- Food and Cooking
Hubbers Against Maple Syrup (HAMS)
Spawn of the maple tree, be gone!
I know I can't be the only one. Even though I have never in my life met anyone else who hates maple syrup, I must believe that I'm not alone. Perhaps somewhere in the HubPages community live my true brothers and sisters?
How it all began
I grew up eating a very steady, nutritious diet of oat or rice cereal with milk for breakfast. No sugary cereals, no fancy hot meals, no bagels or donuts, just a bowl of crunchies. A banana or strawberries cut on top was pretty exotic. My morning routine was quick and easy, and didn't smell like anything at all.
The first time I remember having breakfast outside my home was the morning after my first sleepover party. We had stayed up late the night before in my friend's basement, playing "Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board," telling ghost stories, eating candy, drinking soda, and having a good old time. In the morning, I and all my jammied girlfriends stumbled upstairs to the kitchen, experiencing our own brand of kiddie hangovers. My friend's mother was frying something at the stove.
"Pancakes! Pancakes!" my friends cried as we settled around the kitchen table. I had never heard this word before. Before I could finish the thought of "What is a pancake?", plates of the things were before us all.
Then it happened. There was a sickly, sticky-sweet smell in the air, that grew stronger and stronger. I realized the smell was coming from a dark brown substance oozing out of a bottle shaped like a woman (?!?!) and onto everyone's plates. Gobs of it. Rivers of it. Oceans of it! My friends were eating it! ARGH!
I don't think I threw up, but I may have blacked out and forgotten that part. The smell, and the feelings of sickness and shock that ran through me, will haunt me until I die.
Growing up in fear
I spent the remainder of my school days living in fear of this thing called "maple syrup". Even the thought of it could turn my stomach, and somehow, I managed to transfer my aversion to maple syrup's cousins, honey and molasses.
I avoided diners and pancake houses like the plague. Just to be on the safe side, I discounted not only pancakes, but waffles, omelettes, breakfast sausages, crepes, and hash browns without ever trying them. They were, in my mind, all tainted by association. There were no maple or home-made candies I would touch. No honey got within 10 feet of my tea. I would have sworn off ginger snap cookies if anyone had told me they were made with molasses.
College changes everything... almost
Thank goodness for college, and for the wonderful, supportive friends I met there. They didn't get me over my maple syrup phobia, but they did let me know that you don't have to put maple syrup on hot breakfast food. I was 18 years old, and the thought had never even crossed my mind. Sheesh.
Oh, the freedom of waffles with strawberries and whipped cream! On Sundays, the dining hall staff would make you an omelet with anything you wanted in it, and nothing you didn't! Oh, choice! It made me brave. It made me creative. And in my creativity, I found the method of my revenge.
Cheesy-egg pancake surprise
I am a strong, confident, independent woman now. I can walk right into a pancake house and sit down in front of my table's syrup trolley without a second thought. I can do this, because I have a secret weapon against the people next to me slathering their defenseless breakfasts with the evil spawn of the maple tree. It's called cheesy-egg pancake surprise, and in my humble opinion, it's the best breakfast there is. The only requirement for this method of revenge is that you need to love ketchup as much as you hate syrup. If you do, read on. If you don't, please don't hate me for what I'm about to relate.
Order up a nice stack of pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese, and some sausage. When the food arrives, spread the butter on the pancakes, or scrape if off, depending on how decadent you feel. Slice all the pancakes into bite-sized pieces, then do the same for the eggs and the sausage. Dump everything together and mix thoroughly.
Now here comes the revenge part. Make eye contact with the syrup-slatherer you wish to gross out. They're probably already watching you with some trepidation. Grab your table's ketchup bottle, give it a good shake, and squeeze ketchup aaaaall over the pile on your plate. Show your enjoyment of this activity by catching the last drip of ketchup with your finger and licking it off. Then dig in, and relish in the cheesy, eggy, sweet goodness of your creation.
Your syrupy audience will (hopefully) be shocked by your unorthodox use of condiments, and you will be strong in the knowledge that you have a breakfast habit that weirds people out as much as you're weirded out by syrup. And even if nobody notices, you're still going to have a great meal.
Into the future
I will always hate maple syrup. I don't think I'll let my kids have it, at least not in my presence, because I wouldn't be able to stand them touching me with their sticky fingers. I've relaxed the ban on honey and molasses a little, enough to enjoy honey-mustard sauce and to use molasses to bake, but that's about it.
I have found, through struggle and experimentation, my place in the breakfast-food world. It's a strong place, and a yummy one, but I'm all alone in it. Won't anyone join me as a member of HAMS?