Hot or cold, brewed beverages suit to a ‘tea’
By Linda Albert | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My Southern woman card is about to be revoked. I am finding that I actually enjoy hot tea. Green tea, at that. With no sugar.
I am so ashamed ...
Oh, yes, that big ol’ glass of sweet iced tea still has its timeless appeal. It certainly hits the spot on a hot summer day, sitting in the shade of a massive maple and waiting for a breath of summer’s air to cool the sweat on your brow — excuse me, perspiration, since genteel Southern women do not sweat.
I’ve never been able to make good sweet tea, anyway. Perhaps I don’t put enough sugar in it to make it the way God intended, or perhaps it’s like my attempts at making corn bread — it’s passable, and I’ve definitely had worse. It’s still not what Mama used to make, though, and now that Three Rivers Corn Meal has gone the way of the dodo bird, there’s no chance I’ll perfect my rasher of corn bread to come close to Mama’s. Of course, if I hadn’t done it in the 20-something years of my adulthood that Three Rivers was available, it probably wasn’t going to happen. Not even using my Mamaw Braden’s ancient iron skillet made a difference.
Back to tea — I actually was introduced to hot tea nearly 30 years ago. We were preparing to move from Oswego, N.Y., back to Blount County, and our sweet neighbors, an elderly couple named Joe and Kay, insisted on having us for lunch to give us a break in midst of moving-day madness. Kay asked what we’d like to drink and gave the options, including tea. I requested the tea, thinking it would be a glass of iced tea. Yes, I know. It’s a whole different world ... We had only been “Up Yonder” a few months and I was unaccustomed to hot tea, so was I surprised to find a cup with a tea bag at my place at her table. I watched what she did from the corner of my eye and did the same thing so as not to appear like a complete moron.
Honestly, I was not a fan. I did manage to drink it without embarrassing myself in front of our host and hostess. That was quite a feat.
Through the intervening years, I tried to drink hot tea occasionally. Most of it tasted like I’d pulled some weeds in the field and poured hot water on them. Then a few years ago, I attended several tea parties in the course of my job and was introduced to some quite delicious brews. My palate had become a bit more sophisticated, I suppose, because I truly enjoyed the teas. When I received a box of assorted teas as a gift from a dear friend and actually looked forward to sitting down with a cup, I knew I was hooked.
Now, I am not giving up my sweet tea completely. It’s written into my Dixieland DNA, a special treat to look forward to having only occasionally. Hot tea, on the other hand, is quite acceptable and quite healthy, I understand. I’ve tried a number of different types of tea but have settled on green tea, both the plain version and several different flavors with such exotic names as mango-peach, blueberry-acai, mixed berry, blackberry-pomegranate, red goji-raspberry and orange-passion fruit. I don’t use any sugar. Being a sugarholic, I gave up the sweet stuff in my coffee about three years ago and figured I wouldn’t start again with the hot tea.
Who knows. Maybe one of these days I’ll give up sweet iced tea entirely ...
Don’t hold your breath.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Her column runs every Sunday in the Life section. You may contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)