Mon 24 May 2010
So I was in the process of writing a completely different blog entry tonight, but we will have to STOP THE PRESSES on that one because…
Maple bars are kind of a donuty thing, the best donuty thing in the world. A maple bar consists of a big rectangle of fried dough with a sugary maple glaze slathered on the top. I don’t really know their history, but for some reason they’re a regional food that’s only really common in America’s Pacific Northwest.
And by common, I mean that they are a way of life. People in Oregon and Washington probably eat maple bars more regularly than they eat regular donuts. And in America, people eat donuts A LOT. I boggled to learn that in Australia donuts are considered a dessert, NOT a breakfast food. You can’t even buy them at the supermarket. Or even most convenience stores! If you want a donut here, you have to track down a specialty donut store in the mall, or maybe visit a very posh gas station.
Now, considering the fact that donuts are basically adorable little cakes which have been deep fried, I suppose it makes sense to classify them as a dessert, or at least “a treat.”
But America did not get where she is today be letting logic stand in the way of awesomeness. And donuts are awesome. Therefore, we Americans have ascribed them to a place of prominence in The Most Important Meal of the Day, along with cereals based on robots, “toaster pastries,” chocolate milke and once in a while, I dunno, some fruit or something.
DONUTS! ARE! AMAZING! Glazed donuts, cake donuts, donut holes, apple fritters, jelly donuts, bear claws, tiger tails and other weird donuts named after parts of animals, they are all delicious.
At least, it is to me.
Because it reminds me of home.
Sure most Americans love donuts (and our national waistlines show it), but outside of the Pacific Northwest, most Americans don’t even know what a maple bar is. I dated a girl from Wisconsin who had never heard of them. It’s like they’re this magical thing that only people from my side of the country understand.
When I lived in Spain, I traveled a few hours outside of the Granada, where I was staying, to a little village in the foothills where many of the people spoke another regional language in addition to Spanish. I first realized this while shopping for breakfast when I noticed that the words on the cereal boxes were ones I had never seen before. Spain is roughly the same size as Oregon and Washington combined, but it’s home to at least ten unique languages, and variations in dialect on top of that. Almost everyone speaks Spanish, but people get fiercely protective of the regional languages that define their communities.
In “young” countries like America and Australia, I don’t think we can really appreciate the deep sense of place, history and culture that are embodied by things like regional languages, which developed over centuries, but every community has its little quirks, like whether you call sweet fizzy drinks “soda,” “pop” or “soft drink.” And then there are maple bars.
Outside of the Pacific Northwest, it’s hard to find them. Outside of North America, forget about it — there’s no chance. Maple bars are something that only really exist in one little corner of the planet.
Well, make that two corners.