Have you ever studied a photograph for so long that the image was transformed into a living memory? In my memory, family snapshots play back to me like short documentaries. Thanks to a tattered album I studied as a child, I have what seems like a vivid memory of my stylish grandmother–the year hovering some where in the 40’s–on the day she married my grandfather.
Granted, I have a very active fantasy life. I am a writer. My job is to engage in daily games of make believe.
But just this week I found my imaginary memories of family were jarred into a new kind of reality when I met for the first time, a long lost cousin. She’s the daughter of my grandmother’s sister, and, it turns out, is blessed with all of our family’s best features. My cousin Anna is, without a doubt, a living representation of the elegant women of our family. She is a living memory of elegant days past. Anna, like our grandmothers, is smart, opinionated, creative, and supremely intuitive. And, it turns out, she’s also obsessed with food.
So when she asked me if I had our great grandmother’s recipe for Iced Tea I almost wept with joy. I had forgotten that my family lives on not only through photos but also the recipes they leave behind.
Beyond being my great grandmother Nan’s recipe, this is one of the most delicious iced teas I’ve ever tasted.
6 cups of water
5 black tea bags, English breakfast, Earl Grey or Lipton
1 cup sugar
6 lemons, 1 for slicing the rest to be juiced (1 cup needed)
5 small tangerines, 1 for slicing the rest to be juiced (1/4 cup needed)
1 bunch of mint
Plenty of ice cubes
Boil the water. Take off heat and add tea bags. Let steep for 15 minutes. While waiting for tea to steep, juice all but one of the lemons and tangerines. Be sure to keep one lemon and tangerine for garnishing. Once tea is finished steeping, remove the tea bags and add sugar to the warm tea. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Put citrus juice, mint, sliced lemons and tangerines into a large pitcher. Add the sugared tea to the mixture, stir and chill.
Serve over ice. Garnish with fresh sprigs of mint.