Before immigrating to the US and moving to the South, my Australian friends would ask if I was looking forward to trying sweet tea. Sweet Tea? How disgusting, I’d say. You don’t put sugar in tea, and drink it cold — you drink it as the Queen of England would — hot, and milky.
Honestly, I have no idea how Queen Elizabeth II drinks her tea, but my point is, a civilised person only drinks tea hot, and milky. I’d forgive you for adding a dainty teaspoon of sugar, but that’s where I draw the line.
I avoided sweet tea for as long as I could, turning up my nose at it every time Jim ordered it, but eventually it was crunch time, and my loyalties were being tested. Would I strive to fit in and show that I’m on team America, or would I hold onto my English superiority complex?
My lovely friend from church, Helen, took me to the Dine-N-Dash for lunch. She wanted to treat me to an American lunch and I was all in. The Dine-N-Dash is a cute little diner (as the name suggests), which serves hotdogs, milkshakes, and sweet tea. I ordered a hotdog with the trimmings, which comes with a bag of chips (crisps), and a drink. I had water with my lunch, and Helen ordered a large sweet tea with extra lemon wedges. I wolfed down my delicious hotdog with chilli (the meat chilli), and eyed Helen enjoying her sweet tea. So what’s it like, I asked? Delicious — nice and lemony, was the response. She offered me a sip.
I watch a lot of travel vlogs and one I saw of my favourite vloggers, Kara and Nate, they were drinking a sweet tea and remarked that it was too sweet. I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I imagined that the tea would just taste like cold sugar syrup. Wrong. Helen’s sweet tea was absolutely delicious. It was brewed perfectly; a subtle black tea flavour with a mild sweetness, and the tang of the freshly squeezed lemon wedges, all icy cold. It was a game changer.
I needed to have my own so excitedly Helen pulled out some coins so she could buy my first official sweet tea. It only costs about $1.00 or so in diners in the US, and it’s usually bottomless. I told the lovely lady at the counter that I had just had sweet tea for the first time, and I liked it so much I needed to have my own tanker of it. She looked at me in shock; you’ve never had sweet tea? Um no — we don’t drink it in Australia. She was so delighted she gave it to me for free!
That day has gone down as the day I fell in love with sweet tea. In fact I like it so much I drink it constantly, and try it everywhere I go. Dine-N-Dash has the best sweet tea so far, but McDonald’s has a pretty good one too. I’ve tried it at about ten different places, maybe more, and I will continue drinking it everywhere I go. It’s funny that all the things I expect to hate, I end up loving, and all of the things I thought I’d love, I don’t. I guess that’s part of what makes travelling and trying new things so much fun — you never really know how it will end up!