Sunday, April 13, 2014

Really, really slow food

I love this photo. Maple syrup bubbling on the stove, reducing to a hot chewy toffee that will be poured over snow to caramelize instantly into a delicious candy concoction.The reflections caught in glass: the red-checkered tablecloth composing the other half of the pot, Lois and I with our cameras. Everyone waiting for the moment when the toffee will be ready to pour on the snow. 

It was quite a wait from the time the syrup was poured into the pot.  But really, even longer still... the long months of winter, the gathering of the sap, dripping slowly into buckets and taking hours to fill to the rim. Then gathering the buckets, pouring the sap into tanker, stoking the fire, tending the fite, and boiling it all down to syrup, hours and hours more.  With a 30:1 ratio, that's a lot of sap to make a bit of syrup. A lot of waiting.

Later,  back to Lois' and Mark's place on the Hill for a wonderful dinner. Not so easy getting up to the house. We parked our car and then all hopped in the 4-wheel drive, with chains on the tires, to get us up to the top. Not a trip easily made. I got to thinking what it must have been like two hundred years ago, winters all the more isolating. Maple syrup time demanded families get together to share the labour. Warmer days and sweet time spent together.

Great to share it with Lois and Mark.

For just a few weeks, maple syrup time.
We boil and boil and boil and boil it all day long,
Till ninety sev’n percent of water evaporates just like this song
And when what is left is syrupy don’t leave it too long -
As in life or revolution, rarely is there a quick solution, 
Anything worthwhile takes a little time. 
We boil and boil and boil and boil it all day long. 
When what is left is syrupy, don’t leave it on the flame too long. 
But seize the minute, build a new world, sing an old song. 
Keep up the fire! Maple syrup time. 
- Pete Seeger singing Maple Syrup Time at 90

1 comment:

Dick Grannan said...


It looks so good I can almost taste it! It is even more fun doing it in Les Cabanes A Sucre in Quebec. Out in the 'sugar house', in the open air and the fresh snow.