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Summertime and the Living is . . .Sweet Tea

Updated on August 13, 2018
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.


Y'all think I'm kidding?

Want to know how to make authentic sweet tea for those humid, hot summer days we have about ninety left to look forward to before the first cool winds of Fall start blowing?

First thing: take off your shoes. You might as well. Drinking sweet tea makes them fall off anyway. It also makes you start tawking fahoney. You think I'm kidding? You'll see.

Second thing: forget about dieting. Sweet tea will do more damage to your garden variety diet than any other one thing I know. It's no doubt the two to one ratio between sugar and tea in this drink. It also probably has to do with the fact that the more you drink sweet tea, the more you sweat, resulting in more sweet tea being drunk. It will satisfy your thirst - there is no denying that. But it will also disproportionately increase your thirst. Vicious cycle.

Third thing: If you go to a restaurant that doesn't serve sweet tea, and they tell you they have provided sugar on the table - run - do not walk - to the nearest exit. (Especially if they announce it with a dash of disdain in their voice.) God knows what they put in their food if they don't know enough about cooking to know that sugar does not dissolve in cold liquid. I wouldn't trust them not to poison me with under cooked fish or vegetables they think don't need to be washed before they are eaten. It's a simple principle of physics. A professional cook should know these things. At the very least, ask them to bring you a cup of hot water, a tea bag and a glass of ice - then make your own - at the table - right in front of them. Maybe they'll learn something.

4. Never pour just made tea over ice. The world has limited resources, and this practice is an absolute waste of them. Put the pitcher in the fridge for at least thirty minutes. That's how long it takes to make tuna salad or deviled eggs anyway. Might as well be letting the tea cool while you do it. Then all that limited amount of ice on the planet won't go to waste. If a waiter or waitress brings you a half warm glass of tea with almost melted ice in it, politely ask for an additional glass of ice. By the time she/he gets back with it, the tea will be cool enough to pour over it. It'll be diluted but it will still be sweet, wet and cold - a darned sight better than plain water.

5. Finally, if someone sets a glass of sweet tea in front of you and it tastes bitter - it's instant. Order a Coke instead. If it tastes sour, it's set around too long and has gone bad. Ask how long until a fresh pitcher will be ready, but say "please." You're more than likely in the South where manners are a way of life.

Are there more important issues in life? Sure. World peace. Hunger. Homelessness. Disease. But it's summertime in the South. There's just not a whole lot that matters more than making sweet tea. Maybe owning a fly swatter is a close second. I'll have to think on it a while.


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