While flipping through a cooking magazine the other day, I came across a simple maple-glazed pork recipe requiring only a few ingredients. Having not a clue what to make for dinner, this looked perfect. A quick inventory of ingredients: pork chops—check, Panko breadcrumbs—check, Dijon mustard and vinegar—double check, assorted spices—got ‘em. Maple syrup? Uh-oh, I can’t use THAT!
Wasn’t it just last week that I bared my soul through the contents of my kitchen cabinets in the FBE confessional? To use this (see stabbed product above) high fructose corn syrup, caramel color and sodium-hexametaphospate concoction seemed like blasphemy. Hell, it didn’t even have the word maple on the bottle! Huh, funny how I never noticed that before…at least they were honest about it.
Well, this just wouldn’t do! A jaunt to Trader Joe’s was in order. The price point was a bit higher than the imposter, but it’s not like you go through gallons of the stuff—at least one would hope not—and the label simply read “Maple Syrup.”
The chops went together in a snap and, OMG, they were freakin’ fabulous! No exaggeration, served with a side of sautéed Brussels sprouts, my boyfriend Bill deemed them restaurant quality. How could just a few ingredients come out this well? Was it the maple syrup?
To be really scientific, an experiment was in order. A couple of days later we made a batch of whole-wheat waffles and did a blind taste-test with the two different syrups. A side-by-side comparison told the tale. The manufactured syrup was super sticky and overly sweet, while the real deal had a nice mouth feel that didn’t leave your tongue coated. And, oh, it actually tasted like maple.
Sorry, Mrs. Butterworth; I must be true to myself. You will never sit in my cabinets again. My taste buds will be eternally grateful, and my good health depends on it.
There’s no way around it, one simply must be diligent and read those labels.
Does it make you wonder what other totally artificial foods you are unknowingly consuming? Anyone else obsessed with real maple syrup? —Karen