Tuesday, March 21, 2006


I'll come back to this in a minute.

I've lived in Alabama for the great majority of my life. (Thank you, Lord!) My part of Al is in the NE corner. We have pretty mountains. They're not big mountains, but they're ours. I grew up on Sand Mtn. Just North of here, in Tennessee, that same mountain is called Raccoon Mtn. Just South, where this mountain begins to fade away to rolling hills, they call it Red Mtn. It's the same mountain. It's beautiful. It's probably more of a plateau than a mountain, if you account for its mostly flat top. There are places where you can stand and see for miles. Stretched out in front of you are thousands of acres of farms, homes, small towns, ponds... Beauty.

It's an interesting area. Lots of churches and lots of people attending them. Lots of hard-working, smart people. A college education or fancy-schmancy job title doesn't mean that you are smart. Not at all! Taking care of yourself, providing for your family and caring for your friends and neighbors - that's smart. Working with your hands, growing food crops, raising farm animals to provide food for millions - that's smart. Threading a knitting machine, seaming toes on socks, counting the number of tiny stitches in a square inch - that's smart.

That's the kind of people around here. Some have college degrees. Most have high school diplomas. Most of us work hard at whatever we do to make a living. We farm. We make socks. We care for kids. We teach school. We run businesses. We provide for ourselves.

Well, most of us, anyway.

But almost ALL of us drink tea.

Like I said, I've lived in Alabama the Beautiful most of my life. I was born here on an icy January morning. Raised on Sand Mtn until I finished high school. After high school, I had the distinct pleasure and honor to attend and graduate from Auburn University (War Eagle!) While at Auburn, I experienced no significant withdrawals from my sweet tea habit. The same brand of tea bags were in the stores there, as here at home.

After AU, DH and I moved to LA. Now, here in AL, LA means Lower Alabama. But that's not the LA I mean. I moved to Los Angeles. Up to that time, I had thought I might like to live in a big city. Nope. I'm a country girl and glad to be it. But in LA, they don't know what sweet iced tea is. They have lots of kinds of tea. Hot tea. Earl Grey Tea. Green Tea. Mango Iced Tea. Raspberry Tea. But no SWEET TEA!

DH encountered this before me while he worked on Long Island. Now that's a different kind of tea, but I won't get into that one.
While eating at a restaurant in NY, DH asked for sweet tea. The waiter probably noticed DH's thick Southern drawl and said, in his own thick non-American, non-NY, non-Long Island accent, "We have hot tea. You want hot tea?"
DH: "I want sweetened iced tea."
Waiter: "No sweet tea. You want hot tea?"
DH: "Do you have just iced tea and sweeteners?"
Waiter: "No icy tea. No sweet tea. You want hot tea?"
DH: "Do you have ice water?"
Waiter: "You want ice water? No tea?"
DH: "Bring me hot tea. Bring me ice water. Bring me sweetener. Bring me empty glass. I'll show you Sweet Iced Tea."
The waiter returned with the hot tea, ice water, sweetener and empty glass and was amazed with the culinary lesson DH gave him.
While in LA, we survived our sweet tea withdrawals and developed a mean bottled water habit. But when we moved back to Alabama the Beautiful and crossed the Tennessee River. I could almost taste the sweet tea at my mom's house.
For those of you lacking proper knowledge of sweet tea...

Proper Southern Sweet Iced Tea is made only one way...
It's brewed on the stove, sweetened with lots of sugar and topped off with cold water and ice. It does not have fruit in it or juice in it. It can have lemons or lemon juice. But purists, like myself, would never use lemon. Tea, sugar, water. That's all.
With the necessary reduction of caffeine that comes with TTC (see post from 03-20-2006), I switched to decaffeinated tea bags. But still there's only tea, sugar and water in my tea.
Does that answer your sweet tea questions? Did you have any questions?

I suppose I should work now, that would be smart! ;-)

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