Guess what people, it's a recipe-ish. I never claimed to really know what I'm talking about here.
Ever since I graduated from Purdue and moved to Durham, NC, I've loved sweet tea. I discovered it there and it is delicious. Very, very delicious.
I'm from Indiana and there isn't a lot of sweet tea going on there. Until Starbucks there really wasn't a lot of iced tea going on there. Or maybe there was and I just didn't know. It's totally possibly something like that slipped by me, but for the sake of this post we're going to say people in Indiana just aren't that in to iced tea.
Living in Texas, tea is a hit here. I see people serve tea to their kids all the time. This weirds me out, because I am such a much better mother than those people because I don't do that, but I guess it's normal here so I won't judge. Other than when I just did.
It's also stupid hot here and people probably just get tired of drinking water all the time and have had to force themselves to find something else that was fun to drink and could keep them awake when it's 200 degrees outside for six months of the year and the only thing you can do is nod off on your front porch in a pool of sweat.
Have I told you about how much I despise the heat here? My emotions about the sweaty months here can not be contained within this post. I'm going to need to dedicate a whole entry to this. It sucks. I don't get why people keep moving here.
Anyway, with the arrival of summer, I have been craving sweet tea and my friend Jenn was kind enough to teach me how to make it the other day so I can quit buying it. Actually, I was kind enough to give her my shelving unit and made her promise to teach me how to make sweet tea in exchange for the free furniture. Is that not the sweetest deal you have ever heard?
Yes, I am a really good friend.
No, I don't have any other furniture to give away, regardless of what you can teach me. (That's not true, deals could be made.)
So I was at Chick-fil-A the other day like all the Moms of the world because for some reason it feels like a step up in the fast food world, when really it probably is just the same old crap with a cleaner playscape than everywhere else, when the woman in front of me ordered sweet tea. She was one of those Moms of young children that I, as a peer Mom, immediately developed a bit of a crush on her.
She was cute, but not overdone. She had a fun southern accent that made me think everything she had to say would just be strong and witty or reminiscent of lines from Steel Magnolias...before Julia Roberts got all sick and things were just so damned sad.
She had three kids also so I felt we could relate to one another without some sort of who-has-it-harder competition. (me) None of her kids were over the top put together, like she wasn't worried about everyone looking fantastic so she could look fantastic or anything stupid like that. She didn't look overwhelmed, but she didn't have a fake look of constant joy when her three kids started fighting over who got to stand next to the sign, which is ridiculous and should be treated as such.
I just wanted to sit and have some sweet tea with her.
But....Stella wasn't happy and Cole had already started to pee his pants so I just ordered and got the hell out of there before my family completely fell apart in front of this woman and she didn't want to say anything to me, much less all her fun Southern expressions about dead animals or moonshine. I bet she had good things to say.
So I wrote her a little recipe-ish.
Dear Girl that Ordered Sweet Tea,
I saw you at Chick-fil-A a few days ago and you seemed like someone that I would adore having as a friend. No, I'm not desperate or pathetic or gay, just thought you'd like to have me teach you how to make sweet tea. What? That sounds weird?
Southern people are supposed to be hospitable and friendly, and I don't know how to track you down anyway, so fear not....but let's pretend you basically fell in love with me too and this sounds fantastic. FYI, I'm basically going to assume a lot about you, including a lot of southern stereotypes, except that you magically don't know how to make sweet tea and can only order it at fast food restaurants until I came along and made your life worth living.
You are welcome.
Here's what you need:
4 black tea bags or 2 family size black tea bags
1/2 cup - 1 cup white sugar (depending on what kind of a sugar crackhead you are)
Big ol' spoon, like some mom would threaten to spank her children with down here in the heat lands
First ,get a saucepan, like 2 quart. I think. Ok, I really don't know. I'm abnormally horrible at measurements.
I can't stand when people describe things in terms of yards or feet to me...I don't know what you are saying. I don't have a clue how big a football field is and I don't think of things in terms of square anything. Do people talk to you in terms of gun lengths or those weird, huge flowers I keep hearing about that all the high school girls wear here....mums I think?
Just tell me it was really far, super close, big or small, I'll figure it out. I'm smart.
I got the highest grade in my college algebra class....that's a 98%. Algebra, yes. Geometry, no.
Do you like me more because I could algebra the hell out of something? I have no idea how that would work, but it seems like a skill I should be marketing more during the formation of new friendships.
Fine, the pan looks like this.
So get the pan and fill it half way with water. Put it on the stove to boil.
Warning!! Do not watch the pot! A watched pot never boils.
That's a lie, it will totally boil if you watch it, you will just be really bored and you probably could be doing something much more worthwhile like organizing your smelling salts drawer or surfing the internet or gardening, because I totally see you with a huge garden and a big hat to go with it.
When it starts to boil put 4 regular black tea bags, or 2 family size tea bags in to the pan and take it off the heat. Let it seep for 10 minutes.
Now, you have to find something else to do for 10 minutes. Here are my suggestions:
1. Google Justin Timberlake and watch old videos of him singing Bye Bye Bye because he is superb.
2. Organize your junk drawer. I can't be sure you have one, but if you don't then I am afraid of you and we might have to rethink our ficitous friendship.
3. Think of your 5 top favorite Southern expressions and needlepoint them on something.
I feel like our friendship is growing.
Ok, now take the teabags out and throw them in the trash. You could put them somewhere else, but trash seems to make the most sense. Possibly you reuse things like this, which I find disturbing but I'm willing to press forward if this is the only quirk you have.
Now my friend Jenn says to add one cup of white sugar. She's crazy!
(Sidenote: Do not ever admit to Dr. Oz or Oprah that you use white sugar like this, it's apparently really bad for you. However, if you are talking to Dr. Oz or Oprah, that's pretty cool and you can say whatever you please to them.)
I only let her add 3/4 a cup to my tea because I am super health concious, clearly. In fact, I usually just drink Crystal Light lemonade, zero calories and only probably causes several forms of cancer due to the fake sweetner if I drink enough of it. It sure is refreshing though.
Stir the sugar into the hot tea. When it dissolves, fill the pan to the top with cold water and then dump it into a tea pitcher. Did I forget to tell you to get a pitcher for the tea? I'm going to have to assume that you aren't just cute and you were already thinking about that. Pour it in Scarlett.
Did I forget to tell you I named you Scarlett? Love me some Gone With the Wind. Have you thought about fashioning your curtains into a fantastic dress yet? Please say yes!
Refill the pan with cold water and dump that in.
Cool it in the refrigerator until it's cold. Yep, that's it.
Since I probably won't ever get to actually see you again, I hope you enjoyed my recipe-ish. I am probably saving you thousands of dollars in sweet tea purchases. See what a good friend I would be?
It's important for me to point out that I have been drinking way too much of this stuff the last few days and I am sure I will soon develop sleeping problems like Alex or gain an extra 100 pounds. But it sure does taste good when you're hot...and that happens a lot around here.