When it got to be supper time, I decided that we needed some cornbread to eat with the soup, so I whipped up a batch in my well-loved, kind of ancient cast iron skillet. While it was cooking, I brewed a batch of "sweet tea" (AKA "iced tea"). I realized that I have been down here in the South long enough that I am beginning to "acculturate." Making tea and cornbread seemed like a perfectly natural accompaniment for the soup -- there was no question in my mind that meal demanded it. Cornbread was a rarity to me growing up, especially the kind that they make here in the South. I am fairly sure I had some version of it as a kid, but mostly when I used to think of cornbread I thought of a kind of round loaf we used to buy that happened to contain some cornmeal. It was bubbly and chewy, but more like loaf of artisan sandwich bread than the soft, crumbly skillet bread that is made down here.
I was plenty familiar with tea growing up, but to me "tea" is hot tea, served with milk and sugar. If you ask for tea down here, you will be given a tall glass of incredibly saccharine clear black tea served over ice. I'm still not quite Southern enough to drink proper "sweet tea," which is sweet enough that it sets my teeth on edge! But a tall glass of not-too-sweet tea is an incredibly refreshing drink, and I have developed quite a liking for it.
The whole point of this story is that it is amazing to me how quickly you can reorder your "world view" and become used to a different way of doing things and a new sense of "normal". I'm still a Canuck at heart, but after nearly 8 years, and many batches of cornbread and glasses of sweet tea (oh, and the best barbecue I've ever tasted), I feel like I can begin to call myself a Southerner-in-the-making. This dual sense of identity is a nice feeling -- the anthropologist in me loves it!