Tea Leaves Tipped out in Front of Tea Box
Tea Leaves Tipped Out in Front
of Tea Box

Joerg Lehmann
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La Belle Cuisine

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“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated
to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

~ Henry James

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Southern Comfort II
Southern Comfort...
M. Caruthers
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Sliced Lemon (Citrus Limon), Eureka Variety
Sliced Lemon...
Wally Eberhart
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Art Print

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Blue Lemon
Blue Lemon
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Stanghon, Emma
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Iced Tea in the Garden
Iced Tea in the Garden
Marie Versailles
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La Belle Cuisine


"It's rough. It's been rough on that food. It's different eating
here than it is at the house. Ain't got no sweet tea, and ain't
got no fried chicken."
—Boo Weekley, PGA golfer from Milton, Fla., interviewed
by the BBC on Day 2 of the British Open, 7/20/2007
Quote courtesy of Jeffrey Klineman & slate.com
"What makes Southern sweet tea so special?"


Sweet Tea
July 1999

Saveur - One Year Subscription 

Makes 1 gallon

“Southerners take ‘sweet tea’—as genuine iced tea is known as in the
South—very seriously. And what about bottled iced tea? A travesty.”

4 quart-size tea bags, preferably black tea
2 cups sugar

1. Bring 2 quarts cold water to a boil in a pot over high heat, then add
tea bags. Immediately remove pot from heat and allow tea to steep for
4 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine 2 quarts cold water with sugar in a 1-gallon jug. Remove tea bags from pot, pour hot tea into jug, and stir well. (Adding
the hot tea to the cold sugared water, rather than the other way around,
helps keep the tea clear and preserves its flavor.) Fill the biggest glasses
you can find with ice and pour tea into them. Refrigerate leftover tea (it
tastes even better the next day).


Perfect Iced Tea
by Patricia Mitchell
Courtesy texascooking.com

"Texans love their iced tea. We are not fanatics about it, mainly because we pretty much take for granted being able to get a good glass of tea, properly served,
365 days a year at most any restaurant. And, yes, like all southerners, we drink
it year round, not just when summer is searing, but when the snow flies, too.
I've been thinking of writing about iced tea for some time, but have been putting
it off for one reason or another. We may all love it, but that does not necessarily mean that we all know how to make it. However, the recent appearance of tele-vision ads for a new iced tea concentrate ("New! Easier!"), that you dump into
a pitcher of water brought me to my feet and onto the virtual soapbox.
I have traveled outside the southern states enough to know that, for lots of people and restaurants, the preparation of iced tea is a puzzle that has yet to be solved. There are some national chain restaurants (Dallas-born Chili's, for instance) where you can usually get a decent glass of iced tea served with a nice lemon wedge. But there remain so many establishments that serve up a small glass containing a liquid that is barely amber in color with a few fast-melting ice cubes and, worst of all, a
thin circle of lemon perched on the rim of the glass. Canada, well, Ontario anyway, has largely thrown up its hands in bewilderment, and serves you a glass of canned, presweetened iced tea. Only they don't tell you that. Then, of course, you unknow- ingly add sugar, and try to squeeze that little lemon circle (impossible task), stir,
and your toes curl up at the first sip.
Well, I don't mean to pick on Canada or any non-southern state. I just want to impress upon our readers, many of whom are north of the Mason-Dixon and west
of El Paso, that making great iced tea is a simple thing. If you can boil water and follow a few instructions, you can do it.
Bear in mind that these instructions are not the result of any exhaustive study performed in corporate test kitchens. Rather, they result from my 30-plus years
of making tea in my own kitchen, practically every day. I'll start by telling you
how to do it, and follow up with a few tips.
To make one and one-half quarts of iced tea, put a quart (that's 4 cups) of fresh,
cold water in a teapot or pan or whatever and bring it to a boil. When the water comes to a boil, pour it over 5 small tea bags in a heatproof container. Don't gently pour; let it really splash down on those tea bags. Set the container aside and allow the tea to steep for at least an hour. (Actually you can let it steep for hours, over- night even, and it's just fine.) Then fish the teabags out. You can squeeze them to
get that last drop of flavor. If you want "sweet tea," add a scant 3/4 cup of sugar
and stir it until dissolved. Then add two more cups of cold water, stir, and chill.
You'll have enough to refresh and satisfy several people.
Now, about the lemon. The purpose of lemon is not just to make the glass look attractive. For most serious iced tea-drinkers, lemon is a necessary ingredient.
So you cut a lemon into eight wedges, and serve a wedge with each glass. See,
Canada or Michigan or Rhode Island, a wedge can be squeezed. A lemon circle
collapses on itself, resulting in pulp up to your elbows.

So, now, here are my tips for perfect iced tea:

  • For iced tea, use only orange pekoe. I've always used Lipton, and keep meaning to try other brands (Luzianne, for instance), but I keep reaching
    for the Lipton red and yellow box.

  • For the absolute best results, use a glass or glazed stoneware pitcher that can handle having boiling water poured into it. Plastic and metal containers may be able to take the heat, but they often impart flavors that interfere with the best tea taste.

  • Tie your teabags together so they'll be easier to remove from the pitcher.

  • Fresh tea is the best tea. Don't try and hold it over in the refrigerator for
    days. Pour it out and make fresh.

  • The amount of sugar called for in my instructions suits my personal taste
    and, come to think of it, the tastes of my family and guests. However, you
    may like your tea more or less sweet and, if so, adjust the sugar accordingly.

  • Make sure your tea is chilled before you serve it. If you add ice cubes to
    warm or even room temperature tea, they'll just melt and dilute the tea.
    And, by all means, use ice cubes rather than chipped or crushed ice to
    keep the melting to a minimum.

  • About family-size tea bags: The big tea bags are three and a half times the
    size of the little ones (7 grams, as opposed to 2 grams). I'll let you do the
    math. I use the regular tea bags because I find that five of them (which
    would be 10 grams) are perfect for one and one-half quarts of tea, which
    is what I usually make every day.

Okay, I've stepped off the soapbox. Now that you know how to make a delicious pitcher of iced tea, why not get out to the kitchen, put the teapot on and count out your teabags?
I'll conclude by apologizing to Canada for any remarks that may have offended. Next time you visit Texas, you can come to my house, have a downright delicious glass of iced tea, and poke fun at my complete ignorance of curling, eh?"


Homemade Lemonade
by Marcelle Bienvenu
The Times Picayune
New Orleans LA, May 8, 2003

Serves 8 to 10

2 cups sugar
1 quart water
1 cup fresh lemon juice (8 to 10 lemons)
Lemon wedges or slices for garnish
Fresh mint sprigs for garnish

Combine the sugar and water in a large pitcher. Stir to dissolve the
sugar. Add the lemon juice and stir to mix. Cover and chill in the
refrigerator until ready to use.

To serve, fill tall glasses with crushed ice and pour the lemonade
over it. Garnish with lemon slices and mint.

*Alternately, you can combine the sugar and water in a saucepan over
medium-low heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Cool, then continue with the recipe.


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