Maybe you’ve been having tea in the afternoon in the British style or you’ve even gone Indian. Or maybe you stick with that teabag dunked in a mug of hot water. Then you notice a change coming. The signs are there — you just have to be able to recognize them. Believe it or not, you could be “going Southern” at tea time.
1 Vocabulary Morphage
While the British have a “cuppa” or even a “spot of tea,” Southerners will be talking about the fixins for the tea. And beware how they say “Bless your heart!” It can be anything from “Aren’t you nice” to “You loathsome creature.” If one of your guests says about your tea time “Well, bless your heart,” it could be a compliment or a derision. Sometimes it’s really tricky to tell. There are more “Southernisms” that could start morphing your vocabulary, especially at that Southern tea time.
2 Tea Preference Changes
The South in the U.S. tends to prefer tea served iced. And sweetened. Very. If you find yourself switching from your hot tea to this “sweet tea” (as Southerners call it), you are truly “going Southern” at tea time. Usually, the tea used is Orange Pekoe black tea.
3 Preparation Alteration
This is sort of covered in #2, where you change from drinking your tea hot to drinking it iced, even during all but the most frigid temperatures. There are two basic methods: 1) steeping strong tea (that is, very strong as in three times as strong as normal) and pour over ice, and 2) steeping normal strength and putting in the refrigerator overnight. Either way, lots of sugar is a key ingredient. Here are several recipes. And don’t even think of using an instant.
4 Southern Recipes Dominate
You seek out recipes online like this one to prepare for your tea time guests: Best Pumpkin Biscuits (3/4 cup of pumpkin makes them very seasonal – click on the image for the full recipe).
5 Tea Time Attire Adjustments
You don’t have to go all GWTW here, with a Scarlett O’Hara gown made from the drawing room curtains and a Rhett Butler suit complete with fancy vest and hat and that pencil thin moustache. But Southerners do put a bit of dress up in their tea time. And by dress up I mean that the ladies look quite feminine in a classy way and the men look very gentlemanly without the “penguin suits.” When you find yourself making similar attire decisions for that tea party, you’ve definitely “gone Southern.”
Are you there yet? Have you “gone Southern”? If so, have a great time, y’all. And if not, get a move on and make that transformation complete!
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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