Stephen’s stories about his maternal grandmother, Mama Lee, are some of my favorites. He still follows her method for making the southern staple, sweet tea, and I’ve started to catch on. (Though my pitcher in the fridge is decidedly less sweet.)
Mama Lee’s Sweet Tea
(makes 1 gallon)
Four Tetley (it has to be Tetley) Family Size tea bags
Scant 1 cup of sugar*
Pinch of baking soda
In a medium sauce pot, place the tea bags into four cups of cold water.
Bring to a boil (yep, with the tea bags in the water) and take off the heat once it reaches a boil**.
Steep for fifteen minutes and remove tea bags.
Put sugar and baking soda in a heat safe gallon pitcher and pour tea mixture over.
Stir to combine.
Add cold water to the top of pitcher.
Allow tea to sit on the counter until room temperature then put in the refrigerator.***
Sip out on the front porch. (Or chug. We’re not going to judge.)
*I use a heaping quarter cup in my version and only make a half gallon at a time.
**It charms me to no end that Stephen says “boil” like “bowl.” (So what do you put your cereal in? “A bowl.” What do you do to pasta water? “You bowl it…BOY-AL. It’s too short of a word to have two syllables.”) So go on and bowl your water now.
***Or in the words of Mama Lee “boy don’t you mess up my sweet tea and put it in the refrigerator too early!” (Apparently it makes it cloudy.)