Everyday I’m inundated with images and news stories about women’s rights violations, racial discrimination, totalitarianism, hate crimes and the degradation of civil liberties that has befallen on our neighbours to the south. My heart pounds most days with thunderous anger and empathy for those countless marginalized groups and individuals that have become victimized in America. How did a world-leading civilized nation end up on such a slippery slope of unraveling decades of progress in basic human rights?
Until recently, I felt proud of Canada more than ever. I believed that for the most part, Canadians were all about celebrating differences and diversity. I almost felt smug, thinking that we were immune to the atrocities happening in America.
I’m of Korean ethnicity but have been a Canadian citizen since I was an infant. I simultaneously feel connected to being both Canadian and Korean on a racial and cultural level. I don’t think about being “more Canadian” or “more Korean.” Nor is it something that’s discussed amongst my friends or peers. Rarely do I question my nationality or if I’m visibly different from other humans surrounding me. I’m a human being, period. And those around me are human beings too. However, every now and then, I’m reminded that not everyone shares this view. There are still the token few even in our great country of Canada who’s ignorance is blaring.
I had an encounter recently (which was not anywhere near the intensity of some of the horror stories out there), but it was a snapshot of some of the ignorance that lies quietly amongst us.
Last week I headed to my local grocer to pick up the black plums I needed for this recipe. They always have hand-picked fresh and rare fruits and vegetables. Like Buddha’s hand lemon or blood oranges and heirloom carrots. As I selected my black plums, a lady came up to me and asked me if we carried any milk. I can see why she thought I worked there. I’m Korean and the shop was owned by a Chinese family so she probably made a quick assumption that I worked there.
“No. There’s no milk here. But there’s a Shoppers Drug Mart about 10 shops north of here. And if I’m not mistaken…the milk is on the main floor towards the back.”
I didn’t mind being asked…it was a conceivable mistake to think I worked there and I was happy to help.
“Thank you. Your English is amazing!” She replied.
“You’re English is amazing too!” I snapped back.
She gave me the most bewildered look and left. I paid for my plums, walked home and started baking.
I normally would have shrugged this off but in light of what is happening out there, I felt a sting. I don’t think the lady meant any malice or ill-intent in her patronizing comment. What angered me was that I didn’t speak up to help her to understand the weight of her ignorant “compliment.” I have had enough. What I took away from this encounter was that I am just as responsible to dispel stereotypes whenever I’m faced with them, no matter how big or small. I have a voice and have as much right to use it as the next person. I’ve decided from this day forward, to always speak up and not to be that stereotypical sheepish and polite “Canadian”. Rather a strong, vocal and visible human being. To me, that is truly Canadian.
Bon app! (I think all this fury made this cake so delicious)
- FOR THE CAKE
- ¾ Cup (100 g) AP flour
- ¼ Cup (40 g) fine semolina
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 2 large eggs
- ½ Cup (115 g) unsalted butter room temperature
- ¼ cup cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 40-50 grams of dark 70% chocolate chopped
- FOR THE PLUMS and CARAMEL
- 1 or 2 black ripe plums, stoned and sliced
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 1½ table spoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350F, line the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and grease the pan with butter and dusted flour or baking spray
- Remove pitt from plum and slice into ½ inch slices. I used one plum in the pic, however two plums is ideal.
- Line the bottom of the 9 inch cake pan with the sliced plums and set aside. Plum slices can overlap each other
- In a small skillet, on medium heat, bring the ½ cup sugar and1/4 water to a boil(about 5 minutes)- DO NOT STIR while you're waiting for the sugar water to boil
- Once its turned a lovely amber/caramel tone, remove from heat and add the butter and stir until the butter has been incorporated.
- Pour all the caramel over the plums in the cake pan and set aside
- FOR THE CAKE...In a large bowl or stand mixer, sift the flour, fine semolina, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cinnamon powder and mix for about 15 seconds.
- Add the butter and beat (paddle attachment) until the mixture looks mealy and coarse
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Scrape sides and bottom every so often
- Beat on medium for about a minute until the mixture is fluffy about 1½ minutes
- Add the cream and vanilla and beat another half minute or so
- Fold in the chopped pieces of 70% dark chocolate
- Take spatula and spread batter over plums in cake pan evenly
- Bake for about 40 minutes. Start checking/testing at 35 minutes with a toothpick in centre ...should come out clean.
- Allow to cool in pan for half an hour before loosening cake sides with a butter knife and inverting cake on a plate
- Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream