Maple Cream & Creepy Kid Books

Dec 14, 2011

Who doesn’t love Goodnight Moon?  The soothing words, the simple reassurance of saying goodnight to objects, the perfect length book – not too short, not epic like Cars & Trucks & Things that Go.  My grandmother read it to my father, my mother read it to me, I read it to my kids.  My husband read it when our first child was born.  I watched him, eyes about to tear up.

“This sucks,” he said.  “Try it again,” I insisted.  And whether I wore him down or he finally found the charm, it didn’t matter because he understood the greatness of that book.  Now, much has been written about Margaret Wise Brown, the author.  She might have been a bit of an odd duck.  Which doesn’t matter, and yet I can’t help but (over)-interpret another of her books, The Runaway Bunny.

This book is a primer for stalkers everywhere.  It talks of a love so extreme, the narrator will stop at nothing to get to this bunny.  In the beginning, it appears to be about a bunny who wants to “run away.”  Like all kids, the bunny needs some independence.  So of course the stalker-bunny-parent says she’ll come after the bunny – because she’s worried?  No.  Because bunnies shouldn’t be out alone?  No.  Because YOU ARE MINE.  And then it just gets worse.  The bunny’s desperate to get away – I’ll become a mountain.  Well, suck it up bunny, because I’m gonna be a mountain climber on that mountain.  I’ll be a tree.  Oh yeah?  Well, how ’bout I take over the orchard.  Even when the bunny takes on human form – shapeshifting bunnies! – the stalker will be there, shifting into human mom form.  If the poor, independence-seeking rabbit becomes a boat, why the overbearing parent is going to turn into the wind, “to blow you where I want you to go.”  So much for spreading those wings, bunny boy.

The pictures are sweet. The words flow.  And yet, this is one creepy book.  It’s right up there with this song (which should pay rent to Ms Wise Brown for stealing her sweet-stalker idea) and this song and a whole host of other books and movies too disturbing to dissect here.

The point is, Goodnight Stalker.  Good night obsessive love.  Goodnight fingerprints erased by a glove.

No.  The real point is that once you’ve read kid books eighty-nine times you begin to cross-examine them.  Up next, Frog & Toad: a Close Reading of Homoerotic Friendship.

That, and warm maple cream, which, like any good stalker, sticks to toast and waffles alike.  You’ll never get away from it once you try it.*

*Shown above with chocolate-ginger scone.

Maple Cream

2 Cups Best Quality Maple Syrup

Lots of patience

Have ready a sink full of ice or an ice bath in which you can place your pot. In a deep, heavy-bottomed pot, heat maple syrup on medium and then high heat to 230-238 degrees F. Stir a bit as you go - just on the surface - to keep things from bubbling over. As soon as the syrup reaches the high temp, put the pot in an ice bath (or sink). DO NOT TOUCH the syrup while it cools as this will produce a grainy texture. Test the temp as the syrup cools. When it is about 120-130, take the pot out of the ice bath. If you have tons of arm strength and patience, use a wooden spoon and beat it until you age a year. Otherwise, use a hand blender or electric mixer and blend, scraping the sides as you go. KEEP GOING. The syrup will slowly thicken and change color (like a vampire's eyes after they've fed). When the syrup is creamy and glossy and thicker, test the cream. If you want it thicker, stir a bit longer. Serve on hot waffles or scones or eat it from a plain spoon. You may also store this in a small glass jar in the fridge for a few months.

2 comments

  1. Celia
    December 14, 2011

    Oh, this recipe! I was given a jar of maple cream by friends who’d been to Canada, and we desperately made it last for years. I didn’t imagine it could be made at home, it’s all very Little House on the Prairie. :)

    And talking of kids books – my pet peeve is The Cat in the Hat – mom said not to let strangers in, but we did, and then the house was trashed, but hey, let’s lie and not tell mom the truth when she comes home. And THEN, let’s do it all again in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back! I banned both books from our house. And I’m not anti-Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham is a favourite!

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  2. Tamson
    December 17, 2011

    I always thought this was a take on that old British (?) folksong about The Blacksmith “courting” a lady. The blacksmith’s role is the same as mother’s role in Runaway Bunny–supernatural stalker. Try as I might, though, I can’t seem to find the song anywhere now. Anyway, it’s a really cool conceit, and I can see that, regardless of its implications, it would have been difficult to set it aside once you had come up with. It’s just so darn fanciful.

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