Today, I started my day in one of the best ways humanly (and seasonally) possible.
No, not that way. This is a PG- (okay, PG-13) rated blog, thank you.
I, along with 5 of my close friends, went to opening day at Steve's Sugar Shack.
That's right, it's maple sugar season!
One blueberry pancake, 2 strips of bacon, two eggs over easy, and a boat load of syrup later, I'm in my warm, foodie, happy place. It doesn't get much better than that.
In case you'd like to hit up a sugar shack of your own, and live in my area, a helpful Sugarhouse Directory has been compiled. Steve's Sugar Shack is all the way down at the bottom of the page - it's in Southampton - and I also recommend Gould's Sugarhouse in Shelburne and Zawalick's Sugarhouse in Northampton.
If you're interested in cooking with maple syrup, here are a few cookbook suggestions:
Cooking with Shelburne Farms: Food and Stories from Vermont
by Melissa Pasanen with Rick Gencarelli, Susie Cushner (photographer), and Jordan Silverman (photographer)
Hardcover: 9780670018352 $34.95
A wonderful (fairly local) cookbook, this has a lot of recipes (varying levels of difficulty) that call for maple sugar. I've made some of them myself; they're delicious! The stories in the book about the people involved in Shelburne Farms and who have contributed recipes are an interesting bonus to the book. It's amazing how much people can (still!) really live off the land.
Maple Syrup Cookbook
by Ken Haedrich, with a foreword by Marion Cunningham
Paperback: 9781580174046 $10.95
This is an updated and revised version of an older cookbook that is all maple syrup, all the time.
Quick - run out, grab some friends, and take yourselves out to your local sugar shack. I promise, it'll be worth the trip!