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My Southern Culture: Sweet Iced Tea, Southern Belles, and Blood Hounds

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.

Sweet iced tea, a Southern delight.

Sweet iced tea, a Southern delight.

Age, Gifts, and Heritage

To be perfectly clear, I must remind you that I am from the South, born and bred. My heritage could be a dead giveaway in a high-stake poker game somewhere in a broken-down saloon in Nevada.

I am the ripe age of 66. I say "ripe" because I remind myself that I am like a banana that has not been used for food, only left in the basket and ripened to the point of being so soft that the fruit can no longer hold its shape when peeled. This is how I see my body, being tried like Job in the Bible with failing health. I am patiently waiting to be redeemed.

Another kind of "ripe" might mean one is mega-talented, beaming with song and fest. While I am not financially wealthy, I am wealthy in other ways. One way is my life with my beloved wife. Another way is the gift, given to me by the Lord, of humorous satire and the ability to laugh at myself. Neither of these gifts is written in granite because they can change at any time. While I consider my first wealth as definitely a gift, the other might be interpreted as a fault, depending how one perceives it.

Now that you know something about me, let's get onto exploring my rich Southern culture of sweet iced tea, Southern belles, and blood hounds.

Southern Sweet Tea

I don't crave soda, and I cannot stand booze. I have drunk enough processed water to float the Bismarck, so give me a gallon of that delicious Southern sweet tea--now, please!

When asked to describe Southern iced tea, the older Southern male will squint his eyes and simply reply "you can't beat it" and go about his business. However, in the presence of a few Southern women, I would naturally be respectful and call it the "drink of the angels," then ask my waitress for another pitcher. This nectar of the South, especially in the presence of ladies, would deserve no less treatment.

An Historical Coca-Cola Disaster

Things have changed a lot since the 1800s when old, retired guys gravitated to some storefront to loaf, chew tobacco or smoke to pass their days away, but sweet tea has not changed, nor will it be. Only a fool would demand the Southern tea maker to change the tea with more or less of some ingredient that made the drink so famous.

Such foolishness actually occurred with Coca-Cola in 1985. The summer of that year, clientele from around the nation detested the new "Coke." The Coca-Cola Corporation had been experiencing a drop in sales and had decided to adopt a formula based on the taste tests of nearly 200,000 consumers--200,000 wrong consumers. Loyalty for the original Coca-Cola classic beverage was replaced by hatred for the new Coke.

I witnessed my good friend, Danny Harris, Manager of Food Warehouse in our hometown of Hamilton, Alabama, act radically to the change. Harris was a normal, everyday and laid-back groceryman. When the new Coke hit the market, however, local customers were so dissatisfied that Danny pulled down huge trees that had shaded our town's streets for years--all because of the new Coke formula.

Southern sweet iced tea will never change, especially with the lesson learned from the Coca-Cola disaster during that '85 summer!

The Recipe for Sweet Iced Tea

The first recipe for sweet iced tea was made public in 1879 in a small neighborhood cookbook called Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree. Her recipe called for green tea, since most sweet tea consumed during this period was green tea.

If you have never tasted Southern sweet tea, here is now to make it:

  • Bring 250 ml (8+ oz., a little over 1 cup) of water to a tempestuous boil.
  • Remove the pot from the burner and steep two tea bags in the hot water while covered for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove the tea bags from the water and allow the tea to cool a bit.
  • Add four heaping teaspoons of sugar. Stir until dissolved.
  • Pour the tea into a large mug of ice.

Smile and enjoy. I am not Justin Wilson, "The Bayou Guru of Food and Drink," but I guarantee you cannot beat Southern sweet iced tea!

Southern belles in their traditional dresses.

Southern belles in their traditional dresses.

What Do You Know About Our Southern Belles?

Care to know something about our Southern beauties who inspired so many books, songs, poetry, film and theater productions? Believe me (meant for truth), I know a bit about these ladies who have graced those illustrious magazine covers for years.

The Southern belle, the ultra-feminine woman, developed during the antebellum era. This monumental move has been traced back to the young, unmarried women in the upper class, white plantation-owners of Southern society, usually a daughter of such an owner. The title "Southern Belle" has connotations of self-importance but is not entirely true.Some once-married Southern belles who were alive during the antebellum period often found themselves as being mistresses on these huge estates.

Southern belles were sometimes regarded as dumb and helpless, acting girly to avoid hard work. This image was especially held, perhaps, by manual laborers and servants. Education for Southern belles during the antebellum period helped to prepare Southern belles for an advantageous marriage, a practice which eventually led to the women's liberation movement.

Our Southern values did not just happen. No. Our values are to be credited to Southern ladies raised in the 1950s and early 1960s. These ladies actually helped shape the more modern traditional Southern values.

Sipping mint julep and preparing tea is still very important to Southern belles because tea has been enjoyed in their culture for the last several hundred years. True Southern Belles never, and I mean never, smoke or chew gum on the street or in an office and, of course, not in church.

Southern belles are strictly forbidden to wear white shoes prior to Easter or after Labor Day, unless they are engaged. In 2020, Southern belles especially enjoy monogramming and monogrammed household and personal articles.

A modern-day Southern belle.

A modern-day Southern belle.

Bloodhound Background and Popularity

The bloodhound is a large, near-perfect scent hound, first bred for hunting deer and wild boar. Since the Middle Ages, bloodhounds are used for tracking escaped convicts and the like. Bloodhounds are believed to be descended from these special dogs kept at the Abbey of Saint-Hubert, Belgium.

The bloodhound breed is famed for its natural gift of being able to discern human scent over great distances. Its extraordinarily keen sense of smell is coupled with a strong and tenacious tracking instinct, and the animal is used by police departments all over the world to track escaped prisoners, missing people, and lost pets.

Here are a few celebrity bloodhounds : Pluto from Walt Disney Company, Bruno from Cinderella, Trusty from Lady and the Tramp, The Bumpus Hounds from A Christmas Story, Huckleberry Hound from The Huckleberry Hound Show, Duke from The Beverly Hillbillies, Hubert from Best in Show, Ladybird from King of the Hill, Copper from Fox and the Hound, and many more.

Bloodhounds have an uncanny ability to be "happy in their own skins," and I know that this is a pun, but I find no other way to describe these very useful and loving animals we could not live without.

The bloodhound, a keen sniffer, devotedly loyal, and a skin-drooping cuddle.

The bloodhound, a keen sniffer, devotedly loyal, and a skin-drooping cuddle.

40 Most Popular Bloodhound Names

B - DJ - RS - T

Bismarck

Jaws

Samson

Boomer

Jupiter

Sasquatch

Boone

Jumbo

Saturn

Brawler

Kong

Sergeant

Brawny

Lincoln

Shark

Bruno

Lurch

Sumo

Brutus

Magnum

Tank

Buffalo

Manley

Tex

Burly

Mack (Mac)

Thunder

Chubby

Maxi (Max)*

Tracker

Chunky

Moose

Trapper

Dragon

Muscles

Trojan

Duke

Rugby

*Maxi, F; Max, M

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I wish to thank Marie Flint for editing, reformatting, and revising this article. Thank you, Marie!

© 2020 Kenneth Avery

Comments

Treathyl FOX from Austin, Texas on November 07, 2020:

LOL. I totally got the sweet tea and the Southern Belles. But when you threw in bloodhounds, you lost me! I had no idea.

Don Bobbitt from Ruskin Florida on November 07, 2020:

Well Done Kenneth! Being a Southern Boy myself (change that to Southern Senior), I have enjoyed the special heritage we grew up with. Your concentration on thee top lifestyle items was so "right on", as someone not from the South might say. I was born and raised in Virginia, I then spent a decade of my life in the Raleigh area of NC, and then I retired to SC for almost another decade before I purchased a motorhome and headed West for a while. I mention these places because while I lived at each, the basic definition of a Southerner was the same, we just say it a little differently in each state. I mention all of this because I have now been living in Florida for over ten years and it has a very peculiar blended population, unlike any I have seen in my travels.

Sure, you will find both unsweetened and sweet Tea in every restaurant you enter for a meal or a drink, but the accent of the majority of the Floridians are definitely not Southern.

Anyway, I have rambled on far too much, so once again, I must say that I really enjoyed your article.

DON