My recipe for vanilla iced tea:
- Boil 1 quart (or 2 UK pints) of water.
- Add 5 bags of tea (I used PG Tips) and 1 bag of Rooibos Vanilla tea.
- Steep for an hour, give or take, then squeeze the bags hard and discard them.
- Stir in 1/2 cup of white sugar until dissolved.
- Add 1/2 quart (or 1 UK pint) of cold water.
- Don't add ice, but chill in the refrigerator.
There is something about moving thousands of miles and an ocean's distance away from the place that you were raised that stirs up longings you never possessed before. At least not when it was logical to possess them. For me, today, on a warm and sunny day in the first part of May, I made iced tea. And I made it my own. Like I knew something or had the right to tinker with an old hand-me-down recipe. I don't actually have any such birthright. My mother drinks hot tea only- no milk or sugar and strong as mud. My dad, I don't remember what he drank, but I would guess he drank coffee at work. Until today, I could count the number of times I ever sipped from a glass of iced tea on one hand, but on this warm May day – and for no reason other than it felt like the most natural thing in the world – I made iced tea. Vanilla iced tea. And it is good. Good like I have been making vanilla iced tea for years. Good like my mother must have taught it to me. Good like she learned it from her mother. Good like this couldn’t possibly be the first time I have ever made iced tea.
I think the tea is a result of recently spending time in the state of my birth and raising. I have been affected in ways I did not expect, and I don't just mean that in the context of my rather exceptional vanilla iced tea.
We'll get to Indiana in a few more posts. My next post will continue where we left off for more of the Wisconsin leg of the holiday.