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Newcomer learns how the cookie crumbles

We lived in Bahrain for many years before moving to Canada. There, too, like in India, we exchanged sweets with friends on Diwali and Eid.

I sent a cake to the school with some other treats for our kids’ birthdays, but it was always a store-bought cake as I was not a confident baker. 

After moving to Canada, we continued the exchanging of sweets with friends we made here, but for school, things changed slightly. 

I didn’t see anyone sending a whole cake to school for their child’s birthday, just cookies or cup cakes, at the most. However, other moms I met in the school yard also sent these treats for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, etc. 

As new immigrants, money was tight and I didn’t want to buy the treats each time. But as I wasn’t sure I could actually bake anything, I asked my new friend, for help. 

She looked surprised. “Help? Why, just follow the instructions on any recipe!” 

I had to confess that not being someone who baked, I didn’t have any recipes.

Karen offered to bring some over and true to her word, handed me a few the next day. “These are easy-peasy, you’ll be fine!” she assured me.

I went home, made a list of the ingredients, went grocery shopping for the ones I didn’t have at home and set everything out on the counter, ready to bake.

I put the first batch of cookies in. The recipe said to bake for 8-10 minutes, so I left it in for 10, just to be sure. 

However, when I took the tray out, they were soft and barely darker than the batter I had used. Now, for someone used to the brown-ness and crisp texture of biscuits back home, they looked positively unbaked. I pushed the tray back in, muttering, “Follow the recipe, she says. Hah!”

I took the tray out five minutes later, congratulating myself on how nice the cookies looked. But when I removed them from the baking sheet to cool and turned them over, they were dark and almost burnt looking on the bottom. 

I called Karen in panic. “Why did you leave them in longer?” she asked. “They continue to bake with residual heat and come out perfect if you just follow the recipe.”

I put the overdone batch away for consumption at home and started another one for school. Amateur cookies were perhaps okay for school treats, burnt ones, not!

Gaining confidence as I baked more often, I learnt that taking them out a couple of minutes earlier than what it says in the recipes works even better. 


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: Feb 3, 2018

August 2019

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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