I had a new experience today. Okay, so not a totally new experience, but one I’ve only had once in my life prior, and that was about ten years ago. I drove my husband’s F-150. Now, I drive a fairly small car, and while I learned to drive on my mom’s Dodge Caravan back in the early nineties, all of my vehicles have been cars. Also, somehow the fact that the truck is a manual freaked me out even more, even though the cars I’ve driven for the last 12 years have been manuals as well. For some reason that big hulking truck freaked me out (okay, I’m exaggerating. It’s not like it’s on a lift or anything, but compared to my little Volvo it seems gigantic). Add to that the fact that our driveway is a fairly steep incline and that the roads were wet today and you had one freaked out short lady maneuvering a truck through the streets of our small town, but I didn’t have a choice so I rolled with it (quite literally). And I survived. And even parked the truck successfully in the garage. But you guys should pray for me, because my car is in the shop and you don’t even want to know how much Volvo repairs cost. But that’s beside the point.
One thing about driving that truck in small town Tennessee that made me laugh is that it’s not too unusual around here to see girls driving trucks and honestly it’s kind of surprising that it’s only my second time. I hate Southern stereotypes, but you guys, there are a lot of people with trucks in these parts. Another thing you see a lot of? Front porches. Honestly, one of the things that I don’t like about my house is no front porch. It’s more of a stoop….not something on which you can sit. I kind of miss the front porch evenings at my parents’ house, sitting in the wooden rocking chairs and waving at the people that drive by…some of whom you know, others you’ve never seen in your life. Everyone waves just the same, no matter. I know front porches and front porch sitting aren’t exclusive to the South….but that feeling of community is not something that you find everywhere. I love my hometown.
Another thing I love about the South? Sweet tea. Don’t even try to make fun of me for saying “sweet tea”, because try it. Sweet tea rolls off the tongue in a way that “sweetened tea” does not. I used to drink it every day and remember trips to other parts of the country during which I could not get to Cracker Barrel fast enough because it was the only place I could find sweet tea. There is nothing more irritating to a Southerner than to be told that a restaurant does not serve sweet tea but “there’s sugar on the table”. Really? The sugar must be dissolved…and don’t even think about offering me artificial sweetener.
So….honey-lemon-ginger sweet tea definitely isn’t traditional sweet tea. I’ll post that later, but I had some ginger hanging around (on the verge of shriveling up) so I made this first. Sweetened with honey and steeped with ginger and lemon, it isn’t as sharp as plain old sweet tea but it’s miles ahead of any lemon-flavored bottled tea you can get at the grocery store. You should make some, pour a glass, and drink it on your front porch (if you’re lucky enough to have one). Or perhaps while you are driving your truck down the road.
Honey-Ginger-Lemon Sweet Tea
makes ½ gallon of tea
prep time 45 minutes (includes inactive prep)
cook time 10 minutes
- 8 cups water
- 2-3 family-size tea bags (for traditional Southern tea, these must be Lipton or Luzianne)
- ½ cup honey
- 1 “hand” ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 lemon, washed and thinly sliced
1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, place the honey, ginger, and lemon into a ½ gallon container (I used a half-gallon Mason jar).
2. Pour the boiling water over the mixture in the container and stir to dissolve the honey. Add the tea bags to the mixture and let them steep for about five minutes. Press the bags and discard. Leave the ginger and lemon to steep for another 30-60 minutes, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.
3. Strain the mixture and pour the strained tea into the container in which you want to store it. Pour in the remaining 4 cups of water. For best results, chill completely (several hours) before serving.
4. Serve over ice with lemon wedges for squeezing.