If anyone can tell me from what movie that quote originates and who says it, I’ll grant them 50 cool points.
In the South, we drink tea. And I mean, we drink a lot of tea. I’m not sure how to explain exactly how much tea we drink, but chances are, nine times out of ten, if one were to go into someone’s home and be offered something to drink, one of the predominant and consistent options would be tea.
Southerners drink their tea a specific way- heavily sweetened and ice-cold.
When I say "heavily sweetened," I mean it. Our tea usually has 3 or even 4 cups of sugar per pitcher, and certainly no less than 2 cups.
Multiple pitchers of tea may be prepared in the same day.
Honestly, there’s nothing quite as refreshing on a sweltering day as having an ice-cold glass of sweet tea. The first sip is a burst of pure ecstasy, and the rest of the drink just makes you feel at home.
Cold tea is good; ice-cold tea is even better.
Tea is suitable to drink with any meal and at any time during the day, and most often it is the beverage of choice, especially in more traditional-minded Southern households.
As a child having Sunday lunch at my grandfather’s house, I would put lemon juice in my tea. This came mainly from observing my grandfather put lemon juice in his tea, and of course children love their parents and grandparents and want to imitate them. So lemon in my tea, it was, and to this day I love lemon in my tea.
Also, I should mention that we like to serve our tea in tall glasses. No cups, please- give us the whole enchilada or give us death!
Traditionally, in other countries and cultures, tea is taken hot, and often unsweetened. In Britain, tea is often taken with cream, sugar, and lemon, another combination I enjoy.
In Japan, green tea is served hot and unsweetened. While I find the taste personally refreshing and cleansing, I can imagine a good number of people from the South would be turned off by the rather potent and sometimes bitter taste of hot, unsweetened tea.
To my own credit, I recently invented a recipe for tea that I enjoy- hot cinnamon tea.
When I was a child, I enjoyed drinking hot tea as much as I enjoyed drinking cold tea. Most people, however, don’t opt for the heated variety in the South, so I think it’s prudent to forewarn everyone.
Hot cinnamon tea is made by boiling cinnamon with the tea, and then whipped cream into it. The result is an exotic taste.
Above you can see the frothy goodness that is cinnamon tea.
I’ve heard that the origins of drinking cold tea have to do with the Revolutionary War and the protesting the British by changing the practice of drinking hot tea to that of drinking cold tea.
However, I would guess that in the South, as often as not, it was simply too hot to take any heated beverages, and thus the tea was served chilled. We do have some incredibly sweltering summers in the South, and I’ll detail that more in a later blog.
As far as I know, most restaurants in the South serve their tea sweet, though you can probably request it unsweetened. I’ve also been told that in other parts of the USA, tea habitually comes unsweetened and one simply sweetens it one’s self. I don’t recall often ordering tea when I’ve been out of Alabama, so either someone else will have to verify this for me, or I’ll have to verify it myself some day.
So, if you’re ever in the South, or you ever need to cool down, have a glass of ice-cold sweet tea- it isn’t far away, and you’ll be happier that you treated yourself.
Happy tea drinking!
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