I watch Katie Button pour maple syrup over a grilled goat cheese sandwich. As she picks it up and takes a bite the crust crackles with the impact of her teeth. She chews slowly to savor the flavors before dipping her sandwich in the puddle of syrup left on her plate.
She has discovered maple syrup has a wide range of flavor profiles. Therefore, it pairs with a variety of foods, not just pancakes.
Katie, a chef with a passion for food, is investigating maple syrup. Her research and discovery has taken her to a small, specialty syrup maker in upstate New York where she filmed an episode of “From the Source” which airs on the Magnolia Network.
The sap from each Sugar Maple is unique, the flavor changing with the seasons, temperature, barometric pressure, and even the phases of the moon. Therefore, the syrup is never the same, not even when it is tapped from the same tree on a different day. Owners Paul Haldeman and Deanna Nelson process each batch separately to maintain the distinct flavors.
The business owners say they don’t know what maple syrup tastes like because the flavors change.
“Every batch of maple syrup they make is different from any other batch of maple syrup they have made. And that is completely contrary to what I think of maple syrup,” said Katie while filming the episode.
Each time Katie seeks the source of an ingredient she cooks with, whether honey, salt, cheese, corn, rice, or apples I praise God for His creativity. Only He can make a Sugar Maple produce a different sap every time it is tapped. Ultimately, He is the source.
Discovering and labeling what the trees have done is one of the most exciting parts of the process, according to Deanna. One label reads, “reminiscent of black locust honey… sweet with light fruity aroma, delicate acidity, delicious, with a vanilla note.” A flavor profile is written for every batch of syrup.
In the Sap House Paul and Deanna are careful not to mask the flavors produced by the trees. They make sure they do not over boil the sap and when it is almost caramelized, they move it to a benching evaporator. Once the sap is officially syrup it is poured into settling jars so the minerals will settle.
They contend it is “pretty magical.” But I know, as I watch the show is not magic but God. Although they seem to be in awe of their trees, they are in awe of God the creator of those Sugar Maples. I pray those who watch the show realize they are witnessing the invisible qualities of God.
In Scripture we learn that everything God made reveals His invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature (Romans 1:20). God is so creative He never has to repeat what He has done. I have always read there are no two snowflakes alike, but now I know if the maple syrup I pour on my pancakes tastes like the syrup I poured yesterday the unique flavor the tree produced when the sap was drained has been masked. There are no two maple syrups alike. God only does marvelous things.
I experience extraordinary delight as I watch this show on maple syrup. If sap from a maple tree is this complex, I can’t even imagine the complexity of human beings. It is easy to join the psalmist and state: “Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14)
1-What have you discovered about God’s creation that has left you in awe?
2-If snowflakes are each unique and the sap from the maple trees each time it is tapped, what else could be one of kind each time it is formed?