Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.
As I drive along my winding route to work, I can see the creek rushing along on my right. The water churns and chugs along, lower than in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, which collapsed segments of this road, but still flowing briskly. Trees line the narrow lanes, and on a stretching hillside, I notice the white buckets hanging from the tall maples. In my part of the country, it’s maple syrup season.
In honor of this season, my daughter and I have read and reread the book Sugar Snow, adapted from the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She likes the part where Laura tastes a snowflake from Pa’s sleeve, imagining that the snow itself will taste like sugar. I like the part where Laura and Mary gaze in wonder at the maple candies Pa bestows as he tells the story of sugaring. We both like the pancakes, and my daughter often uses this story (along with Laura Joffe Numeroff’s If You Give a Pig a Pancake) as a sort of free-association strategy to ask me to make pancakes. Really, what could be better than a literary-themed breakfast of scratch-made pancakes (usually dyed orange, my daughter’s favorite color), shaped like hearts and snowmen, and real maple syrup?
Given this foundation, I am particularly excited about the upcoming weekends in our area, where many of NY’s maple houses are giving tours and hosting breakfasts and festivals to celebrate sugaring season. I’m excited to witness firsthand the process of maple sugaring, and to share the wonder (and deliciousness) of that experience with my daughter. I can name the ideological components of my pleasure—supporting local industries, knowing where our food comes from, celebrating the bounty of creation, and exploring nature within our unique region. All of those things are true for me, and valid reasons to partake in Maple Weekend, but none of them quite encapsulate the unadulterated joy and wonder of homemade pancakes, fresh, pure maple syrup, and a log cabin. It’s maple syrup season, and we are pumped for the simple pleasures of pancakes.