Monday, June 29, 2009

Southern Staples-Authentic Sweet Tea

Here in the south there are some things that just define the culture. Some of those being the humidity (take note, southern women don't sweat, we "glisten"), the dialect (hun-neh and pah-dun, included), and especially important, the food. And be quite certain there "ain't" no one that can serve it up like someone's momma or grandmomma.
Those of you that were not lucky enough to be born in the south can cook like one, with the proper instructions, mind you. Today we are going to examine some of those essential and defining southern dishes. Pretty soon, you will be serving up a slice of cornbread and sweet tea like a southern belle. Ok, almost....we still need to work on that drawl. In the meantime....the dishes. Every Tuesday on my recipe blog, Plates and Places, I will introduce you to the fine art of southern cuisine.

Today, a recipe that really is an art. Sweet tea.

Served at nearly every meal, the beverage is more than a summertime treat for we Southerners; it's a revered year-round staple. Dolly Pardon proclaimed in her role as Truvy in the movie based on the play, Steel Magnolia's, it is the "house wine of the south". That it is.
No proper southern home is without a pitcher in the ice box. One needs a tall cold glass of sweet tea to keep well hydrated when the humidity and heat crawls above the thermostat register that reads "hotter than blue blazes". Umm, hmm, that's hot! The heat begins sometime in March and last into December. So you see, we drink alot of tea.

Leigh's Recipe for Southern Sweet Tea

3 pitcher/family sized bags of cold brew tea. I prefer the Luzianne brand
about 2 gallons of water
2 C sugar (you want it sweet, right)
2 lemons or limes, sliced
fresh mint sprig (optional)

Bring water to a boil in a large pasta pot. Put in tea bags and reduce heat to simmer for 7 minutes. Pour into pitcher and immediately add sugar (or sugah if you are from the south). Sugar MUST be added when the water is hot. Do not try and add sugar to cold water. It will not work. It simply will not. The sugar must melt into the hot water and infuse with the tea for proper sweet tea. Do not even try to sell it if the sugar is added to cold water. You will only embarrass yourself.
Pour yourself a glass. Serve with fresh lemon or lime slice and fresh mint, if desired.
Now take your tea glass onto the porch, have a seat on the porch swing and watch what the neighbors are doing.

Be sweet, Ya'll!


Bama Belle said...


Kay Dew Shostak said...

Hey, new to your blogs heard about them from Pam Arther.
I'm Southern and when we lived in the Chicago area we, of course, had ice tea year-round. One little girl told her mom we must be rich. When her mom asked why, she replied, "Because they have ice tea in the winter."

Beansieleigh said...

LOVE this post!! I am not a southerner, but often wish I was! Winters are long and harsh here, and I was just not made for this kind of environment and all the brutal winter elements! Can't wait to try this recipe!.. And I WILL be taking it to my front porch! ~tina