All across our nation, we find that iced tea is on the menu of every restaurant and is invariably setting in a pitcher in our kitchens. We like it with sugar and we like it with artificial sweeteners. We like it with honey, and we like it with no type of sweetener at all. What is it about chilled tea that seems to make it such a part of our cultural landscape? Here are some thoughts on the place of tea with ice and its place in our lives.
Tea has long been one of those beverages that we use to be sociable. Custom has long dictated that we not offer any alcoholic beverage to guests in our homes until after a certain time of day. Instead, we would invite persons to sit down with us and enjoy a nice pitcher of tea complete with ice and lemon as we enjoyed a bit of lunch, or had a nice visit in the afternoon. Because of the refreshing nature of the beverage, we could serve it with confidence in most situations, and feel ourselves to be a courteous host or hostess by doing so.
When it comes to an emotionally upsetting event, many of us often think of tea as something to drink as we settle our jangled nerves. While the practice began centuries ago by producing a piping hot cup of tea in times of trial, these days one may also find a glass of iced tea with ice lemon and within reach. Tea in this sense is like a comfort food. It is real and familiar and can help us put some perspective back into what may be causing our lives to be temporarily turned upside down. Having the tea handy reminds us of the everyday world and that things will return to a sense of normality once the current crisis is addressed and resolved.
The fact that iced tea is easy to make and fits in so well with the landscape of our lives gives the beverage an enduring quality that continues in spite of all sorts of changes in the way we live. Tea has been with us for centuries and tea that is iced has already carved out its own place in our modern world. Chances are that a hundred years from now, people will still be ordering tea with ice and lemon at their favorite cafes and restaurants.
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