29 April 2008

Tools of the trade....

I have decided that I am a baker.
I like to cook, but I am not the best cook.
I don't particularly like to grill, roast, sear (who would?), braise, boil, saute', or poach.
But I love to bake.
I bake from scratch about half the time. I also like to modify store-bought mixes. I add crazy stuff to mixes, sometimes it works (cherry filling in Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix) sometimes it REALLY doesn't (same filling in Duncan Hines Brownie mix, YUCK!).
I made a chocolate on chocolate cake for my mother's birthday. I loved to get out all of my "special tools", like the pink cake plate, the silverware and the dishes that my grandmother Bess always used on special visits.
These plates have little glass "beads" around the periphery, and the best part is they have matching Ice Tea coasters. What pray tell is a Ice Tea coaster?
Well if you come from the South you will immediately envision glass coasters that have a sort of rectangular outgrowth to one side, that is the place that you would put your Ice Tea Spoon, once you have stirred in the sugar.
Now, the reality is that most Southerners don't bother too much with all that. We know intuitively that our guests really just want "Sweet Tea", but in deference to the odd stranger, or perhaps someone with a medical need to avoid sugar, we sometimes will not dump the 3-4 cups of sugar into the brewed elixir of the Gods.
Sometimes strangers wonder out loud "How in the world do you people stand this sickeningly sweet stuff?".
Well, there is an answer for that.
Have you ever eaten an abundance of fried food, say fried fish (at the fish camp or Calabash, NC) or a ton of BBQ (eastern, western or Lexington, I do not discriminate).
Well, if you have, you know that at some point your mouth is going to become a little, let's say, sticky. Want to cut the stick?
Sweet Tea! It does the trick.
Another theory is that many years ago, when we did not have air conditioning (truly a gift from God!) in most homes, as I didn't growing up, one needed something cool and invigorating to get you thru the hot evenings out on the porch.
Sweet Tea! Again.
So, unless you have personally lived thru a summer in the South with out A/C in your home, or most of the stores you frequent, don't knock it.

1 comment:

  1. I spent a very hot summer in Virginia Beach - with no a/c. Needless to say - I spent most of that summer in the water... ocean, shower, bath... whatever it took. AND had an abundance of sweet tea.

    This was truly a treasured memory. Despite the heat.


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