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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer finds answer to a burning question

I belong to the generation that left India when everyone  still used matches to light gas burners for cooking. The coveted ‘magic wands’ were just beginning to come into use.

In our many years in Dubai, I used and got accustomed to the wand that one clicked to activate a spark that lit the burner.

When we moved to Canada, a quarter century ago, our rental apartment and then our first home, both had electric cooking ranges. Which took some getting used to.

I know there are super efficient ones, but it always seemed to me that everything took longer to cook.

I understood that the fact most of my pots and pans were more suited to Indian cooking as they were rounded at the bottom, not flat, like the sets available here, had something to do with this.

A gas flame ‘holds’ the rounded pan. On an electric coil, only a small surface was in contact with the pan.

But rotis also just didn’t taste the same puffed on a tawa instead of an open flame.

Our second home also came with an electric range, but this time I put my foot down. I insisted we get a gas range or the deal was off, I wasn’t moving! Faced with such an ultimatum, my husband caved and we went looking for a gas range. Not a simple process, as I learned.

The choice when it came to brands and prices was pretty intimidating, but we persevered and finally narrowed it down to the one that fit the budget and our needs the best. The sales-lady at the showroom explained how the gas oven worked (a whole new concept for me, that!). But there was not a word on how to actually light the gas burners.

So I asked. The lady looked surprised. “Why, you just turn it on,” she said. “I know, but what lights it? Where’s the wand?” I asked.

“Wand? I’m not sure I understand,” responded the hapless woman, probably wondering which cave I had emerged from. “You turn this knob, see? Obviously it’s not lighting now as there is no gas connection, but that’s what you do.”

“So, no matches, no wand?” I persisted. I wasn’t about to put down a couple of thousand dollars for a cooking range without understanding how the darn thing worked.

“Oh no, no matches!” she said, finally cluing in. “These turn on when you turn the knobs.” And so I learned how technology had moved on while I was still struggling to make rotis on an electric range.                                                                

                                                                                                                                   – Usha Salvi


 What’s your story? Every newcomer, no matter how savvy or where he or she comes from, has a Fresh Off the Plane (FOP) story to share about their early days in Canada. Do you want to share your story? E-mail it to us at canadaboundimmigrant@rogers.com.

Posted: Apr 30, 2017

May 2020

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Immigration Peel Canada

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