What Southerners Talk About When We Talk About Y’all


They can’t make sweet tea.

Just ask any Southerner recently home from a trip across the Mason-Dixon what their biggest complaint was and the answer most assuredly would involve tea. Since despite what some restaurant proprietors apparently believe, proper tea can’t be fixed with sugar packets hastily stirred into an already brewed glass at the table.

No…Southern tea starts with your Mama’s recipe and choice of tea, or in our case, Aunt Jen’s Sweet Tea concoction. Aunt Jen is a legendary Southern cook but she is downright famous for her tea. Even people who pretend they don’t like sweet things chug cold tumblers of this candy-like beverage.

When our daughter was a college student in Vermont, she was shocked and appalled that no one in her house knew what sweet tea was. Determined to enlighten her otherwise worldly classmates on what they’d missed out on all their lives, she made a pitcher of Aunt Jen’s sweet tea for a weekly house meeting. The pitcher was long gone before the meeting was over and she was asked to make more for the following week.

Around here, sweet tea can be used for almost anything: cooking a Boston Butt for pulled pork, marinade for grilled chicken or as the secret ingredient to the frozen sangria “slush” found in freezers all over town.

So bless your hearts if you’ve never tasted real sweet tea. To fix that injustice, here is Aunt Jen’s famous sweet tea…you may need to brush your teeth after drinking it, but it’s worth it!

Aunt Jen’s Sweet Tea
8 cups of water
3/4 cup sugar
6 regular tea bags
Lots of ice

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Once the water is rolling, add in the sugar and bring back to a boil for about a minute. Turn the heat off and add the tea bags. Then just let it sit until the tea is thoroughly steeped and cooled down. Pour some into a glass with ice—preferably crushed—and enjoy!

3 thoughts on “What Southerners Talk About When We Talk About Y’all

  1. NOW I see this. A day late and a dollar short, as they say. I had two lovely Southern ladies for lunch yesterday and made tea…always a source of stress for this Yankee….unsweet, in this case. I thought I had it all under control until I realized that I had forgotten the lemon. Of course, they were gracious as could be about this travesty.

  2. Haha! Once while eating lunch with the Governor of Virginia (about 30 years ago) my husband mistook the formal salt bowl for the sugar bowl. After realizing his mistake (and seeing the horrified look of the Gov.) he drank the salted tea with a smile on his face just as that was how he always took it. That’s the day my husband became a true southerner!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s