on water.
- Eskimos do not live in igloos constantly; they only stay in them for short periods of time during hunting trips.