Category Archives: Food

Just Peachy

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We’re really hitting the peak of the produce season here in New England, and finally getting ripe peaches in the markets and farm stands.  Several years ago at around this time of the year, Roy took me to Fabulous Niagara Falls. Which were, certainly, quite fabulous and worth a story in their own right.  But one day of our trip we abandoned the Glory of the Falls and hared off cross-country to Niagara-On-The-Lake, which is a very cute town smack in the middle of a very surprising wine country.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t usually associate words like “Canada” or “New England” with words like “Vineyards” and “Good Wine”.  Martha’s Vineyard notwithstanding, but that’s got very little to do, at present, with grapes.

As it turns out, however, Niagara-on-the-Lake (I am told) possesses a micro-climate very similar to the Burgundy region of France, which makes for some surprisingly tasty wines.  And the ice wines, of course, are superb.  The denizens have chosen to make maximum use of this micro-climate and the vineyards by installing Sonoma-style wineries on site, including vineyard tours, shops, gorgeous buildings, and some very, very excellent restaurants offering dining right there in the vineyard.

We dined that night at Trius and had a meal to remember for at least, oh, five years based on the dates from my pictures for that trip. I remember the entire meal as ranking right up there with any that I’ve had in France, or Italy, or Manhattan, or San Francisco, or Houston – all dining heavens of the first water.  The first course, however, seized my attention as something I had never previously encountered.  It was some sort of corn-peach-white wine soup, and I spent the months after our trip to Niagara attempting to recreate it in my own kitchen.  I came close, but I never quite hit it.  The resulting dish is nonetheless one I turn to at least once a year, when the corn is high and lying in heaps of light green ears on the tables at every farm stand in the countryside, and the peaches are growing soft, ripe, and juice.

Here it is:

6 ears corn
1 onion, chopped finely
2 good cloves garlic, pressed, or minced
3 large ripe yellow (not white) peaches
6-8 C chicken stock
1 C heavy cream

If your peaches are not ripe enough to peel with your fingers, they’re not ripe enough to make this soup. Put a bowl in the sink, and peel the skins off with your fingers, catching all of the juices in the bowl. Pull out the pits. Use your fingers to crush the peaches up nicely, and put them in the bowl too.

Strip the kernels off of the ears of corn, and put both the kernels and the cobs in a large stewpot. Put the onion, garlic, peaches, enough stock to cover everything and bring to a boil. If you are feeling adventurous, add a generous pinch of cayenne pepper or ground chipotle.  Turn down to a fast simmer and cook, uncovered, for at least a half hour, although you can go quite a bit longer, and extract more flavor from the corn cobs every minute of it. Cool, then remove the cobs. Run everything else through a blender to puree. Stir in whipping cream and serve warm.

SOOOO GOOD.

While I was working on this one, and doing research on the web for it, I ran across another wonderful thing to do with peaches. This one is more of a stew than the previous recipe, but SOOOOO GOOOOD.

1 onion, chopped
2 T butter
2 lb ripe red tomatoes
2 big fat yellow peaches
½ C cream
½ t salt
tarragon

As before, if your peaches aren’t so ripe that the skins are basically falling off, they’re not ripe enough for this dish. Put a bowl in the sink to catch the juices, pull the skins off over the bowl, remove the pits, and crush the peaches with your fingers.

Pour boiling water over the tomatoes to loosen their skins. When the skins start to split and fall off, drain them, and holding the tomato over the bowl with the peaches, pull the skin off with your fingers. Be sure to catch all the juice and seeds. Pull the tomato cores out and discard, and crush the tomatoes with your fingers.

Heat the butter in a stockpot, and saute the onions until they start to turn translucent. Empty the bowl of peaches, tomatoes, and fruit juices (because, remember kids, tomatoes are a FRUIT) into the stock pot. Sprinkle a generous amount of tarragon into this, at least a tablespoon, maybe more depending on your taste. Add the salt and bring the whole thing to a simmer. Cook, covered, until the tomatoes disintegrate.

Let it cool a bit, then puree it thoroughly in a blender. Stir in the cream. Serve hot or cold. Top with more chopped tarragon.

SOOOO GOOOOD.

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Communing With The Crustaceans

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Our is largely a Jewish household.  Judaism, thankfully, is a somewhat flexible proposition, unless you’re a Fundamentalist (or, as we call them, Orthodox).  The rules laid down in the Torah, the base text for the Christian Bible’s “old testament” have been interpreted and reinterpreted over the last three thousand years or so, to the point where many of them are nearly unrecognizable, and others are simply ignored.  Kashrut, the rules for What May Be Eaten, have morphed over the millenia to the point where we now have Kosher For Passover Face Cream.

Roy, having been raised in an Orthodox household (although we are both officially Reconstructionist), is a bit more a stickler on these matters than I am.  As a result, I do not cook dishes that combine the muscle protein of mammals with the dairy products of those mammals (originally: thou shalt not cook a kid in its mothers’ milk).  It is kind of barbaric, if you think about it, to deck out the animal protein from a species with the fluid of life from that same species.  I can get behind this.  Mostly, and certainly with respect to what I cook in the house.  Also, I respect Roy’s choices by refusing to cook treif (Forbidden Foods) in the house, when he’s around and in the position of potentially consuming them.  I don’t cook pigs or shellfish of any kind in the house, when Roy is about.  What I do on my Private Time is my Private Business, but I’m certainly not going to violate his Spiritual Beliefs by confronting him with objectionable items.

That said, my firm and private feeling is that this world is full of tzuris (great grief, and grief-inducing events such as the recent explosions in China, and certain…elements…of the US political scene).  I do not, actually, believe in a Score-Keeping God, and I sure as hell don’t believe that – if we were brought here by some Creator – that Creator started off with a list of Things Off-Limits.  I respect the journeys of those who choose to grow spiritually through restriction.  I, however, am not one of them.

My feelings on the subject are that all of these exotic rules are intended, primarily, to foster spiritual awareness of even the mundane act of dining. And I thoroughly respect that.  The meat brought into our house comes from animals that were raised with kindness and respect, and slaughtered with compassionate focus on minimizing terror and discomfort.  I don’t actually care whether a rabbi was around to wave hands and deliver some kind of benediction.  If a critter met its end, wild with fear and having spent a miserable few weeks or months, it ain’t Kosher in this house.  Chickens eaten in this house dined on bugs, settled conflicts with other chickens using its god-given beak, and got to squabble like chickens do, when they’re left to their own devices.  And so forth.  Be Kind, is the first of the law in my personal books. Be Respectful Of Life, that’s right up there too.

So, given that I clearly play Fast And Loose with the incredible scaffolding of rules, regulations, and other complicated psychological issues erected around the Act of Eating by Jewish Law, we come to one of my many possibly heretical convictions:  Oysters are Kosher in Wellfleet.  Lobsters are Kosher in Maine.  Some oysters are also Kosher in Maine, and some Lobsters are Kosher in Wellfleet.  I am Eve eating the apple, and doing it several times a summer.

But.

But.

But.  This does not imply that I scoff at what I believe to be the central philosophical point of this fantastically byzantine set of Eating Rules.  No.  I respect that even more highly, and insist on maintaining a Spiritual Awareness of the most mundane act of dining.  Especially as it regards animal life.  After all, some other creature died so that I might eat it.  That other creature’s life ended and mine goes on, in part, because the creature is no more.

I’m the sort that doesn’t even like to trample ants on the sidewalk, and feels bad about killing yellow jackets, and feels uneasy that these hornets die because they’re a threat to my existence, given my major allergies.  It’s not their fault that I’m allergic to them, after all.  They simply behave according to their nature, just as a horse does when things get a little too exciting in their blind spot and they kick.  It’s not a reason to die, but death still happens.  I don’t take life lightly.  Unless it’s a cockroach, especially a Giant F***ing Flying Roach like we have in Houston, or Fire Ants, all of which I feel completely comfortable, for some reason, wanting to eliminate from the Great Laboratory of Physical Existence.  I don’t fully understand this, but will no doubt spend the next decade contemplating.  Anyway, with the exception of the roaches and the fire ants, I don’t take life lightly. So I feel, strongly, that if something has given its life for me, even if it didn’t agree to this deal, even if it wasn’t asked – especially if it wasn’t asked – I have a powerful Moral Obligation to confront my role in that arrangement.

Which brings me to the topic of how lobsters are kosher in Maine.

A cow, it dies to provide sustenance to…a hundred people, maybe, after taking into consideration all the bits and pieces.  Maybe even more.  A chicken, it dies to provide sustenance to four, maybe six people, removed at some distance from the act of giving up its life.

A lobster, it dies to provide sustenance to one.  One person, not at all removed from the sacrifice, but sitting feet away from the process.  One.  One lobster, one person.

This creates some difficulty for me.  It is much easier to ask, or expect, that a creature will give up its life in exchange for the sustenance of a hundred than for the sustenance of one. I experience a moment of intense discomfort when inspecting a tank full of crustaceans, and having to select one of them to die for me.  Not for nameless others.  I am, even though I hand off the actual chore to a cook, that lobster’s executioner.  It is difficult.  I understand the Cycle of Life, I take my place in that knowingly, and thoughtfully, but the fact remains: I am at the top of the food chain, and other creatures lose their lives for my dinner.  It’s just not as…direct…with anything else as it is with a lobster.

My approach to dealing with this discomfort is to recognize the sacrifice that another creature made, involuntarily, at my behest, and to honor that creature’s spirit as completely as possible.  I am told that – as a result – the experience of watching me eat a lobster strikes awe into the hearts of all who witness it. Other diners, my companions, the wait staff at the restaurant, you name it.

I honor that lobster’s spirit by refusing to let even a tiny fragment of it go to waste.  I honor that lobster’s spirit by refusing to engage in any distracting activity while I am communing with it in the act of dining.  For me, this is a Spiritual Act.

For everyone else, it is a breathtaking exhibition in focus, ferocity, and determination, apparently.  I scorn those individuals who eat only the easy-to-access meat in the tail and the big claws.  I scientifically dismantle my lobsters, consuming every scrap of meat in the walking claws, the carapace, the fins on the tail, the small segments of the claws, and yes – the tail and the claws too.  When I have finished with a lobster, there is nothing left but the shell.  And the tomalley, because I’m concerned about the concentration of toxins from the crap that people will insist on dumping into the ocean.  Other than that, there is nothing.

And woe betide any who expect conversation, attention, or any other distraction from my experience of communing with the spirit of the recently-departed lobster.  The chit-chat, the request for another beer or a refill on the water, the ordering of dessert, the demand for the check, all of this can wait for another time.  I reckon any critter that gave its life for me deserves my full, complete, and wholly-undivided attention while I’m assimilating its physical existence.   I don’t care how many people are struck dumb in wonder at this spectacle.  The lobster, honestly, is the only other being in my universe at these moments.

The Little Back Dress of the Kitchen

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Every woman has one in her closet.  It may be a blouse, or a pair of jeans, or a skirt, or a jacket, or something else entirely.  It’s the garment that she knows that, when she’s having an I Hate My Body Day, she can put it on without making things worse, and might even wind up feeling better about things. It’s the garment that, when she’s having a I Look Good! Day, she can put it on and feel like a million bucks, and connect with that feeling like maybe she can stop traffic or kill the conversation in the room just by walking in. It’s the garment that she knows that, when she’s got a fussy situation – a job interview, a first date, an awkward conversion scheduled – she can put it on, and never worry for one second about being distracted by a poky tag, or a weird seam, or something riding up, or something slipping down. It’s the garment that has Confidence woven directly into the fabric. It’s the garment that takes whatever is going on, and makes it noticeably better.

Every woman has at least one, and if she doesn’t, she needs to get a couple of good friends and go out and get one. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I had one of these from Target, once, and I paid $17 for it. Before that, it was one I ran up myself, on the household sewing machine. Money isn’t required. Paying attention, and knowing that such things exist, is.

Which brings me to tonight’s dinner. The recipe that goes anywhere, does anything. The recipe that is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and leaps buildings in a single bound.

You know those nights when you drag in from work and you’re completely exhausted, you sure as hell are too tired to go to the grocery, and too tired even to think about ordering out, and don’t want to order out anyway, because Junk Food, and you’re too tired to cook, but you know that if you go to bed hungry, you’ll only be Extremely Sorry later? Those nights when you’re really wanting to do Right by the kids, and give them a balanced meal, but soccer, and laundry, and a clogged toilet?

Or maybe it’s those mornings when you wake up, thinking maybe you shouldn’t have had that third martini last night? Or you have a houseful of family, and not enough breakfast cereal and milk? Or maybe you’ve invited six people over for brunch, and just can’t face making a batch of crepes?

This is your recipe. I have had this recipe in my cookbook for so long that I have completely forgotten where I got it, or when, or how. I have this recipe like I have hair on my head, or the ability to read. I think sometimes I may have been born with this recipe.  And now, I am going to pass it along to you.

The version of this recipe I have in my personal cookbook is this:

1 lb. fresh tomatoes
butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T parsley
4 eggs
2 T basil
¼ C milk

Cut an X on the bottom of each tomato, and drop into a pot of boiling water until the skin cracks and starts to peel.  Remove with slotted spoon and plunge into dish of ice water.  The skin should fall off directly.

Melt some butter in a medium skillet.  Cut tomatoes into pieces and put them into the melted butter with the garlic.  Add parsley.  Cook over medium-low heat until tomatoes melt and cover the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile, beat eggs with basil and milk.  As soon as the tomatoes have melted, add egg mixture and allow to cook through, stirring occasionally.  Serve with toasted french bread.

The real recipe is this:

Take however many tomatoes you have.  Peel them using the blanching technique described above, because, really, it is the absolute best possible way to get the skins off tomatoes.  Cut them up into a couple of pieces, discarding the super-hard bit around the stem area.

Pick a fairly large pan and melt some butter in it.  Or ghee.  Or coconut oil, although that’s really not the best, or olive oil, again, not the best.  Butter here really is optimum.

If you have some garlic, peel it and chop it up, or, better yet, run it through a garlic press.  How many cloves depends on 1) how big the cloves are, and 2) how garlicky you like things.   We had a run of really crappy garlic here that had cloves the size of toenail clippings from the nail salon.  You’d need about 30 of those things to get a good garlic flavor.  Or, if you have them, use a half-cup or so of chopped-up garlic scapes.  Or if you don’t have garlic, and you do have shallots or scallions, chop 2 or 3 of those, finely, and use that.  Or, if you don’t have anything fresh at all, but you do have dried garlic flakes, use a half-teaspoon of those.  Saute any actual vegetables in the butter until they soften up. If all you have is garlic flakes, add those to the tomatoes.

Once your Seasoning Vegetable Of Choice has softened up, dump the cut-up tomatoes in the pan and turn the heat down to medium-low, and go give the kids a bath, or fold the laundry, or sit down with your feet up and drink a cold beer.  Let those tomatoes cook softly until they’re basically melted into a mush.

Then take some eggs.  How many eggs depends on how many people you need to feed.  For me, if I’m cooking this for my own dinner and not eating anything else, I use about 3 or 4 eggs.  If I’m cooking brunch for my ten closest friends, I use about 4 lbs of tomatoes, and most of a carton of eggs.  Use enough eggs to feed the number of people you need to feed.  Put the eggs in a bowl, and dump an herb into it.  Dried basil, dried thyme, oregano, fresh basil, fresh thyme, fresh oregano, all of these work really well.  Add a bit more herbs than seems sensible.  When I made this tonight, I added four tablespoons of herbes de provence, which is – in my opinion, the Best Possible Herb for this dish – to the eggs.  Beat it all together.

Take grated cheese.  If you have shredded parmesan or grated pecorino, that’s the best.  If you just have the parmesan out of the big green canister with the top that wheels back and forth between “shake” and “pour”, that will do too.  If you have grated cheddar, OK.  Dump a good quantity of that into the eggs.  How much depends on how well you like the cheese you’re adding.  Beat it all together for a half-minute.  Then pour it into your melted tomatoes.

Now let it sit.  Once in a while, as you’re unloading the dishwasher, or pouring a bath, or changing the laundry over, or mixing bellinis for your brunch guests, give it a stir.  Cook it until the eggs are as dry as you like.  Serve with whatever bread you have.  Slices from a three-day old sourdough loaf work fine.  Chunks torn off a baguette work fine.  Pita works fine.  Naan works fine.  You do, pretty much, want to serve this with some kind of absorbent bread-like substance.

Eat happily, knowing that even though you spent a minimal amount of time on this, and didn’t focus on it any more than you’d focus on Flea Market Flip, you’re eating a relatively nutritionally complete meal…and if you’re serving it for brunch, just prepare yourself for the Inevitable Question: “Is there any more of this?”  because – if you’re dining with good friends – that question will arise.

It’s A Summer Cooking Extravaganza!!

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We’re well into the Dog Days of summer here in my neck of the woods, and while I’m having to take consolation in the knowledge that – unlike my home in Texas – this ghastly wave of heat and humidity will not be lasting for the next six whole months, it is fairly miserable at the moment and putting everyone out of sorts.  Even the Wonder Horse is out of sorts.  Even the Death Kittens, Bax and Max, are out of sorts.  I keep reminding myself that this weather will break…and in the meantime, I choose to focus on the extravagant cornucopia of goods fresh from the earth that are pouring out of every farmstand on every road, major and minor, in this area.

The season was off to a sllloooooowwww start, thanks to a lingering winter cold, but once it arrived, it came in with its usual absurd bounty. We’re finally moving into Tomato Season, which is also Corn Season.  And I’m having a minor existential crisis in the knowledge that there just aren’t enough days, and enough stomachs, in the house to make it possible for me to work my way through the glorious assemblage of summer-cooking recipes I have at hand.  Roy is doing his Manly Best to wade through seemingly bottomless spreads of vegetarian delights, but there’s only so many meals that he can eat in a single day, bless his heart.

At times like this, I think that maybe I should have become a chef instead of an accounting professor, and opened my own Farm To Table restaurant.  Then I consider the stunning workload that goes into running a restaurant, and cooking professionally, and I’m a little more resigned to my current situation.  I have an extremely limited audience, consisting of Roy, and our friend Louise, who seems happy to eat anything that pours out of my kitchen, and with this, I must be satisfied.

Still, I feel the need to Share.  So this is what my kitchen has provided this week.  A note: with my academic papers, I am scrupulous about keeping track of my sources.  With my cookbook, I am not at all good about this.  I collect recipes like a magpie collects shiny things, and have about as much notion of where they came from as that bird.  So if you see a recipe and think “Hey! That’s MINE!” please let me know and I will be more than happy to credit you.

Corn Bisque with Red Bell Pepper and Rosemary

4 T (1/2 stick) butter
2 C chopped onions
1/2 C diced carrot
1/2 C diced celery
7 1/2 C corn kernels (you can make this with frozen corn, but it is OH so much better if you make with fresh. Allow approximately 3/4 C kernels per typical ear of corn.)
1 T fresh rosemary
1/4 t cayenne pepper
6 C chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth (obviously, you can make this vegetarian, but it’s way tastier with chicken stock)
1 C half and half
1 red bell pepper, chopped

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrot and celery and sauté 3 minutes. Add 5 1/2 cups corn, rosemary and cayenne and sauté 2 minutes. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until vegetables are tender and liquid is slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.

Working in batches, purée soup in blender. Return soup to pot. Mix in half and half and remaining 2 cups corn. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Stir bell pepper into soup. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Vichyssoise

Oh, god, it’s so good I don’t have words for it.

3 large leeks
3 T butter
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 lb potatoes, chopped
3½ C chicken stock (as before, if you want the Anemic Version, use vegetable stock)
2 t lemon juice (DO NOT LEAVE THIS OUT, AND USE THE FRESH STUFF, NOT THE SQUEEZE LEMON)
pinch nutmeg
¼ t ground coriander
1 bay leaf
1 egg yolk
2/3 C light cream
fresh chives, snipped, for garnish

Trim leeks and slice thinly. Melt butter in soup pot and cook leek and onion for about 5 minutes. Do not let them brown. Add potatoes, stock, lemon juice, nutmeg, coriander, and bay leaf to pan. Season with salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until all vegetables are very soft. This is the original recipe talking here. I bought two big fat russet potatoes from the grocery, but then Roy ate one, and was sent back to the grocery in disgrace to buy another one. I told him “russet” and maybe that’s what he came back with…maybe he came back with something different. All I know is that I had to simmer this stuff for at least 1 hour before whatever he brought back started to collapse into “softness”. Be warned. Do not use Yukon Golds for this. Cool the soup slightly, remove and discard bay leaf, and puree in blender until smooth. If you’ve done it right, you should have a super-thick, almost glutinous result from the pureeeing process. I had to smack my KitchenAid blender on the side repeatedly in order to get it to puree things properly.

Blend egg yolk into cream, add some soup to the mixture, and then whisk all back into the soup and reheat without boiling. Adjust seasoning. Chill thoroughly. Serve sprinkled with chives.

Crispy Summer Flounder with Scallion Corn Ragout
aka Holy Sugar, I Can’t Believe How Good This Is!!! (that’s a direct quote)

1½ lb flounder filets
1 C milk
2 bunches scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
corn from 5 ears of corn (about 4 C)
½ C toasted wheat germ
1/3 C cornmeal
½ t sea salt
dash cayenne
½ C (packed) small fresh basil leaves
¼ C minced chives
1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

Place fish in large dish and cover with milk, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

In large skillet over medium heat, cook scallions in 2 T oil until softened. Stir in garlic and corn. Cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and keep warm.

Combine wheat germ, cornmeal, salt, and cayenne, in large flat dish. Remove fish from refrigerator and drain off milk. Dredge fish in wheat germ mixture and place on baking sheet.

In large skillet on high, heat 2 T oil. Add half the fillets and cook 3 minutes per side, adjusting heat if they brown too quickly. Transfer cooked fillets to platter. Add remaining oil to skillet and cook remaining fillets.

Just before serving, stir basil and chives into scallion-corn ragout. Season with salt to taste. Spoon ragout onto each plate and top with a fish fillet and lemon wedge.

COOK ON!!

Ode To A Sugar Shack

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‘Tis the finest time of spring, when all wend their ways into the hinterlands to observe the annual Boiling of the Sap, the Making of the Maple Syrup, and the Dining At The Farm.  One of the finest traditions of Western Massachusetts is the Sugar House, or the Sugar Shack: a place where you can experience the turning of the year.  There truly is nothing like wandering into the sugar house while the boiling is underway.  You drive miles on country roads, pitted by the winter’s plowing, with the rotting snowbanks, dingy and grey, lining the path.  The trees are naked, and the landscape is utterly devoid of even the hint of color.  There are no signs of spring…

…not until you round a bend, and spy a rustic wooden hut, with a small cupola jetting powerful clouds of fragrant steam.  You can’t smell it, not yet, but you know.  If you’re in Western Massachusetts, where we have a regional speciality in this sort of thing, you may find a large parking lot next to the hut, loaded to the brim with expensive sport utility vehicles, luxury sedans, hybrid hatchbacks, and snowmobiles – and in the right place – a hitching rail with saddled and blanketed horses attached.  These happy travelers are here not just for the joy of socializing with the sugar-maker, but for a fresh breakfast, farm-style, with eggs and sausage, and bacon, and waffles, and pancakes, and – if you are in the very right place – corn fritters.  All served with the freshest possible maple syrup, almost straight from the evaporator to your table.

There’s nothing like a cup of coffee, no matter how pedestrian the bean or the roast, that is served piping hot, with a drizzle of warm maple syrup to sweeten it up.  Even those who do not take their coffee “sweet” may find themselves adopting a new attitude when it’s a dollop of freshly-boiled maple syrup added to the cup.  There’s also nothing like a hot corn fritter, served with a small pool of the syrup on the side.

Last year, our favorite sugar house, South Face Farm, announced that it was their last year of operations for the breakfast business.  Roy and I felt as though a small light had gone right out of our lives.  The building, the staff, the coffee, the drive from our hometown, but especially, the corn fritters.  This place was one of those things that makes Mud Season in New England worth living through.  Imagine our joy when the local community rallied behind the operation, and opened the restaurant once again for the current season.  Unbounded, that’s what it was.  Ecstatic.  I ate four (4) corn fritters all by myself, just in a pure spirit of celebration.  It was a moment to inspire one to Poetry.  And thus, I offer you this:

An Ode To A Sugar House.

We ariseth from the winter’s shrinking grip
As growing daylight warms the air from chilling night
And snow-cover’d passages thaw, freeze, and slip
While suns’ rays set the heavenly dome alight.
Now in the growing days of spring
Does sap burst up in every maple’s core
While farmer tramps through softening snow
The brimming bucket full of sap to bring
Nectar, prime for boiling o’er a flaming pyre for
To shrink that juice into a tender sweetening flow.

And in that time of sweetly springing
Do folk long for pilgrimages rural
As birds anew are gently singing
Upon the gnarled maple burl.
And then, do farmers launch their toil
While waiting hand and foot at table
While pilgrims seek waffles, coffee, and cakes
The handy product of the farmers’ boil
All sweetened to the heights with essence maple
That with the work and boiling, farmer makes.