Tuesday, July 30, 2013

sweet tea

Charles Martin writes some good stories. I have read many of his books and recently discovered one of his early books that I had somehow missed, Wrapped In Rain. Mr. Martin tells a poignant story, weaving together characters, brothers, baseball, home, love, forgiveness, lots of good advice from Ms. Ella, and my favorite part of the whole book….. how to make sweet tea as told by Dixie the waitress at Clark's Fish Camp south of Jacksonville:

“Down here,” she said with a sweet Southern smile, “iced tea is not a drink. It’s not even a refreshment.

“It’s a religion.” She stood up, shrugged her shoulders, and said, “And you either practice or you don’t. Down here, there’s no such thing as ‘unswate tay.’ That’s a myth propagated by people who don’t come from ’round here. You can ask for it, but one of us might give you a funny look before we write you off as nothing but a couple of Yankees. Down here,” she said, pointing again with both index fingers, “tea comes one way. ‘Swate.’” 
Dixie continued, “On average, the best mixture is one-third sugar and two-thirds tea, but like most things, the exact amount varies by locale and who’s doing the sweetening. True sweet tea does not come in a powder or a plastic container with a screw-off cap. It comes in little bags that are boiled in hot water, then steeped for three to four hours in syrupy sugar water.” 
“It’s the steeping that’s the secret,” Dixie continued, “When dark enough, it’s then mixed with more water from the faucet, maybe even a spigot or a hose, but never a bottle. Then it’s poured into a plastic pitcher that doesn’t need labeling and returned to its rightful spot in the refrigerator next to the milk jug.”   – from Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin

You'll just have to read it to get the reaction of those Yankees to Dixie the waitress!

Wrapped in Rain: A Novel of Coming Home

Try it, you'll like it, even if you are a Yankee and don't eat grits or drink sweet tea!


Gypsy Quilter said...

If I can find it on audio, I'll give it a whirl and learn the proper way to make tea.

Kerri said...

I like the sound of that book. Must check to see if our library has it.
Thanks for sharing this excerpt :)