I’m not Southern. My dad is from Texas and my mom’s from West Virginia, but I was born in Northern California and grew up in Arizona — which is technically in the southern half of the U.S. but is not REALLY the South.
The first time I remember hearing someone use the word “Yankee” when not referring to baseball or a Mark Twain novel was during sorority rush at the University of Georgia. Some perfectly coiffed girl looked at the “MD” on my name tag and informed me I was a Yankee. I don’t remember how I responded — I may have mumbled something about Maryland being south of the Mason-Dixon line. But I realized she was right on a few days later, when I was sitting in the baseball stadium on Pledge Night, surrounded by more than 1,000 other girls who knew all the words to a song I had never heard before in my life: Dixieland Delight.
That was in 1998. Since then, I’ve graduated from UGA, lived in South and North Carolina, worn sundresses to football games, married a boy from Kentucky, learned most of the words to Dixieland Delight and started saying “y’all.” I don’t call a shopping cart a buggy, but I do sometimes say “fixin’ to” in my head (never out loud). And I love sweet tea.
Luckily for me, Southern Living has a recipe for those of us who don’t have (or don’t know of) a family recipe. And it’s really easy. You don’t even need to use a teapot — I just figured it would be easier to pour (and not scald myself with) the boiling water.
One thing: If you’ve never had sweet tea, you may not be prepared for how sweet this is. Think liquid sugar. Cold, caffeinated liquid sugar. You’re welcome.
Sweet tea (From Southern Living) Makes 10 cups
3 cups water
2 family-size tea bags
3/4 cup sugar
7 cups cold water
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or teapot. Add the tea bags, boil another minute and remove from heat. Cover and allow to steep 10 minutes.
Remove tea bags and add the sugar, stirring until it’s all dissolved. Pour into a 1-gallon container and add 7 cups of cold water. Serve over ice.