I’ve traveled enough in the South to know it’s a different culture where my favorite beverage, tea, is concerned.
When I went to Georgia to meet my husband’s relatives for the first time, his Uncle had a good laugh when I made a face at the sweetened iced tea the waitress brought. He explained that in the South if you asked for tea that’s how it came. “It’s all we drink,” he said.
Sure enough he was right. In the Southern food pyramid, sweet tea is right at the top, with barbecue, collards and banana pudding underneath, so on future trips I knew enough to accept the status quo, but specify “unsweetened” when ordering iced tea, even if doing so got a strange look.
What I did not expect when I vacationed in the South Carolina Low Country was that green tea, my breakfast and late afternoon beverage of choice, would not be available. I made do, even though I would have enjoyed my grits and eggs and sweet potato pancakes a lot more if they came with a hot cup of Jasmine Pearl or Japanese Sencha or even Tao Zen.