Southern Hospitality

photo by happy via
We recently had a family in our neighborhood over to our house for dinner for the first time. I think we all had a good time, but I had some pre-party jitters about being a good Southern host. When I socialize with native Southerners, there's a few things I still am uncertain about:

1) Should I introduce family friends as "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" or "Mr. Bob and Miss Sally?"
2) When exactly should my daughter be trained to say "yes m'am" ? After every yes?
3) How do I make the tea? I mean, how should I fix the tea?

From my experiences drinking tea around South Carolina, it seems like true Southern tea needs to be sweet enough that you can feel your teeth rotting as you drink it. And recently I saw how it's done; a lady in the local deli was mixing a big batch of tea, and I swear to you it was one part sugar to one part tea.

I like my sugar in my diet to come in cookie and candy form, so I usually "sweeten" my tea with Splenda. I arrived on a recipe that involves 8 cups of water and 4 packets of Splenda. Recently, however, I noticed the Splenda box had a recipe for "Southern Sweet Tea". The ratio of water to Splenda was 5 cups of water to 24 packets of Splenda! Note to self: just give up and buy some soda. I mean Coke.


Carolina John said...

it's never too early to teach your daughter good manners. i'm starting to work on my eldest, and she's only 4.

i like to make the tea with sugar. the splenda people want you to use more splenda than you need, and promote the stereotype that southern sweet tea should curl your lips when it's too sweet. 4 packets should be plenty. i think i use 8 cups of water and 1/2 c of sugar in mine.

compost in my shoe said...

Being a northern born, a transplant at the age of 13, I say be who you are and forget about the whole southern thing. Celebrating diversity is something that we find a plus especially with so many transplants in our area. The sir and mam thing seems to come when it wants to. I don't really recall when I started using it, but now it is second nature at 46!

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Why Miss Jessica, what a great posting! Yes, ma'm. hahahaa I agree about the sweet tea. We were in SC and I ordered tea, UNsweetened, but I guess they forgot. I added my fake sugar before tasting....man!!! That was awful.
You know, everyone we have met in Greenwood is so friendly, Southern hospitality or whatever, makes you feel welcome.

Anonymous said...

Saying Yes Ma'am and yes sir is always polite. Many people do not realize that it is a sign of respect. I even say it to people who are younger than myself. Training your daughter is up to you, but I think that you should train her to say ma'am and sir. Thanks for the article!