“Happy Maple Weekend!” as Todd said in his “Taste of Friday” feature yesterday, touting his recipe for braided egg bread flavored with maple syrup and walnuts. I tasted, and it did make me happy. I have a sweet tooth, and never more so than when it comes to our own tree-based sweetener.
It started with my first winter in the North Country, in 1958. After dinner one night, my mom got a jar of maple syrup out of the refrigerator. Being four, going on five, I thought, “Cool! Pancakes for dessert.” But instead, she poured the whole thing into a saucepan and turned on the burner. I got up onto the step stool to watch as she stirred. Something new was happening.
After a few minutes she said, “Put on your jacket, we’re going outside.” It was kind of late to be going out to play and big fat flakes were falling thickly, but OK. Then I noticed she had the saucepan and a potholder. And then my jaw dropped as she took the hot syrup and poured it all out over the fresh snow in the yard. At that age I didn’t know much, but I knew these rules, 1) Don’t waste food!, 2) Don’t make a mess!, and–in a town that heated with coal and was overrun by unchained dogs, 3) Don’t eat the snow!
Without explanation, she collected long droopy amber strings off the snow and we went back inside. Once gathered back around the table, she passed a bowl of it around and just nodded as if to say, “Eat!”
Magic. It has no rules; it needs no explanation.