My name is Tim Braun – and I have a problem.
For some unknown reason, I am an addict. Not of tobacco, drugs, pot, or alcohol. Not of the smell of lilac, although that is LOVELY this time of year, or the feel of a fine fleece sweatshirt. Not at the sight of a beautiful woman or the touch of an angry man (how did THAT get into my brain?). My only addiction is to the taste of a ridiculously sweet tea. My mouth is watering at the very thought of it. I get all tingly inside just imagining the cool, refreshing ‘liquid of the Gods’ as it passes slowly over my lips and cascades it sweet goodness down my throat. I may need some serious professional help.
I blame my mother for a lot of this. She used to make sweet tea the way the Good Lord meant it to be made. She’d brew up a two-gallon jug of tea (or set it out in the sun to brew some “natural” tea) and then add approximately 16 gallons of sugar to the jug. It just seemed normal to me that tea should taste like that from that point forward. I guess she didn’t realize that she was forever poisoning my mind and soul with the concoction that she came up with.
So time passed and stupid health-conscious people got all up in arms about that kind of tea-debauchery and the result was the tepid, limp liquid that I had during my teen years. And then college hit. And I discovered Hardee’s. Suddenly the world was bright again and the birds were singing again. Sweet tea was BACK and available for 24-hour-a-day drinking. And it was drunk 24-hours-a-day.
Then I got married. I’m not BLAMING my wife, per se, but I will say that once we got married sweet tea seemed to go away again. First, we had no Hardee’s within 50 miles of our house. Second, her take on sweet tea was like my take on building a car in my driveway. If there was any LESS sugar in the tea she created, the sugar-starved boll weevil trying to get a sip would curl up and die a slow pitiful death. Sure, she was trying to be ‘healthful’. Don’t ever do that again.
So because of my public outcry against my wife, McDonald’s developed (i.e. stole from Hardee’s) their own recipe of Sweet Tea. I capitalize those words now because it may be the single best item that McDonald’s ever made and it deserves my utmost respect. And that’s huge coming from me. It’s sweet, it’s cold and it’s perfect. Other fast food places have now imitated McDonald’s on this and some have come close to perfection. Chick Fil A deserves a special nod because THEY SELL IT TO ME IN ONE-GALLON JUGS. That alone is worth going to Chick Fil A.
But let’s get back to McDonald’s Sweet Tea (note – approximately 1,583,032,302 calories per serving). I’m a bit of a tyrant when it comes to getting the tea. If a particular restaurant is out of it, that is completely unacceptable and will cause me not to go back to that McDonald’s for months. I throw even bigger tantrums at less-than-perfect McDonald’s Sweet Tea. One day I was in the drive-thru to dutifully throw my $1.05 at them. They passed me a drink. I pulled away and took that sip. BANG. Diet Coke. I whipped my big Dodge Truck around through the drive thru a second time – and yes, cutting off people in the process – I mean they were driving SO SLOW…. and got the correct drink. I learned from that – I now rip open the straw and plunge it into the drink and take a long slurp before I budge an inch from the drive thru window. Because – and make sure you’re sitting down for this – they have even tried to slip in NON-SWEET TEA at times! The unmitigated gall.
Another time I pulled through – handed them VERY politely the exact change once again – and they gave me a drink. I took a sip and it was Sweet Tea so I left. But then I noticed that the straw wouldn’t budge. They had filled the ENTIRE CUP with ice and THEN poured Sweet Tea in it. So I had a thimble-full of Tea. Since even little old ME has limits of complaining I wasn’t going to go back through again to have them remove ice. Instead I handled it like an adult and randomly threw straw wrappers and all the stupid extra ice out the window of my truck in their parking lot. Just to show them I was angry in a calm, mature way. Hey – don’t judge. It made me feel better. And yes, I haven’t gone back to either of those McDonald’s in months.
So you can see – I have issues. I mean issues relating to Sweet Tea above and beyond all of my other issues. And it’s only McDonald’s that I’m all happariffic for – all other teas, especially anything found in a grocery store, pale in comparison. I need it. I want it. I repeat….I NEED IT.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures of my sweet tea journeys all around the world. Note that in Paris I even drank the tea with my right hand. That’s how dedicated I am.
My name is Tim Braun…and I’m a Teaholic.