Sunday, May 17, 2009

Southern Sweet Tea

If you've ever been to the South, even the Mid South, like Nashville, you'll encounter a beverage in all restaurants which is called Sweet Tea. The Non Southerner usually imagines a glass of tea with a couple of spoonfuls of sugar stirred in ahead of time, maybe a touch of honey. How nice...nicely sweet...pre-sweetened, one might think. Not so. Imagine, instead, a nice tall glass of your typical restaurant iced tea but with about a cup of sugar in it. Yeah, that sweet. It's so sweet that it's like drinking syrup. The flavor of tea is lost to the flavor of sugar, sugar and more sugar.

Stranger still is the fact that this is only for TEA. You don't find people making Kool Aid with an inordinate amount of sugar, or there along side the Regular and Decaf find the "Suthun Sweet Coffee". Just Tea.

When you order in any restaurant, even the chain places like McDonald's and Burger King, you MUST specify Non-Sweet tea, or you will get sweet. I don't know why, in the south, Saying "I'd like some tea.." also means "with an inordinate amount of sugar even though I didn't ask for it", but that's the south. No one I can find knows where this custom started, and no one really cares. You don't try to understand it, you simply adjust.

Now, however, whenever I am home visiting in Colorado, I get the strangest stares when I order UN-Sweet tea. They must wonder what asylum I just broke out of.

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