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FRESH OFF THE PLANE: Newcomer passes freshness test!

I break the tips of bhindi (okra) before buying to check for freshness. If it snaps off, it’s fresh, if not, it’s not! It’s a simple test that everyone uses. 

Or so I thought, until I was stopped by a store employee once during our early years in Canada. 

“Ma’am, do you need help with anything?” he asked. 

I said I was fine, and didn’t require any assistance.

“Then, if I may ask, why are you doing that?” he said, pointing to the okra that I was snapping the ends of. 

He was polite enough, but I felt I’d been caught doing something odd, if not outright wrong. 

I explained the concept of the freshness test and also told him that I was taking the ones with the broken tips – that I didn’t want the ones that didn’t break. As I wasn’t leaving tail-less okra in the bin, I guess he didn’t have any reason to prevent my doing so, but he didn’t look too happy as he walked away. 

So it’s an Indian thing, I concluded, Canadians don’t do this.

When I related the incident to my friend, an Italian, she grinned widely and said, “Good thing I wasn’t grocery shopping with you. I always break the stems off tomatoes-on-the-vine! Who wants to pay for the extra weight when it’s going to be thrown in the garbage?”

And she was leaving  those stems in the bin!

– Pratima Sharma


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: Oct 1, 2019

May 2020

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