Sunday, March 27, 2011

Snacking State-by-State: Florida Part 1B (The Northern Half) - It's the only kind of tea that matters

As I said in the last post, the barbecued shrimp goes well with a certain ubiquitous Southern beverage that you simply can never find unsweetened. But it's just "tea" in the South.

Official Name: State of Florida
State Nicknames: The Sunshine State
Admission to the US: March 3, 1845 (#27)
Capital: Tallahassee (8th largest city)
Other Important Cities: Jacksonville (largest city), Miami (2nd largest), Tampa (3rd largest), St. Petersburg (4th largest), Orlando (5th largest)
Region: South, Gulf Coast; South Atlantic (US Census)
RAFT Nations: Cornbread & BBQ, Crabcake, Gumbo
Bordered by: Alabama (northwest), Georgia (north), Atlantic Ocean (east), Caribbean Sea (south), Gulf of Mexico (west)
Official State Foods and Edible Things: Key lime pie (pie), orange (fruit)
Some Famous & Typical Foods: Cuban food (southern Florida), Key lime pie, seafood (stone crab, shrimp, conch, crawfish, etc), alligator (northern Florida) typical Deep Southern foods (northern Florida), foods of New York/New Jersey especially Italian & Jewish (southern Florida)

I admit two things: 1) I hate drinking unsweetened iced tea; 2) Diabetes runs on both sides of my family. So usually I just grab some Splenda or Sweet & Low and put that in my tea. But once in a while you just have to have the real stuff. This recipe is even easier than the last, and takes far less time.

The Recipe: Iced (Sweet) Tea

For (sweet) tea, you'll need:

* quart size tea bags (I used Luzianne, but any tea bag will do.)
* sugar - I added a cup for a little more than 3 quarts.
* water - lots of water (I started with about 3 quarts, and then added a little more at the end to top it off)

Boil the water and steep the tea bags as usual.

Wow. This is hard.

Even harder.

But here’s the important thing: add the sugar while the tea is still hot. Also note that most recipes call for much more sugar per quart than this. Some recipes I’ve seen call for a cup of sugar for every 2 to 4 cups of water.

This is the sweet stuff here, a dessert you can drink.

Next we head south with the snowbirds, retirees and Golden Girls to explore what the southern half of the state has in store food-wise.


Voltz, Jeanne, and Caroline Stuart. The Florida Cookbook: From Gulf Coast Gumbo to Key Lime Pie. Random House: New York, 1993.

Some information about the diversity of Floridian cuisine comes from the following websites, in addition to the Voltz and Stuart book:

Essman, Elliot. “Florida Cuisine”. Life in the USA, 2010. Copyright Elliot Essman 2010.

Rattray, Diana. “Florida Cuisine - The many flavors of Florida”., publication date unknown. Copyright 2011

Some information also obtained from Wikipedia's "Florida" page and other pages, and theFood Timeline State Foods link to "Florida".