The Greatest Cultural Contribution of the American South

What is the greatest cultural contribution of the American South? I know what I'd nominate:

Sweet tea.

Goodness how I love living in Texas because of the sweet tea. And when I say sweet tea I mean sweet. Very sweet.

I hate traveling outside of the South and going into restaurants and asking, "Do you have sweet tea?" The servers look at you and say, "No, but there is sweetener on the table."

Huh? Sweeter on the table, are you kidding me?

But you know what? Sweet tea is spreading. More and more, I'm finding it outside of the South. I used to never ask as the answer was sure to be no. But sweet tea is getting around, so it never hurts to ask when outside of the South.

Some people have seen the light.

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10 thoughts on “The Greatest Cultural Contribution of the American South”

  1. I have learned making it at home with honey, instead of sugar, as the sweetener makes a much better tea.

  2. Now that I live in the North, I make trips to Cracker Barrel just for the sweet tea.

  3. See, I grew up in and have always lived in the south, and I thought tea was the worst thing ever invented, until I started drinking it without the piles of sugar in it. One day I had unsweetened tea, and while it took some getting used to I realized I actually liked it! For me there's nothing worse than forgetting that I'm the oddball when I visit my folks and pouring myself a big glass of what I think is tea, but turns out to be syrup.

  4. My wife Jana really doesn't like how sweet the tea often is in the South. And she's native. She tends to cut her tea, half sweet and half unsweet. I'm sort of hooked on the syrup. Bit of a vice.

  5. I love sweet tea also but greatest cultural contribution? no way. Flannery O'Connor or southern gothic literature? the blues?
    sweet tea is good though.

  6. Well, this is my kind of a theology blog! At least, I think theology discussions could be greatly improved if they involved more sweet tea!

    I'm from Kentucky and when I left home, my parents stopped putting sugar in their tea altogether. I'm with your wife on the half-cut version of sweet tea. I've been living in Asia for three years and have survived it thanks to my daily sweet tea! (I even bring the tea from home).

  7. Oh man, really!? - I far more prefer regular unsweetened iced tea... but I'm a Pennsylvanian. When I'm on the road and need something to drink, I'll sometimes pull through a McDonald's. Unfortunately over the past few years they've defaulted to giving you their version of sweet tea unless you specifically request unsweetened tea. It is a rather annoying production ordering an unsweetened iced tea: "I'd like an unsweetened tea." "Er, yes, a sweet tea, sir?" "No. An unsweetened tea - uh, a *regular* tea..." "Yes, a sweet tea." "Uh, no - the OTHER kind of tea..."

    Just the other day I went through a drive-through and was informed that they no longer serve regular iced tea - only sweet tea. :(

    Arnold Palmer's on the other hand - those are fantastic!

  8. It's sad that I've been enjoying your blog for so long, but it takes a sweet tea post to spur me to comment. As a Southerner transplanted to Minnesota though, I feel this one deeply. I've noticed too that some places outside the South are offering sweet tea, but we've got a long way to go up here. It's a mission field.

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