Children cannot be trusted with maple syrup. Maple syrup, even in the maple forests of the northeastern United States, is an expensive commodity. Children, with their developing fine motor skills and ignorance of prices, do not comprehend the preciousness of this item. Instead, when given the opportunity, they tend to cover all available plate space, and some of the table, with maple syrup. Artificial syrup was invented to provide children with a syrup outlet and their parents with a way to afford sustenance on which to pour the syrup.
Artificial syrups are not bad substances; they retain a sweet flavor for as long as it takes to consume french toast, pancakes, or waffles. While thinner and runnier than the maple syrup derived from tree sap, artificial syrup still makes breakfast foods fun and festive. For those who like experimentation, there are a variety of artificial syrups for various taste sensations. Children who use only artificial syrups are not deprived, but they do not enjoy the depth of flavor or sweetness contained in real maple syrup.
There will always be a defining line between those who use maple syrup and those who use their poor imitations. Those who use real maple syrup are mature, trusted, and tasteful. Those who retain their penchant for artificial syrups are young and allow their sweet tooth to overwhelm their common sense. The line between these two approaches is exact and irrevocable: it’s the age of 23.
At 23 years you are wise enough to understand the value of real maple syrup, drained from the trees of Vermont and shipped all over the world. You are mature enough to appreciate the subtle taste difference and tones of maple syrups. You are a worthy consumer. Most importantly, at 23 you are grown up enough to be trusted with a 1/2 gallon of maple syrup to call your own.
Happy 23rd birthday to all maple syrup eaters and to Special Correspondent Dena.