Thursday, December 29, 2011

How do you make iced tea?

It's no shock to anyone around me that I'm not southern. I wasn't born in the south. I wasn't raised in the south.  I came here when I was 20.  There are many thing about me that will always be particularly northern.  I talk fast, faster when I'm around my northern family.  I always have a clean and dry walkways and stairs after every snowstorm even when my only tools are a dustpan, some kitty litter and a box of salt from the kitchen, and I pronounce the word OIL as though there is a Y in the middle of it (vs the more southern pronunciation of 'ole.')  However, after spending more than half of my life here, I have adopted a few southern habits.  I say "Y'all" a lot.  It's so much nicer than the northern version "you guys" and I drink iced tea all year long. Not just iced tea, but sweet iced tea. And yes, there is a difference.

It didn't take long for the iced tea habit to start.  It's available everywhere here, is generally bottomless where some restaurants charge for refills of soda (oh, and I call it soda!) and it's nice on a hot day and let's face it, we have a lot of hot days!  In New England, if we wanted iced tea, our options were canned, powdered, or simply unsweetened hot tea left to cool. They are all pretty horrible. I had no idea how bad things were until I tasted the real thing! The tea here is sweet and cold and clear.  It seemed so simple, yet trying to recreate it at home never seemed to work.  Thankfully, I met and married a southern man, who came armed with the secret to making iced tea at home.  He taught me how to do it, probably so I'd stop asking him to make more.  Once I had the knowledge, I became the person in charge of making the tea at my family functions, partly because the tea is good, partly because my cooking is that bad! Now I'm at a place in my life where I feel this knowledge needs to be shared not just with the world, but with my children!  Kids, the next time you ask me to make more tea, I'm emailing you a link to this page.  All this stuff is in the kitchen!

It's simple really.  You'll need a gallon pitcher, some tea bags, some sugar, a measuring cup, and a way to heat water.

Monday, December 26, 2011

How do you get a kid to take icky medicine?

While not an official reader question, I discussed this today with the nurse practitioner at a local walk in clinic while she was trying to prescribe medicine to my sick kid, (we'll call her "Princess," she's 10) She's asthmatic and now has pneumonia. The NP was trying to decide what to give her and Princess was critiquing her medicine choices. "Is that a big pill? I don't like big pills...Is that a liquid? Does it taste gross? I hate gross liquids" While I encourage the kids to play an active part in their medical care, since they need to be willing participants, especially with medicine, this was getting crazy. Because I knew there were 7 other people on the waiting list and this nurse hadn't had lunch yet, I suggested we just go with the traditional zithromax and prednisone. I suggested orapred, which isn't so bad, but Princess said no liquid steroids. (one course of prelone in one's lifetime will make anyone scared of liquid steroids. I'm 42 and I can still taste the horrific liquid my mom gave me when I was about 7!) I told the NP to just rx the tablets and I'd 'fix them' so she'd take them. Princess was happy with that. The NPs ears pricked up and she wanted to know my secret for making prednisone tolerable!

Over the years, I've been told various 'secret tricks' from doctors and pharmacists. One said to give the kids a spoonful of jelly before the medicine, one claimed the liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries before and after the medicine would block the taste, peanut butter, chocolate syrup, pancake syrup, soda, I think I've heard them all. I've also tried them all. Heck, one year I gave my oldest kid $1 for every dose of prelone he didn't throw up on me! The closest we've come to really masking the taste is chocolate. Letting the kids suck on a chocolate kiss before and after the medicine helped a little, but a few years ago, I took it to the next level. Chocolate coating!

This is awesome for prednisone, but also works with other chalky tablets like penicillin. It makes them more slippery to swallow and keeps the nastiness hidden from the taste buds just long enough to get it down. More after the jump, including pictures! Please ignore my dinner dishes waiting to be washed!