“You are heroes, and a book should be written about each one of you,” said Windsor businessman, Bill Tepperman addressing the newly inducted group of immigrants from various corners of the globe. The year was 1985, the occasion our citizenship ceremony as we stood among other immigrants in our final step to Canadian citizenship. Mr. Tepperman’s words certainly rang true for me, foreshadowing the release of my memoir, An Immoral Proposal, last November.
After we left South Africa in 1975, there was no turning back. Even though we got married in England, the South African apartheid government didn’t recognize our marriage. With South African passports we couldn’t return to our birthplace – we were virtually stateless.
July 1, Canada Day, is the equivalent of America’s 4th July. I treasure my Canadian citizenship as Canada accepted me unconditionally. When I became a Canadian citizen, I was required to turn in my South African passport and surrender my nationality, which I was more than happy to do. South Africa, under apartheid, had denied me the most basic human rights and freedoms – freedom of speech, freedom of movement and the right to vote.
Addressing us new citizens with passion, Judge Kasurak, herself an immigrant, said words to the effect, “You are all Canadian citizens and have the same rights as Canadian-born citizens. You are not not second-class because you were born elsewhere, or because of your skin colour or religious beliefs. What a ceremony it was. Dignitaries right from the Ontario Lieutenant Governor-General down to the Windsor, mayor and council representatives graced the occasion with their presence. Judge Kasurak, at the end of the application interviewing process, chose my very own Dearly Beloved to deliver the address on behalf of the immigrant inductees. He really did me proud that day.
Here in North America, July is about barbeques, strawberries and patriotism. It was my honour and joy to host my ladies social group, The Zoomerangs, for our Canada Day celebration. My big, languid willow nested thirty of us donned in red and white in its shade like a hen with her chicks. After a hearty potluck feast, we spent the day in fun and games including a scavenger hunt till it was tea and dessert time for my pièce de résistance, my patriotic maple leaf flag cake.
This is my segue into my featured recipe, Strawberry Fool. I used to call it strawberry mousse till someone pointed out that a mousse is technically a savoury or sweet dish into which whipped cream is folded resulting in a light and fluffy texture. Well, because mine has jelly in it, I call it a fool – fooling people thinking it’s a mousse! Many North Americans would probably regard it as a Jell-O salad much to the perplexity and consternation of us schooled in the far-flung British colonies. Sorry, I couldn’t find a Strawberry Fool photo in my food file mainly because the dessert was so good and had been gobbled up by the time I thought to take the photo. I’ve got one of this exact recipe but made with raspberries and equally yummy.
Speaking about food (am I making your mouth water?) I am working on an e-recipe book featuring some of the recipes I’ve posted in the newsletters over these past months as well as some other made-from-scratch creations. I hope to have it published hopefully by end of October. So watch this space!