Sunday, June 22, 2008

Luiz on "the spirituality of sweet tea"

My friend (and friend of several of our readers here) Luiz Coelho has a lovely essay on "The Spirituality of Sweet Tea" at the Episcopal Café this weekend. *Permanent link here, though the essay is still on the front page, till early tomorrow. *Sweet tea, a reality both Southern U.S. and Brazilian.* Thank you, Luiz.

I'm struck by the fact that several of us who are Café columnists have been writing about slowing down, contemplation, Sabbath, overwork, overscheduling, and related matters.* (Today's column by Luiz, and also here, here, and here and probably some others I've missed.) *We're noticing the speed and superficiality of the culture around us and its production-centered values and trying to dip into our traditions to find deeper and more thirst-quenching waters.

{...drinking chilled,* unsweetened peppermint tea, slowly... and waiting for a North Carolina thunderstorm to descend on us...}

* no ice cubes

4 comments:

FranIAm said...

Interesting - and quite a beautiful piece (as always) by Luiz.

I too have been pondering this, most possibly influenced by all the links you provided, which I had read.

On Friday night I went to Shabbat service at my friend's Temple. The rabbi called us to all breath deeply and release the week and to enter Shabbat.

It is a reform temple, so not "shabbos" as in the old sense. She did call us to seek stillness and to focus on God by focusing on one another and not all of our tasks and duties.

Much to ponder and to pray about.

Kitten said...

I've been writing a bit about slowing down on my blog. This morning I went to a meditation service, and had a LOT of trouble slowing my mind down. This is something I have to work on, being a go-go-go person.

Finally, as a native Yankee, I have seen many versions of the old southern specialty, "sweet tea." Please tell me, what is the definitive recipe? Is it sweetened with sugar, honey, or just the sweetness of the peppermint?

Luiz said...

Jane, you're so sweet, even drinking unsweetened tea!

Sweet tea has to be freshly brewed, otherwise it tastes bad. Also, the sugar is added while the water is hot! That's why it's so sweet.

For diet-freaks like me, Publix sells a wonderful splenda-sweetened tea, prepared according to the right process, which tastes just good... Or y'all can just ask Rob to prepare it for you. It is very delicious.

Forget about Mason-Dixon. The real frontier between North and South is when stores stop selling sweet tea and either offer only the unsweetened one or that lipton pre-made stuff! When you get close to Alexandria and other cities in Northern VA that are part of the DC metroplex, sweet tea isn't sold anymore. So sad!

Also, in case you go to a latino market, do buy a brazilian sweet tea called mate (pronounced mah-tay): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mate_(beverage) The cold, sweetened one is far much better than the hot infusion!

Jane R said...

Oh, oops, Kitten, I posted two answers to you about sweet tea (explaining the same thing as Luiz about sweetening the water first) but on the wrong set of comments. They are above in the hailstorm comments. The storm must have scrambled my brain. :-b

As you will see there, sweet tea has no peppermint. I was only drinking peppermint tea because I like the taste iced on a hot day and I don't want to put a lot of caffeine in my system after my one mug of coffee. So I'm a heretic.

But I do like a nice strong cup of tea (or as they say here in the South, hot tea) either in the morning or in the late afternoon. If I haven't had coffee.

Luiz, one of my students went on study abroad and she brought me back Maté teabags from Perú! Is that the same kind as the one from Brazil? I have never tried it iced. I have a bit left over so I´ll give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

If I can get a hold of Rob I´ll make sure he makes us some sweet tea, and that day I will consume both sugar and caffeine. (I will end up on the ceiling, but that's okay.)

Thanks again for a beautiful essay, Luiz. My essay for June should be out next week, I have sent it to our friendly editor.

As for Lipton pre-made stuff, UGH!