Sweet tea is a staple in most Southern homes in the US. It is practically inconceivable to visit a Southern home for a meal and not be offered sweet tea. Sweet, cold, tea. Yum!
You go to a restaurant in the South and ask for tea and they are going to assume that you want sweet tea over ice. I knew I wasn’t quite in the South anymore when I moved to Northwest Arkansas for college and very few restaurants served sweet tea. This corner of the state is just a little too close to Oklahoma and Missouri, I guess. When I was there for school about 10 years ago (yikes!), Chick-fil-A and McAlister’s were about the only places you could count on to serve sweet tea. Sure, other places would offer sugar packets with their unsweet tea, or worse yet, sweet-n-low, but that’s just not the same.
When Scott and I started talking about moving to Central Asia, we knew that chai, hot tea, would have to replace sweet tea in our diet. Scott tried it for the first time about 5 years ago and hated it. Based on his poor response, I delayed my torture. It really wasn’t until the Christmas before we moved overseas, that I earnestly tried chai. My grandmother had been given a gift box of assorted teas and some of them, shockingly, actually sounded good. Scott and I both ended up making a dent in her box of teas by the time we had left her house.
Ten months later when we moved to Central Asia we were able to drink a cup a chai with pleasure. And now after almost a year of being here, the transformation is nearly complete because many days I crave some chai, just like I would crave that yummy sweet tea back in the South. Even our daughter is becoming a chai drinker. Poor kid may never fit back into the sweet tea drinking culture of the South!