The Craft of Cakes, a Unique Expression of Bangladeshi Identity – Fi2W on the Radio


Shamsun Nehar with one of her creations

Michigan is home to the country’s third largest population of Bangladeshi Americans. An estimated 15,000 Bangladeshis live in the Greater Detroit area. Many express their culture through their Muslim religion, the way they dress, and the foods they eat. Shamsun Nehar is a Bangladeshi-American Muslim woman who has found her identity through the art of cakes. In her story as a Feet in 2 Worlds Food Journalism Fellow at WDET, Nargis Rahman prepared this profile of Shamsun Nehar, an engineer by day and cake baker by night.

Cake baking isn’t a traditional craft for Bangladeshi women who are the primary family caretakers. Shamsun wants to change how creative jobs are perceived in her community. “I really want to grow with this business not just … for me, but I also want to show people that…you can do other things. You don’t have to just chose one thing and live with it, you can be creative, you can enjoy your life. Eventually I want to teach other people who are interested in how to do these things.”

Read more about the Fi2W Food Journalism Fellows.

Support for the fellowship comes from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and through matching gifts from station donors, The International Association of Culinary Professionals’ foundation, The Culinary Trust, and its Growing Leaders Food Writing program. The Food Writing Program is funded with the support of the Boston Foundation.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The J.M. Kaplan Fund, an anonymous donor and readers like you.

AboutNargis Rahman
Nargis Rahman is a Bangladeshi-American Muslim writer and a mother of three. She is passionate about community journalism in the Greater Detroit area and about giving American Muslims and people of color a voice in today’s media. A former journalism fellow for Feet in 2 Worlds/WDET 101.9 FM, her work has appeared in Haute Hijab, Eater, Detroiter Magazine, The Muslim Observer and others.