Saturday, April 30, 2011

That's What Easter Means to Tea

I love sweet tea. I drink it almost every day and never grow tired of it. I fantasize about it raining from heaven like liquid manna. I would even bathe in it if that weren't just the silliest waste of it ever. 

(Hmmm ... Maybe if I'm ever a millionaire I'll draw myself a bath of sweet tea. But that's a concern for another day.)

There's a reason why my thoughts are consumed with tea--sweet tea, that is. This is my first week back on the stuff after abstaining from it for Lent. But why would a person voluntarily stop drinking sweet tea, you might ask. Well ... good question. Let me explain. First of all, I'm not Catholic, which means Lent for me does not have a mandatory set of rules regarding red meat on Fridays and free-for-alls on Sundays. (No disrespect intended, Catholics. I think your Fish Fry Fridays are a grand idea and one that Southerners of all faiths can appreciate.)

The way I observe the period of Lent is to make it a time of sacrifice. And as far as sacrifices go, I don't believe letting go of something is really a sacrifice unless it's something you truly love or depend on. Enter sweet tea. 

So, not only did I think sweet tea was an appropriate sacrifice, I also felt it wouldn't hurt my health to go for a while without the constant consumption of a sugary drink. 

This is all making sense, right? No? Well, it did in my head. 

Anyway ... As you know, Easter was last Sunday.  A beautiful holiday for sure, but it also meant that I could drink sweet tea again for the first time in well over a month. Well let me tell you, I've been buzzing on the stuff ever since. Now that I know I can do without it, I should probably learn to cut back and have it on a more limited basis, but not yet ... I'm still in indulgence mode. Let me describe to you what that means. Have you ever seen how a dog behaves after its had a bath? It will run--run like all of its marbles dropped right out of its head, run like it's been freed from the fiery pits of hell. It is a display of frantic joy and insanity, all because the bath is over. Well, I'd say that's pretty close to how I felt when my tea fast ended. In fact, I think I might have jogged a lap or two around the yard after taking that first post-Lent swig of tea. Yippee!

While still heady with tea love, I had another moment of sweet-brewed happiness when I discovered the May issue of Southern Living at the grocery store this week. My Southern heart skipped a beat when I saw that the highlight of the issue was none other than sweet tea! Not only were there recipes for making various kinds of sweet teas and sweet tea punches, there were also food recipes based on the beverage. And believe me, at some point I will be trying the Sweet Tea-Brined Chicken, Sweet Tea Tiramisu, Sweet Tea Vinaigrette and the Mint Julep Sweet Tea.

Not everyone will understand my Passion of the Tea, but I believe some will--mostly Southerners. And if you don't, you can just smile and say "bless your heart." I'll understand.

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