Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A really good sweet tea recipe from this web site

Frugal Recipes

Michelle's Meals on a Budget
(featured column)

Southern Sweet Tea
Copyright © 2004 by Michelle Jones, editor of

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Sweet Tea, Super Dr. Pepper and Patti Rhea

Yep boys and girls, that’s our lesson today. We lived in Seattle, Washington for 15 years. Contrary to what the natives there tell you, yes, it does rain a lot and it is cloudy a lot more. This is the birthplace of Starbucks coffee and for good reason; it’s the only way to stay awake on days in the middle of winter, when the sun doesn’t actually rise due to the clouds. Not only are we addicted to $5 cups of coffee, but also to fine drive-through and sit down coffee establishments where you get to know everyone in the hood. The coffee culture hasn’t hit the South as hard as it has hit much of the country. I think there are several reasons for this;

  1. Insane amounts of sunshine (to my eyes at least).
  2. A slower pace of life. It’s hard to chat while your teeth are chattering from a coffee high. (Or from cold for that matter.)
  3. Sweet Tea.
  4. Super powered Dr. Pepper.
Let’s start with sweet tea. Most folks in the North who have never ventured into ‘The South’ have not had the absolute pleasure of Sweet tea. Florida doesn’t count. I had no idea what I was missing. This is not your ‘stir- into-water jar of instant sweetened iced tea, this is brewed tea with a sugar syrup. Anyone making sweet tea worth his or her salt does NOT use instant tea. And it is SWEET! It’s also really good. You do have an option in restaurants, you can ask for ½ sweet tea, which could still knock a few cavities into your mouth. There are few things I’ve tried that are more refreshing on a hot day.

Number 2 has been dealt with earlier (see: Ordering Breakfast in the South)
Number 4, super caffeinated soft drinks, are really popular down there. This hasn’t caught on in the north so much because of copious amounts of coffee and a very slight (very slight) more care with sugary soft drinks. Also the power drinks, (those are the ones with caffeine, vitamins and amino acids that cause the whole body to go into overdrive), are a little more prevalent in the north, again I think due to the weather and pace of life in general.

Which brings us to Patti Rhea our real estate broker from Crye-Leike Realty. Patti loves purple and corgies. She has introduced us to several wonders of Chattanooga including Libby Lou’s, the best Bar-B-Que in town and super-charged Dr. Pepper.

Patti is a true child of the South. She ordered sweet tea full strength and then, as we watched in horror and amazement, she added sugar! Patti is our source for local custom questions and a paragon of
Southern Manners. She has been a wall of patience and good humor while we’ve stumbled our way around our first large house purchase and move across the country. Our children think Miss Patti is an extra aunt that we’ve only just met and she lets my youngest nest in her hair.

Every once in a while Patti comes out with a Southernism that we have to stick in our ‘Future Use’ dictionary, here’s today’s;

“There were so many people you couldn’t stir ‘em with a stick”

Hi Patti! And thank you from all of us!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Now Listen to Our Story...

Happy Post-Mother’s Day Everyone. I must say that due to the Benevolent Blogging this Sunday, it was one of the most interesting Mother’s Day ever. $27.00 for The Orphans Foundation of America was raised with many kind and fun responses. It was fun to know that we were all desperately trying to leave comments on everyone’s sites before the days end. Oddly, no one left a comment on the Husband for Stud posting, which I figured would generate some comment! (Like, how much?)

Today I’m trying to tie up lots of loose ends on the home buying front. Which means ¼ business on the phone and ¾ chatting with all the bankers and real estate people. I have learned now to leave plenty of time for such things. We’ve also discovered that the price for having someone move you is really high, so we may just load up the old car and do a ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ but backwards…

Now listen to my story ‘bout a poor family
Dad got some learnin’ so they’ve gone to Tennessee
They’re hoping that life up the mountain will be good

But they sure can’t take everythin’ they think they should

Stuff that is, goodies and toys

Should they leave the kids? Or should they leave the pets?

As far as they know this is good as life can get…

They’ve been living up north where the winter winds blow

But there’s a rumor now of places without snow!

Leave the coats they said, bring the boat instead…

“Another great adventure!” Shouts the father of the brood

Mom’s just a dreamin’ about that extra bathroom

But we’re all just excited to get on with the move

Check with us in a while when we’re in our Tennessee groove!

Chattanooga that is….Chooo Chooo.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mothers' Day!

Happy Mothers’ Day to all you Moms out there. I got to celebrate early with a lovely dinner sans children, a walk downtown and a movie. All this thanks to a friend who volunteered to have our kids sleep over. I know that doesn’t seem fair, since it IS Mothers’ day, however if you had kids who talk, sing, dance, run, jump and cling as much as mine, you’d understand.

Today I’m going to sneak a perfume blog into my usual Yankees Moving South, because this really is one of my passions and most of the Benevolent Bloggers have come from Beauty and Fragrance Blogs. So hey!, let’s make everyone happy today!

I’ve been testing lots of perfumes to see which ones will be appropriate for Southern Living. You see, I’ve been living in Wisconsin were summer is short and winter is long, so I can wear very deep, strong, heavy Orientals, flowers and woods almost all year ‘round. However, once you’ve overdone the rose on a hot, humid day, you never want to smell rose again. Been there. Recently. In fact, my beloved Cedre’ by Lutens, is definitely a ½ squirt on a summer day, if at all. However the Mure de Musc by L’Artisan is a new find and starts strong but winds down to a lovely light berry.

So, I’ve been sniffing and collecting mainly “Summery” fragrances like Carthusia Mediterraneo, Eau d’ Hadrien, Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil and Un Jardin de Mediterranee and Eau des Merveilles
I’ve collected some Tommy Girl and some FCUK (which is just a spray on with no thought sort of fragrance), and then there are the light flowers like Do Son and La Chasse.

For earthy scent I love, love, love Terre d’Hermes. Bois de Iles and Songes are what I wear if I want classic sexy, and I really want to get a-hold of some Sacrebleu for the classic notes. However, I haven’t been able to find a light and transparent Rose, or an oriental that is light and free. Armani Prive’ Bois d’Encens (so ethereal and beautiful) takes care of my love of Incense fragrances but I will have to limit my Amir by Tonnato.

My daughter loves my Bvlgari Extreme. It has gone to my favorite list when my youngest grabbed me in a big hug and said “Mommy you smell soooooo good!” Jasmine is my absolute fave’ but the ones I practically bathe in are wayyyyy to strong to use in summer. (Especially a la’ Nuit)

So if anyone has suggestions for Southern Summer frags, let me know. I realize there are certain quintessential Southern smells like bar-b-que and…. Bar-b-que (OK, I really don’t know anymore yet, but I will find out) but the closest I could come to that would be Idole by Luben but I’m sorry to say, it’s just too strong and it doesn’t reeeaally smell like bar-b-que. Does Dogwood smell?

(I have to say, Guerlain and I really don’t get along and neither do most of the s-fragrances, except the Surf Spray, which you can’t get in the US) One of my most favorite body creams is made by Mixed Emotions, but they discontinued the tea scented ones. Bummer.

Oddly, when I was last in Chattanooga, I didn’t really smell anyone. I have a very sensitive nose so I was expecting to either smell over perfumed or sweaty bodies, but even when it was 80 % humidity and 80 degrees I was never bothered either way. I know that sounds weird, but I didn’t really note anyone wearing any perfume of note. I guess everyone there has learned what I now know; you can’t guild the Southern Belle.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Benevolent Bloggers

We need Mothers without borders!

So, this Mother's Day, along with a growing host of other bloggers, my family will join in for a Benevolent Blogging event to raise money for a selected charity. For us it's the
"Orphan Foundation of America"

Benevolent Blogging, the idea of Katie of Scentzilla and Seldom Nice Nowadays, really does show a wonderful side of the communities that grow around the world via blogging and networks. For each comment left on Yankee Family goes South, on the calendar date of May 14th, My family will donate $1.00 to the Orphan Foundation of America.

Here is the growing list of other BB participants

Monday, May 08, 2006

Husband out for Stud

Now that we are moving to Tennessee, my husband had decided he needs a horse at some point. Not just any horse, a Tennessee Walking horse, because he loves a folk song about a Tennessee walking horse. He gets a lot of ideas like this.

So of course, we neeeeded to go to the
Wisconsin Horse Show so he could check out the horses. (Background: He knows absolutely nothing about horses and has ridden a total of once.) So off we go to the Horse show. The highlight of the day was the viewing of the Stallions who were on offer for stud. Beautiful horses, amazing personalities. Each horse was introduced and spoken highly of, “Gentle disposition, fine colts, not a mark on the females…”. My 5 yo daughter nudged me and asked why these horses were all male.

I said, “Because these horses are all going to be daddies so the owners want to show everyone what kind of daddies they will be.”

She thought about this for a few minutes and then asked,

“Did daddy do this when you were picking him out to be our daddy?”

Long pause,


“Well then how did you know he would be a good daddy?”

“Um, he looked like he’d make a fine daddy when I met him”

She looked at me like I had been totally irresponsible.

P.S. My husband decided he liked the Foxtrotters best so he entered a drawing for one. Luckily the drawing isn’t until August, when we will actually be in Tennessee, instead of storing the horse in our condo.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Clothing for the South

Summer approaches and I am sadly storing away my lovely long down coat and I realize suddenly that I will not need to wear this LLDC anymore, for in Chattanooga, the temperature will not drop to minus 20 F very often. (i.e. the next ice age). The coat is ankle length, very durable, has a hood with a soft layer of fox fur around the edges and has the nicest down filling one could ask for. Will I give it away? Will I sell it on E-bay? No, no, no! It has been my security blanket. It went with me to the hospital when I had a severe reaction to antibiotics. I could go out in ANY weather and feel comfy. It wrapped me as I blogged in a cold living room. It smells very faintly of rose.

My husband, who never gets rid of anything ever, thinks I’m silly to keep it. No. People will have to pry it out of my hot, sweaty, dead-from-heat-exhaustion hands. I don’t know how but I will find a way to use this coat. (Suggestions are welcome)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Southern Fashion

It was amazing, like nothing we’d ever seen. You didn’t want to stare but you had to. You couldn’t hear a word she was saying. It was like Steve Martin’s nose in Roxanne. You just had to look. It was “An indescribable wonder” (Kevin Henke). The children stared in awe. It was truly, BIG HAIR.

We were in an expensive store in the men's fine clothing, looking for suitable replacements for the luggage my husband forgot at home when we were approached by this very kind Sales Associate, who was, for the record, very tastefully dressed. It was the coif that really threw us.

I found this picture on a site called Beauty and the Bouffant. I had to edit it a little to match our vision. And the woman we were talking to had hers in almost a Mohawk sort of bouffant with wings out to the sides, but this is really, really close. This hairstyle is definitely not something we would see every day around these parts. But just in case you think I’m being unduly harsh or judgmental, we do have lots of the dreaded Mullet in so many shapes and sizes they cannot be summed up with a picture. Why would I mention just one woman out of all the rest in Chattanooga? Because she is not one woman. Her sisteren are everywhere. Maybe the heat makes women feel they have to get the hair off their necks and a ponytail just won’t do. Maybe the smell of hairspray is more attractive in humid climates. Maybe there is a deep, socio-psychological reason for the need to enlarge ones head to gigantic proportions. I just don’t know!

You say 'Sale' I say 'Sell'

Ooops!  My first accent problem happened today.  The mortgage specialist working on our house asked if we had a certain contract on our present home.  I answered, only a contract to “SELL” with our realtor.  (This is a prime piece of knowledge so that everyone knows your serious..)  Our Broker heard contract to “Sale”.  Big difference, so all our approvals had to be redone.  It took us a few minutes to sort the whole thing our because neither of us could tell what the other one was saying even then, both being pronounced “SAYELL” in Southern.

Which reminds me, when we came to visit during a Jewish holiday last year, we were invited to a family’s house for dinner one night (it was Passover, which has great ceremony attached to the dinner, so it’s kind of a big thing).  The woman at the synagogue who introduced us told us in a whisper, “Now watch out ya’ll, they are from New York and their accent can really hurt your ears sometimes…”

Our accent, originating in Colorado, seems to be a bit gentler on the ear.  Who new?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Culture Shock

Why am I writing this redux. When I found out we were moving to the Buckle of the Bible Belt I frantically went on-line to find anything I could on living in the South that might give a hint on our situation. Now, if you’ve ever tried, there is nothing on ‘Living in the North’ that anyone has wrote for Southerners moving to New York City. There should be. I can’t even imagine the culture shock. Same for us. We’ve had no middle ground, no living in, say, Oklahoma, or the southern Midwest that might have given some warning. Not even a vacation to Disney World (yet).

Now, living in a small town in Wisconsin did prepare us for a couple of things, such as a politically conservative climate, but heck, Madison is 10 minutes away and that is NOT a bastion of the GOP. We also encountered folks here in our small town who had never known what a synagogue was and felt very sorry we didn’t celebrate Christmas. I’ve never in my life met so much innocent ignorance about people of the Jewish faith, or for that matter any other non-Christian faith. I’ve had countless bizarre conversations with children and adults about whether I believe Jesus was born..(yes), then I must not like him (what?!), and my people killed him. (All around re-education needed there.) I've had to explain countless times that I thought Jesus was indeed a great figure in history and that, as a Jew, my family has taken a different path in religion, but that God and Creation are for everyone.

Oddly, this was not a problem at ALL in Chattanooga. A private Episcopal school had a Rabbi come in and talk fairly often, everyone knew where the 2 synagogues were in town and people actually enquired about Passover happening at the same time as Easter. Non-Jews introduced us to Jews so we could be comfortable having some of the ‘Tribe’ nearby. All of this there-by shattering one view that we had of the South, that there was rampant religious bigotry. I mean, the KKK doesn’t exactly have the best PR.

This is not too say that there is no reason for the Buckle of the Bible Belt moniker. If you are in any way shape or form Christian, you are fair game to be recruited into some other different area of Christianity. While a simple “Actually we’re Jewish” does it for us, this will not work for anyone else. I’m pretty sure there are more Churches than restaurants and anyone wanting a tax break can set up a little house, put a Cross up and be in business. There is a giant 6 story Cross with Christmas lights on it just as you drive into town, businesses hold prayer sessions and so does the airport. I try to picture all of this going on in Seattle or San Francisco.

I do appreciate the ‘Lord saving us’ everyday, as we can use all the help we can get and I’m pretty sure ‘The Lord’ does not differentiate nearly so much as we humans do. Frankly, I am a deeply religious person, just not in the way most conventional religious doctrine dictates. So as long as a person walks the walk as well as talkin' the talk, being in a religious community doesn't cause me concern. In fact, we might just all have things in common that we never knew.

Bad (good) Bad Southern Food

Southern states have one BIG problem that I can see right off the bat. It's a BIIG problem and It isn't getting fixed quick. Unfortunately its biggest problem is also one of its biggest strengths, which is the food.

There are more fast food spots than I have ever seen anywhere and these are not like ones in Boulder or Seattle, like "Schwarma Vegi King" or something. These are "We are trying to make the biggest fattest hamburger with as much fried pork on it as we can" kind of places.

There are signs like "Super bacon burger comes with a whole deep-fried pig and a deep-fried snickers bar for desert" kind of places. "We don't supersize, that IS our size".And it shows..and shows.

Tennessee is one of the top ten fattest states with a huge portion of morbidly obese people. When we walked into a Chinese Buffet, there was no getting around the fat, I mean fact that people were taking advantage of the ol' "Get what you want but eat what you get". It's almost some sort of conspiracy to wipe out the poor and those with no knowledge of healthy eating habits through heart disease and obesity. We had little choice while staying in a hotel looking for a new house, but to eat in these fine-dining establishments. After my first giant shake it couldn't look at another one, however good it was. My DD and I never wanted to see fried fish again, ever. And even though the best bar-b-que can be found in the South, after one dripping greasy glorious meal, we felt like pigs to market.

We did finally track down sort of soup and salad emporium. Not real busy, as you can imagine, kind of grubby and run down, but salad, yet veggies, glorious veggies finally! Ahhh, my carrot my love....

P.S. Just for the record, the shake in question was a mocha caramel with whip cream and hot fudge. The caramel was warm and kind'a slurped up into your mouth like heaven in a glass. Which was about 12 inches high and not thin. It took a while. A looong while....

P.P.S. On the up side, gyms are the new
20 and they are springing up everywhere