Maple Moon

Where we live they have started tapping the trees.  I always get excited when I start seeing buckets and hoses on trees because it means the end of winter, which, where we live, seems eternal at the moment.  When Tim and I lived in rural Connecticut, we lived down the road from a little old man (he was probably in his 80s) who tapped the 20 or so sugar maples in his yard and had his own sugarhouse in his backyard for making it in to maple syrup.  At the time–we were in our early 20s and really didn’t know much–I did not appreciate just how involved this process was.  It takes 30-40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup!  Now, I appreciate that a man in his 80s would sweat in a sugarhouse waiting for his sap to start sheeting.  Actually, I have come to believe that if you want to live into your 100s, move to Connecticut.  They have the healthiest and most active bunch of elderly people per capita in the world, I think.  So, now, our book basket is filled with books about maple syrup.  One of our favorites is Maple Moon:  It’s a story about a Native American boy who discovers that he can overcome physical adversity (he has a bad limp) through ingenuity.  I highly recommend it.  And tonight, in honor of this story, we are having maple syrup-flavored spaghetti.  (This story also tells how his tribe used the maple sap to sweeten their deer meat.) 

Maple Syrup Spaghetti:

Brown 2-3 lbs. of lean ground beef and drain

Add 1/3 cup maple syrup to drained meat

Saute 2 bulbs garlic and 1 onion (all finely chopped) in olive oil until very tender

Combine with meat, including olive oil

Stir in 2 jars of your favorite tomato/basil sauce (or make your own)

Serve with spaghetti that has been lightly tossed with olive oil

Now, I’m off to eat!


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kloppenmum
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 19:40:24

    We don’t have maple trees here, so this is all new to me. I do love rituals though, and the idea of seeing maple buckets at the end of a snowy winter does seem very romantic. Though, as you say, also indicative of hard work to come. Never thought of using maple syrup with meat either. I do love the learning I’m doing through the blogosphere!


  2. Allison
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 19:53:48

    Where I grew up we didn’t have sugar maples either–or at least that I was aware of. Now we live in the northeast of the U.S. and we have maple syrup festivals all spring long. We were reading today that sugar maples are really an American variety of tree. I hadn’t realized that until then. A few years ago I discovered that Ranch dressing is the same way. You never find a salad bar here without Ranch dressing. I was actually surprised that no one I knew overseas had ever heard of it.

    What sort of rituals are going on where you live?


  3. kloppenmum
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 20:39:03

    We tie in with school, so our rituals are: harvest, mid-winter, spring and Christmas. Easter is an odd one here, because it’s autumn – and it doesn’t ‘fit’ quite right in a way. I’ve decided to add in our own All Hallows for the last week of April this year: nationally we’ve had a large mining disaster and now the Christchurch earthquake, plus three deaths in the extended family. We also have a day of rememberance for the World Wars that week, so that should fit well with the mood of the season.
    We have Ranch dressing here, too, but it’s newish.


  4. Allison
    Feb 28, 2011 @ 23:08:31

    I’m chuckling at the thought of Christmas coming after spring … The earth is an amazing planet, LOL!


  5. kloppenmum
    Mar 01, 2011 @ 00:09:16

    We usually go swimming on Christmas Day… I loved being in England/Europe and experiencing white Christmasses – it felt just as right as our hot ones.


  6. hakea
    Mar 01, 2011 @ 04:56:57

    G’day Allison

    Thanks for the book reference. It would have been a good one to include in our tree theme for playgroup, but I don’t think it will arrive in time by the end of the term. Next time. Can you recommend any other tree themed books?

    I wanted to give the kids at playgroup some maple syrup to taste, and talk about the process, but I’ve run out of budget. It’s expensive here.

    Not sure about maple syrup flavoured spaghetti. Interesting.

    Nice post.


  7. Allison
    Mar 01, 2011 @ 18:08:52

    The only “tree” book I could think of was the Giving Tree. I’ll think on it some more, though …


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