It’s hard to feel balanced when so much is happening in the world that makes us feel unbalanced. Hurricane Harvey has consumed our interest in recent days, and Hurricane Irma made its way through the Carribean with its eye on Florida.
Here in Maine, we’re feeling the tail end of Harvey. I have several friends in the Houston, TX area and I have been impressed with their tenacity and resiliency. In chatting with them over the last few days, I have seen fatigue setting in, so let’s not forget that even though the winds are done, and the waters are gradually receding, recovery will take a long time not only materially, but physically and mentally as well. The area and its people will continue to need our help.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Irma is making its way, preparing to accost the eastern shores of the United States. As I write this, I am hoping she will decide to stay out over the water, or at least cause as little damage as possible. I have a missionary friend in Haiti who are preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, as I am sure all residents are.
Weather wise, we are doing pretty well in Maine. Fall is attempting to make landfall. I see many occasions of red leaves dotting the landscape. I love that we have such marked changes in the weather to help us take note of the changing of the seasons. For someone like me who likes variety to keep myself from stagnating, it’s especially helpful. Gardens are nearly all harvested except for the selections that will winter over.
Canning is underway – I made chili sauce over the weekend from the recipe I shared last week. We are presently in that pattern that I always think of in terms of “toddler-hood,” not able to make up its mind and stick with it. Some days it’s still warm enough for shorts and some days require jeans and sweaters.
Whether it’s warm or cool, we can always find a way to celebrate fall flavors. If you’ve been following my columns long enough, you’ll know that while I love pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, I’m not a fan of pumpkin or pumpkin spiced foods or beverages. I think it’s because the flavorings used are artificial. Well, move over pumpkin spice! Fall is bringing a new kid to town, and it’s called maple! This is something I can get behind! I have been in love with maple flavor anything ever since I can remember.
Living in Maine, of course, we always have maple syrup for pancakes and waffles. None of that “table syrup” stuff.
Rather we would have nothing than resort to that poor substitute.
It was while visiting my grandmother in Massachusetts that she introduced to me to the maple love of my life. At that time, “Dare” Maple Leaf cookies from Canada had no substitute. I would take those cream filled sandwich cookies apart, scrape off the real maple flavored cream and eat it, and then consume the maple leaf shaped cookies with a glass of milk. While it was never allowed, I’m more than certain, that given the opportunity I could eat an entire 10-ounce package of cookies in one sitting. They were a rare treat, as in those days grocery stores were not plentiful and imported treats from Canada were even rarer. Today they are available in most grocery stores, as well as online.
While pumpkin spice flavored anything is still popping up, the idea that maple is the new contender got my attention when I heard Dunkin’ Donuts advertising Maple Pecan coffee and maple sugar bacon breakfast sandwiches.
“Marketwatch” reported a few days ago that while pumpkin spice foods and drinks are increasing this year by 49 percent, sales are only increasing by 21 percent. I would love to see more maple options available. I conducted an unscientific poll on social media to see if my followers preferred pumpkin spice or maple. Pumpkin pie was preferred when choosing pumpkin anything. Maple flavored anything was preferred over pumpkin spice.
Here’s my perspective. Don’t confuse “pumpkin spice” as something with pumpkin as the ingredient. In descending order, pumpkin spice refers to the combination of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. No pumpkin, although, the combination will remind you of pumpkin pie because those are the spices used in pumpkin pie. Maple bacon wins every time. No substitute will beat a shot of maple whiskey in coffee on a cool autumn evening.