Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sweet Tea: A Love Story

I'm just going to come right on out and say it:

I was not born in the South.

Despite the fact I've lived in the South for nearly 10 years, I'm a transplant. A visitor. A Yankee. And, I'll be the first one to admit, when I moved down here there were some things I just didn't get.

Boiled peanuts.

Southern slang.

The slower pace of life.

Sweet tea.

Up north, we drink our iced tea unsweet. It's socially acceptable to stir in an occassional sugar packet. But, we generally stop at one.

They don't do that in these here parts.

For the first few years down here, I continued to drink my tea sans the sugar. Then I got pregnant with my daughter and was hit with a horrific case of morning sickness. I'd drag myself to work each morning and spend the first half of it sprawled across my desk praying for mercy. I tried lemon drops. I tried ginger. I tried eating something. I tried eating nothing. The results were always the same: I felt like I was going to die.

One morning a co-worker, who also happened to be an Atlanta native, shared that when she battled morning sickness, she found a nice tall glass of sweet tea always did the trick. After all, in the immortal words of Truvy in Steel Magnolias, sweet tea is "the table wine of the South."

Seeing as how real alcohol was off limits, I peeled myself off the desk and stumbled into the cafeteria. I was desperate. I poured myself a glass.

Amazingly, it worked.

And so began my love affair with sweet tea.

Now before you attack me in the comments -- yes, I drank caffeine while pregnant. I didn't go crazy, but with my first child it was either drink caffeine and join the Land of the Living or skip it and feel like ick. (As a side note, with subsequent pregnancies, I also drank sweet tea/caffeine. Because, I needed to be awake at three o'clock in the afternoon. It was a child safety issue.)

One morning, I recall asking the cafeteria lady if she would mind making the sweet tea a little earlier than usual, as I was feeling particularly green. I laid sat down at a nearby table and watched as she happily set to brewing the tea. Then she rolled out a cart with the biggest tub of sugar I have ever seen and dumped it all in. There were pounds of it, I tell you.

No wonder I liked it so much.

Now that I'm an official convert, I happily preach the "There is nothing that a big ol' glass of sweet tea can't fix" gospel to anyone who will listen.

Feeling nauseated?


Kids wore you out?

Come on in. Pull up a chair and let me get you a nice big glass of sweet tea. You'll be feeling better before you know it.

After all, it isn't called the Table Wine of the South for nothing.

(If you're interested in reading what other people are thankful for, head on over and check out Fussy's new Thursday feature!)


Soliloquy said...

GIRL!!! I have to know WHERE in the south you are?

Oh lawdy..... are you near.... Atlanta?

Domestic Spaz said...

My family is southern, y'all. My mom's side anyhow. She was raised on sweet tea and fried chicken after church on Sunday. I still can't stand sweet tea though. It makes my face contort in odd ways. Traveling through Georgia and the Carolinas is a rough place to get a glass of unsweet tea, too.

"We onleh have swaight tea, darlin." I am told over and over by perky southern waitresses. My kids, on the other hand, thing it's the nectar of the gods.

Melody said...

Are there really people who would attack you for drinking caffeine during pregnancy?? Oh lordy, I have a 6 Dr. Pepper a day habit that cannot be stopped. They would just LOVE me!!

I love sweet tea with SUGAR. My former MIL made a 2 gallon jug everyday and then added 20, YES 20 saccharine tablets. I still shudder when I think of it...

Sweet tea is good for what ails ya, though...

Darla @ UltraBeautyBoutique said...

Whatever works! LOL!

I've never had sweet tea.

mah-meeee said...

ok... i'm from cali and still in cali. never had sweet tea before... although i saw on tv that mcdonalds are selling sweet tea now.

are their sweet tea worth a try? or is it just a bad iced tea pretending to be the sweet tea from the south?

Kellie said...

Beautiful story.

I also learned the hard way while living in the south. I never quite got to the point where I liked the sweet tea on a daily basis, but it was certainly tasty, especially when it was made by a true southern born gal!

Abbreviated said...

We have 2 teas in our home...sweet & sorta sweet.

Darcie said...

I became a sweet tea convert when I lived in Georgia for a couple of years. Now our guests are always encouraged to give it a try and they usually fall head over heels for it. I'm spreading the love even out here in the Wild West!

Rachel said...

I love it!!!
Sweet Tea is fabulous!!! I drink it occasionally, hubs loves his Sweet Tea.
I love that you quoted Truvy. Fabulous dahlin'.
I make Sweet Tea about twice a week.
I have a recipe for a 'sweet' but not Tea... we call it Granny Tea. It's Tea, OJ, and lemonade. It's awesome. I can share, if you like. It's the most amazing Texas treat.

Heather said...

I'm a Yankee transplant too, and I still don't get boiled peanuts - YUCK! My Hubby loves 'em!

Sweet tea, mmmmm. Although I make mine decaf, but with lots o'sugar!

Glad I stopped by!

pinkmommy said...

Oh how I am longing for a big glass of sweet tea right now. Can't wait till I can have sugar again! I think I will add that to my birth plan...must have huge glass of sweet tea immediately after birth.

Bitsy said...

I grew up drinking sweet tea, as did my Hubby (his mom is from SC). I still make it these days at home, but I have modified it a bit. It's semi-sweet. Over the years I've gradually adjusted the sugar until it's much less than typical sweet tea, but still sweet. Also, I use decaf tea bags to make it if I want a decaf version.

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

I grew up in the Midwest, but nontheless I LOVE sweet tea. Yum....I could go for a tall glass right now.

Lisa said...

Aahhh sweet tea. I am in the South but sadly Texas is more into the unsweetened variety :(
(sweet tea helped my morning sickness too!)

Tracey Y said...

Sweet tea is my life force! I think at this point it has replaced the blood in my veins! I am originally from Texas, though now transplanted much further north. We always had tea with our sugar!!
By the way, a fully loaded baked potaoe is only "fully loaded" with butter, sour cream, cheese, chives and bacon bits!!! Something else really not found in the north!!