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Sweet Tea for Everyone

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I spent last week south of the Mason-Dixon during what happened to be the hottest week of the summer (“Hotter ’an a chick with a gun,” I heard someone say in Memphis). And this week, back in New York, is another scorcher. Now I’m off to Iowa, where I’m supposed to encounter the hottest weather yet.

I’m a true son of the North, but my mother is a Southerner, and I learned from her at an early age the only remedy for these days of sweaty eyelids: sweet tea, a hyper-sugared, heavily iced beverage (think simple syrup with a bitter edge) prevalent in the South, but virtually unknown in the North. This is wrong. Thanks to Al Gore’s PowerPoint presentations, our Yankee summers are now nearly as hot as Dixie’s. It’s time for a sweet the whole country can enjoy:

North-South Sweet Tea
Makes 2 quarts

8 cups water
4 bags black tea (preferably Lipton)
1 cup sugar
Ice
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a teapot, bring the water to a boil. Remove from the heat, wait a few seconds and add the tea bags. Let the tea steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour the tea into a pitcher. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Refrigerate the tea until cold. Serve with lemon wedges in tall, ice-filled glasses.

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