Every year along about now, I get a hankering for all things maple. Maybe because the Apple Festival back home is this time of year, and that's where you can get maple nut buns: giant chocolate patties filled with a maple cream and topped in nuts. Like those old fashioned Bun candy bars.
Which cannot be made without THIS:
A nice big bottle of this lasts several years because it is the best, richest, most concentrated maple flavor on the market. The other 'imitation maple flavoring' that they sell with the spices isn't worth a dime.
I have trudged mile after mile, across the frozen tundra, mile after mile in vain, trying to find a bottle of Mapleine.
But it is not to be had, not for ready money in the market. The grocery manager tells me it is no longer distributed to the west, and may only be found back east along the coast: Places like Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky-Tennessee. I did not question him about his geography. I know that most people from California consider the "east coast" to be places like Montana or Pennsylvania.
And for all I know he meant the Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario coasts.
(I just had to list the names of the Great Lakes like that. I plan on winning the Big Prize someday by knowing the answer to that particular trivia question: Name the Great Lakes.)
So I decided to carve a maple leave out of a hunk of carving eraser to appease my flailed sensibilities.
While I was at it, I invited friends for tea and crepes and started a little cottage industry sweatshop: Here are just a few of the final results of a day in a card labor camp: