Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sugar Maple Memories

We had a maple tree in our front yard when I was a kid. In the summer, my sister and I would set up our lemonade stand under its shady canopy. In the fall, we’d rake the leaves and play hide and seek in the piles. And in winter, it stood barren, its skeletal frame silhouetted against sepia skies. But in springtime it gave us sap!

When the sun started to climb higher and daytime temps rose to the “I don’t need my mittens” degree, my mother would dig out the spigots and my dad’s hand drill and she’d tap the tree.

Then we’d wait.

If the weather cooperated the pails would fill at a good clip and when we had enough on hand, Mom would drag out the old washtub, scrub it out and set it on the fire pit. Then we’d pull up lawn chairs, toast a few marshmallows and wait for the steam to rise.

The process was long and tedious, especially for Mom, but it was worth it. That old tree yielded a half gallon of the sweetest syrup on earth. The only thing sweeter is the memory of how it came to be.

We visited a maple syrup farm stand recently and came home with a half gallon of dark amber and this cookbook. Here is my rendition of Maple Beyond Pancakes’ recipe for carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting.

You can buy the cookbook here

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