After we had loaded up our plates and sat down to begin mass consumption, two beverage choices were passed around the table:
- unsweet iced tea
- sweet iced tea
My point in bringing up this example is that in my adult life, I have found myself at dozens of meals - at workplaces, with significant-other families, at daytime/working-hours parties - where not only was iced tea the only beverage option offered, it didn't even seem to occur to the organizers that some poor miscreant might not want iced tea.
I've tried iced tea plenty. I'm not much for any kind of tea, but I imagine my aversion to hot tea has to do with my lifelong bafflement at how to consume hot beverages (grist for another blog post, that).
But iced tea... oh yeah, I've tried it. As a kid, as a teenager, as an adult, as a quadrigenarian, you name it. And I've never liked it.
Not sweet or unsweet, lemon or no lemon, never, no way. To me, it's like someone put a stick in some water and called it a beverage. It's work for me to drink, and I can't get down even half a glass. The only variant that I've been able to drink a glassful of in one sitting is "fruit tea," and that's grudgingly, and with enough fruit content that it may not quite be tea anymore.
We didn't drink any kind of tea in the house I grew up in, so this beverage was foreign to my own upbringing in West Virginia. But my first wife grew up 15 miles from where I did, and she and her family quaffed iced tea like it was going out of style. In fact, during the nineteen years we were together, her mother never remembered that I didn't like iced tea, resulting in many unpleasant moments for me at meals when I hadn't noticed that I'd been served tea. I'd pick up the glass, and take a big swallow of what I expected to be Coke or Pepsi or at least Big K... and bleagh! mouthful of TEA!
One more example: in the late '90s, I organized and implemented conversion training in three cities for the employees of a bank that my then-employer had bought. In Jackson, MS, I left the catering arrangements to my local counterpart. As I'm sure everyone reading this has already guessed, at every meal during these training sessions - which I'm thinking was ten meals during the course of that week - the only beverages offered were sweet tea and unsweet tea. By the second day, I tried to make sure that I either brought in a couple of drinks for myself or had enough change for the vending machines at the training center. However, I was the only person out of dozens at these sessions that I saw use the machines. Everyone else blissfully quaffed their iced tea.
But I want to know... is it just some weird southern / Appalachian thing to offer only iced tea, and to assume that everyone loves iced tea? Or is it all iced tea all the time everywhere?