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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Contest Entry 2

Also a non-winner :-(

Mom’s Iced Tea

All my life I remember my mother making freshly brewed iced tea. In the cool hours of a summer morning I’d watch her while eating my breakfast. Now that she’s gone and I’m an adult I find myself following suit. There is nothing so refreshing as a tall, cold glass of fresh iced tea on a hot summer day. It’s one of the things that make me feel like she is still here, even though she has been gone for many years.

My mother’s family had a big family reunion every year on the Saturday before Labor Day. It was held at a rental hall that someone had connections to and each family brought a covered dish or two and a jug of something to drink. Mom brought lemonade and her iced tea. Her oldest brother, Stanley, always said there was nothing more thirst quenching on a hot day than that iced tea. I can still picture him taking the first sip, smacking his lips, sighing and saying, “Phoebe, that’s good iced tea.” Some of my cousins brought guitars and we had sing a longs in the early evening after an afternoon spent running around, playing ball and fishing in the creek for crayfish. I don’t recall how late into the evening the event went, but I’m guessing there were games of hide and seek and catching lightning bugs with all my cousins while the adults sat around talking. Those were some happy times.

Making freshly brewed iced tea isn’t hard; it just takes a bit of time. In the cool of a summer morning I make it, remembering that Mom always put it in the same glass jug that at one time held orange juice. It had a narrow neck so she used a funnel to pour the sugar and lemon juice in while the tea was brewing. Then she used the handle of the longest wooden spoon she had to stir it with. The neck was so narrow that she had to crack the ice cubes in her hand with a wooden spoon before adding them to the jug. We had no ice maker; we used metal ice cube trays with the lever that had to be lifted to release the cubes. If the person who filled the trays had put too much water in it was a challenge to get the ice. None of us have been able to exactly duplicate that delicious brew as she didn’t really measure the sugar or lemon juice. My younger brother and I did a decent job of figuring out the formula. There was a certain scoop she kept in the sugar that she used, and as for the lemon, she used an iced tea spoon which she kind of just turned 8 times while pouring in the juice. Even so I make it and think of her every time I pour a glass.

2 quarts water
8 tea bags
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
In a 2 quart saucepan bring water to a boil. Clip together 8 tea bags and add them to the boiling water. Remove from heat and steep 20 minutes. Place sugar and lemon juice in 2 quart container. Remove tea bags and pour tea into jug; stir. Fill container with ice. Serve immediately in tall glass over ice or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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