Tag Archives: sugar Southern women hospitality

Farewell to Sweet Tea?

tea photo

Somehow, some way . . . I have to find a way to give up sweet tea. You know why. We all do. I’m not going to recite the exhausting litany of sugar’s sins here. Plenty of other bloggers have piled on that subject. What a bore. Sugar is reviled like demons in the Bible, drivers who fail to stop for children in school crosswalks, and pension fund embezzlers. The truth is:  I’m not sure I can give it up. I’ve been off soft drinks for a year, and I don’t drink coffee. There is nothing left but water. Water tastes like nothing. Like licking Formica. A necessity for cleaning the toilet. Watering the lawn. Brushing one’s teeth. A glass of iced tea is how I start my day. It’s the libation of courage. I can face anything after imbibing—throw-up bugs, tax returns, 100-degree days, and flea infestations—if I am supported by those small bags of fragrant leaves, water, and a little sugar. Plus a little more sugar. And a smidge more. Sweet tea, full-gas, with caffeine to help me teach back-to-back writing classes and enough sugar to hold its own with any doughnut—this libation is the drink of my people. My touchstone. My cultural icon. Think of each cube of ice as a worry bead on a rosary. Sweetened iced tea is the consumable extended metaphor for good manners, intimate conversations, regional hospitality, and a sweet, fragrant beacon of hope that reassures me that I still live in a world that values civility in our interactions with one another. Marriages have been saved, children put back on the straight-and-narrow, indeed, wars have likely been averted over glasses of sweet tea with lemon and mint. It’s inexpensive. Easy to make. Timeless. Classless. Non-gender-specific. Humble. All God’s children love sweet tea.  I wrote an entire chapter about sweet tea in one of my books. I don’t just want sweet tea. I need it. I believe this to the depths of my being in a way that my mind can never be changed, the same way I know that wedding cake is the best cake in the world, that there is a merciful God, and a mullet is an unflattering haircut for anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances. Perhaps this is where I must make my stand. I’ll be the sweet tea maven. The woman who would not bow to science, reason, good sense, or cajolery. I’ve been called worse.


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