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April 2012 - Posts

Sweet tea: The house wine of the South

If there's one thing that's considered truly Southern, it's our tea. We like it sweet, on ice and served often. But if you ain't from around here, you may not get it. And if you leave 'round here, you won't get it.


In fact, if you go anywhere outside of the South, you'll get unsweetened tea. You may get that served with or without ice. You may even get hot tea. But you won't get the elixir of the gods we enjoy here in the South.


Dubbed the "house wine of the South," by Dolly Parton in "Steel Magnolias," sweet tea and its consumption is one of the oldest and most common of all the Southern traditions. That's because us Southerners know a thing or two about sweets. 


In the South, we like our pecan pie and pralines so sweet the dentist develops a nervous tic. All of the major soda companies, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Dr. Pepper, got their start in Dixie. Bourbon, a sweet whiskey, was perfected in Kentucky. The mint julep, a classic Southern cocktail, is basically sweet tea with some extras and is a staple on Southern front porches.


Then there's the tradition of a glass of sweet tea. Offering an ice cold glass of tea is a welcoming gesture, one that is expected in Southern homes. It is always on the table at picnics, barbecues and church socials. 


Whatever your take on this traditional beverage, to a Southerner, nothing says home like a big glass of sweet tea on a hot summer day. When it's made just right, and is just the right shade of amber, and served in a glass filled to the brim with ice, there's nothing that hits the spot quite like it.


So, whether you are serving shrimp and grits, fried fish and hush puppies, collard greens and ham, or just snacking on some boiled peanuts, there's nothing better to wash it all down with than sweet tea. 


Anybody else feel thirsty all of a sudden?


Posted: Apr 24 2012, 02:30 PM by Red On The Head | with no comments
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Puffy or not? Who cares?

I remember reading a few weeks ago about actress Ashley Judd's puffy face. Apparently, she was photographed looking a little pudgy around the face, and suddenly, the debate was on.


Did she have work done? Has she gained weight? There aren't enough wrinkles there, so she must have had work done, right? Is she on drugs…don't some drugs make you look puffy? Is she ill…some sicknesses can make you look puffy, right?


Judd, who normally ignores media speculation about herself, released a statement that said she'd had a sinus infection, and had been taking medication which made her appear puffy. 


But she didn't stop with the statement. Judd has hit the news outlets, slamming what she calls "hatred of women" perpetrated by the objectification of women everywhere, every day. 


"I think it's the objectification of girls and women and this hyper-sexualization of our society that invites criticism," she said. 


Judd's got a point. It's everywhere. Any talents, virtues, intellect, or skills a woman might have is often ignored in lieu of her more obvious assets. I believe, back in the day, these assets were referred to as "T and A. " These days, things are no different.


Women are criticized for their body size, their skin, their hair, their weight, their overall demeanor, and even for being too feminine or masculine. It would seem, then, that women can't win for losing.


It's time to stop looking at the magazine covers, ladies, and stop comparing yourself to what you find there. Beauty doesn't come from a makeup kit, nor does it come packaged with a good push-up bra. It comes from within.


Anyone who tells you differently deserves to be photographed on a puffy day.

Posted: Apr 12 2012, 02:49 PM by Red On The Head | with no comments
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