My blog has schizophrenia

Changing gears again.

I’m about to share with you something wondrous.

No, it doesn’t involve nudity, sticks of butter, or whole cloves of garlic, despite the fact that most wondrous things involve at least one of the above.

If you’ve ever spent time in the South, or are from the South, or are fortunate enough to have the acquaintance of a true Southerner, you’ll know instantly what I’m talking about.

And no, by true Southerner, I don’t mean the hate-filled bigots like Trent Lott or Bill Frist that our media presents as icons of the South. Nay, these are not true Southerners and we should repudiate their claims to that identity forcefully and repeatedly. A true Southerner is someone of inimitable grace and hospitality, an easy wit, and unmatched gentility. And chances are, they have their grandma’s recipe for sweet tea.

Southern sweet tea is a thing of beauty. Strongly-brewed tea without a hint of bitterness, brewed in a simple syrup for an extended period, then diluted with cold water and served on ice.

Since I only have 2 liter pitchers around the house, I will give an appropriately-proportioned recipe. If you have a gallon pitcher, just double the sugar and tea bags in the same amount of boiling water, and use the appropriate amount of water to dilute the mother liquor to strength.

Southern Sweet Tea, recipe based on various internet sources and my own recollections.

4-5 tea bags (use strong, cheap tea, like Lipton’s or Luzianne)
.5 C white sugar
pinch of baking soda

To a small, lidded saucepan, add the sugar and enough water to come 2/3 of the way up the side of the pan. Bring to a rolling but not vigorous boil. Kill the heat, then toss in the baking soda and the tea bags. The tea and baking soda will provide nucleation sites for boiling, so expect a vigorous reaction, especially if you’re not quick about killing the heat. Quickly and tightly cover the saucepan, and allow to steep at least an hour. Preferably, if you want sweet tea for the afternoon or for dinner, start the tea a-seeping at breakfast. After seeping, pour the mother liquor (your steeped tea syrup, minus the bags) into a 2 liter (~2 quart) pitcher and fill the remaining space in the pitcher with cold water. Serve over ice, preferably within three days. It will keep up to a week, but the taste goes south (heh heh) after about three days. Not that it’ll last that long.

Best enjoyed on a porch or in the backyard, wearing a straw-brimmed hat and seersucker suit (red tie, of course).

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