October in San Francisco can be glorious or a little discomfiting, depending upon your sensibility. Most years it's glorious; Indian summer arrives, clothes are shed, music festivals continue beyond the confines of summer, and fog takes a welcome hiatus. The warmth usually feels deserved after a cold, damp summer of quoting Mark Twain. This year not so much. It's been warm, even hot, for too long and dry as a bone. Except when it was humid, when the air felt heavy with moisture it had no right to be hoarding.
This year's not the one for gloating over frolicksome San Francisco temperatures. This year's the one for looking toward other areas of the country actually experiencing rain, dropping temperatures, changing seasons, and the promise of winter. Or at least it is for me. I want to wear boots.
Which is why this Menu in a Minute takes us to the chill in the air in the Northeast, to the falling leaves in Canada, to a place where the weather behaves in a seemly fashion and toes the line. Where the weather gods - at least at the moment - don't seem arrogant and withholding. To the land of maple syrup.
Maple syrup is one of those natural wonders. How could a tree release a nectar that can be rendered as sweet as that produced by a honeybee? The maple tree does just that though, first storing fueling starch in its roots and trunks before winter sets in, then liberating that converted-starch-turned-xylem sap in the spring. Up the sap shoots to nourish the tree, like salmon spawning, a stream ripe for the plucking, or tapping as the case may be.
Maples look so stoic, even barren in winter, after the loss of their flamboyantly vivid autumn leaves. And though it's not as if they have a whole lot of say in the matter, maple trees seem unreasoably generous in their sharing. Can you imagine being tapped? Not to say people are all like trees, but still.
Given the maple trees' benevolent sharing, it feels fully appropriate to reflect upon maple syrup's deliciousness and multiple uses. Let's tap into the sticky details with this fall Menu in a Minute, part of a Radio Series aired daily on 104.7 The MILE in the glorious mountains of Colorado.
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