Wednesday, November 20, 2013

sticking out

Growing up in a small suburb, I was one of those children who didn't quite fit into the norm of what your average Canadian girl looked like.

With immigrant parents, it was equally as difficult to balance the two worlds that I lived in....the world that held onto the roots and heritage of previous generations, and a world that I was born into--a world that at times, didn't quite respect or understand those roots.

As a child, on the odd occasion during Hallowe'en, my friends and I would receive "white rabbit" candy (it's a taffy-like candy originated from Asia) from a neighbour, and when we would go through our loot, there would be strange remarks about this exotic treat, often ridiculed that it was "weird"  and they wanted to give them away.  And of course to look "cool", I'd play along pretending not to know too much about that candy, so I gathered theirs so I can "get rid of them later".  But deep down, I thought to myself, if those kids only knew how amazingly sweet and yummy those candies were...I guess I benefitted from what they didn't know.

We often take our past experiences, especially childhood ones, and apply them to our own children.  If we were bullied as a child because of our "differences", now as parents, we try to make sure our children assimilate a little more, so they don't suffer the same negative experience.  Or if we didn't fit in because we didn't play the sport that every other kid in the class did, as parents we try to force our kids to do those very same sports, so they don't feel left out like we did.

As tempting as it is to try to make our children's lives "easier", I don't know if this is the right approach.  I think growing up "different" has made me learn to try to accomplish even more.  To fight harder and be even more distinguishable.  In fact, because I was different, I wonder if I was heard more often and took on more leadership qualities because I wasn't drowned out in the mediocrity of being part of a pack.

This year, when I was going through Hallowe'en candy, I found a few traditional Chinese candies in red packages, sticking out amongst the chocolate bars and caramels and I wondered what my kids would do with them.

They didn't even flinch and put them in their pile to keep.  I guess they're much further ahead than I was when I was their age, as they've learned to embrace all things...both the common and different.  And they know that different can be sweet.

Caramel Apples with Chocolate Drizzle

We've often received caramel squares at Hallowe'en, but this year, we didn't get as many, so I wasn't able to use up left over candy for this recipe.  If you do have caramels, you can replace the first four ingredients with about 30 caramels squares.

  • 2 C brown sugar
  • 1 C corn syrup
  • 1/2 C butter
  • Vanilla
  • Approximately 6 large apples. (any kind would do)
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 piece of Baker's Chocolate, melted
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Combine the sugar, corn syrup and butter in a small pot and heat on medium on the stove until the butter is melted.
  • Stir constantly, then add 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Remove from heat and continue stirring until a thin consistency.
  • Stick a popsicle stick into the top of the apples.
  • Dip apples into the caramel.
  • Set apples on a cookie sheet or silpat.
  • Place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes.
  • As the caramel hardens in the fridge, melt the baker's chocolate in the microwave for 2 minutes on low until soft.  Stir until melted.
  • Using a spoon, drizzle the chocolate onto the apples.  
  • Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or until chocolate hardens.


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