A Great Luxury
and it only costs two bucks
We don’t really think about it very often, but we have, at any given moment, many great luxuries within our grasp. I’m enjoying one at this very moment, and it’s a luxury that many of us enjoy every day (especially here in the south): it’s called sweet iced tea. Interesting fact: 80% of the tea consumed in America is iced tea.
Sweet iced tea is pretty amazing stuff. There are a few different things going on here:
Tea leaves generally don’t grow well here in America. Originally (and we’re talking thousands of years ago) tea came from China.
About a quarter of the world’s tea still comes from China, and the next biggest portion comes from India. Most of the tea we drink comes from over 7000 miles away.
A couple of hundred years ago tea came over the sea in barrels on old wooden ships. Many men risked their lives every day for tea. It’s less risky today, but it’s good to remember the people who risked their lives for this delicious amber liquid.
Sugar cane is another thing that we don’t really grow much here in America. Most of the world’s sugar comes from Brazil and India, and is shipped in great quantities and distrubuted all over the place.
The average human alive today eats about 55lbs of sugar per year. The average American eats about 130lbs of sugar per year.
Feeding the American sweet tooth means shipping 49 billion pounds of sugar half way around the world every year.
Am I the only one who is amazed that it’s free in every restaurant?
And last but not least, ice. Ice is pretty easy to come across these days, so we tend to take it for granted. Modern freezers haven’t been around that long though, can you imagine what an honor it was to have ice several hundred years ago?
When you live in a temperate climate such as New Mexico, having ice was a huge process. It went something like this:
- Hire a band of men with mules.
- Those men travel north for months. Eventually they find a frozen lake, where they cut a two-ton block of ice and put it on a cart.
- They cover it in sawdust, to help insulate it, and head back to your home.
- In the meantime, you build a special house with lots of sawdust. This house is your ice house.
- The men return, put the ice in your specially insulated house, and cover it with sawdust.
- You pay the men ridiculously large amounts of money.
- You prepare some tea that you imported, go out to your ice house, and chip off a corner to fill your pitcher.
Don’t take it for granted: we all live in luxury, and luxury is wherever you go. Luxury isn’t a golden watch, or nicely shined shoes, or eating out every day. Luxury is sweet iced tea.blog comments powered by Disqus