South Carolinians, I conclude, take their eating damn seriously. Their idea of lunch is my idea of dinner; and their idea of dinner is on a whole other plane. We went with a cousin to a K and W’s near Simpsonville, SC, for lunch; this is a chain of cafeterias located in West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina. For about 3.50 I got a heaping plate of white rice covered with country steak and gravy. For just over a buck I got a side of black eyed peas; I had something else too…maybe a little salad.
Carol and I ate with another cousin, at the original Stax in Greenville, home of the famous deuces wild breakfast, two apparently of everything. I had a club sandwich that covered one half of a large platter and on the other half was a heaping mound of French fries. Also in Fletcher NC, Carol and I had lunch with another cousin at a local place called the Acropolis where I ordered—over my cousin’s warnings—the lamb gyro platter with Greek salad. Damn, another huge amount of everything, and I ate it all for 7.95.
And sweet tea. Wherever you go–sweet tea. I grew up on sweet tea as a matter of fact, and the only place I have ever found it is back there in the South. I order iced tea in California and they bring you this tea with ice in it and nothing else. With sweet tea, you boil some water and dump three or four teabags in it and let it seep and boil till it is practically black, and then you put in a heaping cup of sugar and add water to stretch it out a bit, and put the whole thing in the refrigerator and let it cool.
No wonder I am a caffeine head. I started drinking sweet tea as a kid and drank it all through the time I lived with my parents. I wasn’t allowed to drink coffee as a kid, since that was an adult drink and would stunt my growth. But what the hell, pray tell, is the difference. Maybe coffee cost more. I remember now I made sweet tea and our particular touch to sweet tea was adding to it, along with the sugar, a small container of frozen lemonade. Clearly, this stuff was the original energy drink.
I had a special lunch at Aunt Addies. It was pretty hot, on a Sunday afternoon, as I recollect, and Aunt Addie wasn’t up to fixing lunch for everybody. But earlier in the day, I had admired some of Uncle Ed’s tomatoes that were sitting on a sideboard ripening in the sun. I picked one up said it smelled like a real tomato. Uncle Ed said I should eat one before I left. When it seemed like we were fixing to go, Uncle Ed said I should eat my tomato and did I want to make a tomato sandwich out of it.
Now I don’t remember having ever eaten a tomato sandwich, but I must have because as soon as he said, tomato sandwich I knew what to do. Take two pieces of white bread, slather them both with mayonnaise; sprinkle pepper over the mayonnaise, slice the tomato as thin as possible, stack the pieces high so you use all the tomato (if it’s on the small side), salt the tomato. And put it altogether. Damn that was good. Carol took a bite and wanted her own tomato sandwich. So we ended up staying another hour as we all ate tomato sandwiches and drank sweet tea.
I am talking so much about food because I gained about six pounds in ten days in SC.
That’s Aunt Addie’s house on Chipwood off Lisbon Road right near Mountville, SC.