Wednesday, December 19, 2012

maple syrup, or, putting away childish things

You know the old adage about when it rains it pours? I'm discovering that this can be applied to wonderful things as well as bad.

When I was a kid my family rationed maple syrup, which was collectively one of our most favorite things in the entire world. We often had pancakes or sourdough waffles on weekend mornings and we would drizzle the littlest bit of the "good stuff" on bites, and then supplement this with Aunt Jemima's or Mrs. Butterworth's or whatever brand was on sale at the time.

I grew up with this sensibility -- this protectiveness and drawing out of a single bottle of maple syrup for as long as humanly possible -- so ingrained in my very being that even now, as an independent and fully grown woman, I cannot quite overcome the notion that maple syrup is to be used as sparingly, as lovingly, as one can use it.

As of today and a very sweet Christmas gift from my lovely boss, I will soon have nine bottles of maple syrup in my apartment. Two open bottles in the fridge (one ubiquitous traditional plastic jug, one delicious chai-infused concoction from these lovely folks via my wonderful Cindy). A sampler of four bottles of different grades from my beloved Marcos. Two of those funny maple-leaf-shaped glass bottles in the pantry closet from the best neighbors ever. And now this bottle from Mary, nestled in red tissue paper and sparkly Christmasy gift bag. Somehow over the year's it's become the thing to give me -- the thing that dear friends have discovered I love more than almost anything.

Clearly the time has come to start reveling in my ridiculously large maple syrup collection, to start consuming it with wild and gluttonous abandon: pouring it over oatmeal and yogurt and ice cream, using it in baking and braising and sweetening my never-ending cups of tea and coffee, maybe even trying friend Jessica's crazy cauliflower maple soup recipe. I will spend days adding maple syrup to everything, and nights dreaming of this gorgeous liquid oozing between my teeth, dripping from spoons and glistening down the insides of mixing bowls and turning everything it touches sticky and golden and bright.

They say eventually we must put away childish things. I don't imagine this is quite what Corinthians had in mind, but still, aren't I the lucky girl?

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