There’s been an awful lot of talk about Sweet Tea and other Southern things over on Twitter and the occasional episode of Catholic Weekend. When sampling Sweet Tea turned into a cultural event at a conference I attended at the gorgeous Callaway Gardens, I had to laugh.
Sweet Tea is an iconic southern tradition. It is thick and sweet, and when icy cold, a delicious complement to BBQ. That’s about where I draw the line. If given a choice, I usually reach for the regular iced tea, often referred to as unsweet, but there’s a whole dissertation waiting to be written about how tea can be sweetened, but it cannot be made unsweet. Promises promises. I’ll see that blog post. Never.
My point is, and I do have one, is that there are all kinds of funny southern quirks that generally leave my yankee friends confused, if not down-right appalled. Our gracious host at the conference, a brassy dame from Long Island who cleaned up nicely and was representing the Boston offices, had a sip of the sweet tea, gagged and choked, and shared a rather classy expletive with us. I think that’s the general reaction.
Today, while cruising through twitter while distractedly waiting for a teleconference meeting to start, I ran across a nostalgic tweet about drinking Coke from a glass bottle. Oh! The rush of memories that washed over me! I used to save nickels and dimes and go to the laundromat that was in our neighborhood to buy 8 oz. bottles of Coke (please, pronounced Co-Cola) and a packet of Lance’s salted peanuts from the vending machines. It was 15 cents for the drink, and 10 cents for the peanuts.
I’d sit on the plastic chairs that ran along the length of the landromat, and carefully pour the peanuts into the glass bottle. It would fizz a little, but that never stopped me from drinking that cold Coke and trying to get peanuts in my mouth all at the same time.
It was heaven.
My tastes run a little bit more refined these days. I generally pass on the tea, whether sweet or unsweet, and reach for the pinot noir. But I haven’t forgotten the heady smell of salt and sweet, and how it tickled my noise just so.
I wonder…do y’all know if they still make moonpies?