Friday, January 9, 2009

Sweet Maple by James M. Lawrence

The tantalizing taste of spring itself, real maple syrup gives us a delectable link with North America's native origins, its colonial past and a distilled taste of its ancient forests. Sweet Maple is the new authoritative, fully illustrated guide to:

  • Natural History of the Maple
  • How Syrup Is Made
  • Do-It-Yourself Backyard Sugaring
  • Treasured Maple Recipes
  • Candymaking ... and more
"A complete and wonderfully engaging encyclopedia for all maple lovers..."

This was a wonderful book, packed full on information on every aspect of sugar maples - from their health and the effects of acid rain on them; to the process of tapping the trees, evaporating, and packaging syrup; to favorite recipes using maple syrup. This is certainly the most comprehensive book on the maple I've ever read!

Referring to the giant maples in Vermont the book said: "By the time the trees were just hitting their stride at 100 years of age, John Adams was President of the United States, George IV was King of England, and native maple sugar was being touted as the moral alternative to West Indian cane sugar." Actually, this sounds remarkably like current times where local sweeteners such as honey, are being used more and more for their lower impact on the environment. Maple sugar certainly is more moral, on so many levels, than imported cane sugar.

Shockingly enough, the book reported that 90 to 95% of North Americans have never tasted real maple syrup. I was really surprised by this, but I guess us over here in New England and Eastern Canada are sort of in our own little maple heaven. I can't think of anything more New England than maple syrup (sugar, etc.). It's just one of those things. I forget that perhaps people out west may not have access to the plethora of maple products we do here.

This one definitely gets a firm eight stars! The wealth of information is just wonderful! And, while there is information in abundance, the reader is no overwhelmed with technical mumbo jumbo or extraneous information. This is truly the encyclopedia of maple! Plus, the author has a great, easy to read flow which is greatly appreciated.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆


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