Nothing Beats Sunday Morning Pancakes with a Batch of Homemade Maple Syrup
I am terribly restless in my interests. Trust me, this is no quality to be proud of. It only translates into a constant change in career pursuits with a side of constant stressful banking experiences. What (or whom, shall I say) do I blame my mild case of ADD on (because, being the stubborn femme I am, I refuse to blame myself, ever) might you ask? None other than the King of Fleeting Hobbies himself, my father, Vince.
Daddio always encouraged us to be active both with our bodies and our minds. His pressure for us to participate in extra-curricular activities and sign up for summer camps bordered on being extremely aggravating/annoying. But, in the end, I think we all know he was only pushing us to be the best version of ourselves always, to never give up on our passions and to never quit our pursuit for new ones. Needless to say, Daddio definitely led by example. This became quite evident upon immediate entrance to our house, where one would find half-made gift baskets, fly-fishing ties, and counters littered with homemade mustard jars,–nay–immediately as one would turn the corner of our street to find themselves face to face with a giant aluminum home-made ice-fishing house built by Daddio himself. It was designed to be shaped like a fish and would be driven across the frozen ice on winter days selling hot meals to hungry fishermen. It was an eye sore to me at the time, but something I am extremely proud of my Dad for, now that I’m older and no longer an easily embarrassed teenager.
Daddio always had the standard Italian-man appetite (and physique to support it), so I’m not surprised to realize, as I remember, that pretty much all of my his entrepreneurial ventures involved food in one way or another. One that I was reminded of in particular last night, as I experienced yet another urge to flip through boxes of unorganized old family photos, was my dad’s trips up north, with some of his best friends/soul brothers, where he would tap maple trees and boil some delicious homemade syrup.
My dad may have been born in Italy and raised in a traditional Italian household, but he was always fascinated and very much involved with Canadian culture. In fact, most of my mental memories are of him dressed in white t-shirts with red Canada writing which he received from the Liberal party barbeques he always participated in and helped out with. Though never forgetting his European heritage, he quickly embraced his new citizenship–if he were here now, I’m sure he would claim to be Canadian before anything else.
I think my love for Italian culture and food is a subconscious way for me to stay as close to the memory of my father as I can. But I often forget just how much of him I can find right here in my own country’s backyard. I wish I wasn’t such a snobby kid and joined my father on more of his foodie adventures..if I could turn back time that might be the first and only thing I would change. However, we definitely all reaped the benefits of his work. Though I was not a wine drinker at the time, M-Sac claims his homemade batches were always tasty, though the fish smoker in the back was smelly, its finished products were quite popular, and as for the maple syrup, store-bought replacements could never compare.
So I will leave you with a few photos on the maple-syrup making process and a couple of links of sites I found detailing how to get it done. If you have the opportunity and resources, I highly recommend you make a day of it. Trust me, it will become an annual event on your calendar. Either that, or pancakes and waffles will become quite sparse once your homemade stash runs out.
Did your parents have any other wacky food ideas like this one? What’s your most vivid food memory that brings a smile to your face and a kick to your appetite?