*the following post is FILLED to the brim with me digressing*
Back when I was a new, and dewy skinned new bride. (*cough* I was 20, at one time) We were trekking from my little hometown on the great plains of Nebraska to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Desert Storm had just ended, and my newly acquired Husband and I were headed across this great land in my Pontiac Sunbird, with everything I OWNED fitting in one car. (Can you imagine all of my life fitting in to one car? A little car? There are days I long for that simplicity.)
Anywho, I had not traveled "south" since a trip to Walt Disney World at the age of eight. I grew up in a VERY working class family so the trip to Florida was a terrible one, consisting of eating sandwiches out of a cooler, and stopping only ocassionally to use the restroom. We drove straight to Florida. The entire 27-29 hour trip straight through, with only one 30 minute accidental diversion. In which my Father got lost in Saint Louis at 2:30am, and made a call to my Uncle to ask for directions. After my Father was told that we were in the worst part of Saint Louis, my Father ran to the car sweating profusely. That is all I really remember about my first trip "south". Well that and Its a Small World, and Space Mountain.
So, back to the main point of this story AGAIN. DH and I were traveling "south" to Fort Bragg, in my white Pontiac Sunbird, 18 inch screen t.v., and dorm microwave in tow, barely able to see through the back window. (Despite DH's best efforts to repack me in a more efficient Army way, and not succeding.)
We pull into a KFC, in Kentucky (I believe) to get iced tea. I was thirsty and soooo hawt. I get my tea, and start drinking it at a rate you see a child. Gulping and breathing, and gulping. when all of a sudden I am stricken with one of the foulest things I believe I have ever tasted......
*insert dramatic music here*
I had never tasted sweet tea in my life. NEVER. The most exotic form of tea I had tasted at that time was probably sun tea brewed in a jar from someones back patio. No sugar EVER. Tea, always served iced, no sugar. Coffee always served black, no cream and no sugar.
I spit, and made horrid faces, and insisted to my DH, that I had the wrong beverage. This was some sort of "pop" with no carbonation. "This was not the tea I had asked for, these folks got my order wrong!"
For the next year, I learned to expect sweet tea.
And when we moved back North, you know what I missed? Sweet tea. I missed it like a junkie, and quickly had to learn the very Southern art of making sweet tea correctly.
You Southern folks are tricky, you can't just dump sugar into tea and expect REAL sweet tea, it will not happen.
The trick to REAL sweet tea?
Simple syrup (sugar and water boiled on top of the stove until the sugar is dissolved), and then added to freshly brewed tea. Code cracked.
Now that we are back "south", I make unsweetened tea most of the time here in the house. (As 16 years of marriage, babies, and gravity have made me softer). But there are DAYS I long for a delicious glass of sweet tea. And every time, I make it I recall being 20 and driving to Fort Bragg, the look of absolute horror on DH's face as I spit all over the glove compartment and dashboard.