Family folk recipe

This recipe also came from my informant’s Southern mother, who learned how to make traditional Southern ice tea from two different people: first, her mother, who had lived in Savannah, GA her entire life; and second, from their African-American housekeeper Maddie Lee. My informant doesn’t remember when she learned how to make the ice tea, but knows that ever since she was little she’d been drinking it with her family.

“Place about a cup of sugar in a pitcher. Heat water to boiling on the stove, then pour over sugar and add tea bags–preferably Luzianne–to steep. After cooling, serve over ice, but only during spring and summer. When school starts, everyone has to drink milk. Nowadays they do a good job of making traditional ice tea at places like Chick-fil-A and McDonald’s, but there’s nothing like the real homemade stuff.”

The simplicity of this recipe is probably a direct reason as to why it is so blatantly popular in the South. Basically every restaurant and household in the Southern states has a constant supply of sweet tea in the fridge. My informant grew up on ice tea (note: ice tea, not iced tea) and still makes it to this day. In addition, she holds one type of tea (Luzianne) above any other; this is the kind of tea she grew up on, and she still has boxes airmailed from Savannah to her home in Northern California. Ice tea is not just a drink in the South, it’s a meal staple for the spring and summer (the warmer months).