Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sappy (syrup) Days are Here Again

     After Valentine's Day letdown. We are like little hamsters running on hamster wheels, until the "day after", when rest, refueling, and restocking happens. As we board the hamster wheel again in anticipation of the next holiday. Which is my one of my favorite holidays to cook for. St. Patrick's Day. It is no secret around these parts, that I can cook a mean corned beef. Last year, I cooked 60 pounds of brisket, and almost ran out. This year, I will cook 3 cases of two/twelve pounders. Yum~Yum.

     But before I yarn on about corned beef, the bigger news of the day, is that the boys only have 3 more days of school till February vacation. Or what I like to call "Vacation~Party like Rock Stars", meaning that they stay up all night and sleep all day. February vacation is big up in these parts, if you like standing outside in 20 degree weather.  This is the Retreat Meadows, where you can ice skate. I have never personally ice skated on the meadows, because one, I just about shattered my ankle, when I was 13 on untreated ice, and two, the meadows are untreated ice.
     The Winter Carnival is not the crescendo of the whole vacation, quite the opposite really. The above photos are the Harris Hill Ski Jump. This 90 meter ski jump, is the only one in New England and one of only 6 in the United States. The jump was built in 1922, for a mere $2,200. In early years, the ski jump competition was an event not to be missed. The ski jump ball featured 12 piece orchestras, like Anson Smith's Famous Havanna Orchestra, and was the Ball of all Balls, literally from 1922 to 1939. With World War I and II, the jumps were canceled. But in 1946, Harris Hill welcomed their first woman jumper. As the years traveled on from 1946, the jump gained speed, international jumpers, and fans.

     In 1957, the town of Brattleboro, Vermont held their first Winter Carnival and it has gained momentum. Featuring sleigh rides, ice skating , skiing and snowmobiling. Pancake breakfasts, a comedy show, country western jamboree, skiing competitions, skateboarding and to top the week off, a queen's and princess's pageant. There are so many activities going on, all during the week, that really there is something for everyone. I unfortunately, have usually worked through the whole experience, *let's remember, I am in the hospitality industry*. When my children were younger, I took them to the Latchis Theatre for the $1 movie, since they are much older now, the last thing they want to do is sit and watch "Ice Age", with their Mom. It was fun while it lasted though.

1962 Queen's Parade

     But, besides all the festivities that Winter brings, the Carnival also brings "Sugar on Snow". Up here in these parts, this time of the year, there is no shortage of snow. At the end of February, the sugarers start to tap the maples, in anticipation of boiling the sweet sap into breakfast's most popular condiment. Sugar on snow is a very unique event. The act is not simply putting the syrup on the snow. The syrup has to be a certain temperature, then poured onto the snow. Too hot it melts the snow, too cool it becomes watery. The perfect heat will quickly harden on the top of the snow. That is not the oddest part, it is always eaten with pickles? The concoction is so sweet that the pickles are used to cut the sweetness of the mixture, and well the doughnuts, Hey! we live in New England, everything is better with an Old Fashioned as the are fondly called.

Sugar on Snow

~Vermont Maple syrup, Grade A light amber~because you are going to heat it again
~Pure white snow~way out there, in no man's land
~Sour pickles
~Old Fashioned Doughnuts

Scoop your snow into bowls and freeze. Boil the syrup until the temperature reaches 255F, and drizzle over the snow. This is how you eat~forkfuls, bite of a sour pickle, bite of a doughnut, and if you are me~drink of some really hot coffee.

At every party there are two kinds of people - those who want to go home and those who don't. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other. ~Ann Landers


simona said...

if you can visit me too now im one of yours readers simmy

Mommyto3andahusky said...

I just found your blog and became your newest follower. Wanted to say hi! :)

Carolyn said...

Lovely pics. Looks like fun!
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