What do You Think You Are Putting on Your Pancakes?

08/12/2017 01:44 pm ET

The dough.

Most people like pancakes. In Belgium they have waffles (gauffres), in France they have crepes (crêpes), but really they are all from the same family, with common ancestors of flour, eggs, milk, butter, and sugar.

Some variations, of course, can include salt, vanilla or almond flavor, rum, buckwheat and flourless … flour. Whatever rocks boats.

So whether we visit a pancake house, a corner café, a grease joint, a family kitchen, or a friendly get together, our choices are limited to the vital ingredients required to make things happen.

Our real choices lay in the toppings: fresh fruits, cream, sugar, jelly/jam, nuts, or various kinds of syrups is where our freedom of choice is at its highest point in the meal-making.

From quarter size to full pan size, pancakes come in every size, but mostly they come round. Although some people are actually talented enough to form shapes of all sorts with the liquid dough, like flowers, fish, cats, and dogs, the easiest and classic way of making pancakes will remain the rounded one.

Remember when our latte had no designs on them?

The story will now enter a vast kingdom of mostly unknown epic value. You think you are putting maples syrup on your cakes, aren’t you? NOPE.

You are pouring liquid goo in the form of high fructose syrup on your breakfast. Unless you buy real maple syrup, the rest of the offerings on the shelves and at the diners are pure tainted liquid sugar.

The real thing (from maple trees) is largely owned by the French province of Québec, Canada – hey, they have a maple leaf on their flag! The country produces 72 percent of the world’ supply of maple syrup, which makes it de facto the main supplier in any country of the planet.

More valuable than oil.

The value of a barrel of syrup is just about $1,300, which amounts to 26 times more expensive than crude oil! Now you understand why that small bottle found at your local Trader Joe’s or other fine stores can fetch some $15.

The production of maple liquid gold is regimented and controlled by the Federation of Québec Maple Syrup Producers, or FPAQ, a cartel-like organization founded in 1966 in charge of supplying and most of all storing reserves of syrup, should a shortage happen, and also regulate the high price of each barrel.

The forest sap of the cherished trees is a natural product. There are 13,500 producers in Québec only. FPAQ has a massive Reserve in Laurierville, in the heart of the region. The warehouse stores some 7.5 million gallons in white drums towering to high ceilings.

The syrup is classified in five different grades, extra light, light, medium, amber, and dark. As water (sap) runs from a maple tree, the sugar content is only about 3 percent on average. To become syrup, it must be boiled to reach exactly 66 percent of sugar. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup because the sap is about 98% water.

The sap is still collected directly from the trees with buckets attached to the trunks, although more modern techniques use plastic tubing or vacuum systems.

Three specific species of maple trees are chosen to produce maple syrup: the sugar maple (Acer saccharum), the black maple (Acer nigrum), and the red maple (Acer rubrum.)

The Reserve is there so we never lack the beloved syrup and supply around the World stay equal and guaranteed. Maple syrup is 100% pure and natural. Producers adhere to very strict guidelines and standards set forth by the Federation.

During each harvest, the sugar trees are tapped in a different area to preserve the health and enforcing the sustainable growth of the trees.

Maple syrup has been part of Canada’s culture since the First Nations aboriginal people showed the foreign settlers how to harvest sap and boil it to make maple syrup.

American made.

Mind you, it could have been a national wealth for the USA, as Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire have more maple trees than the entire Canadian province in question. Surely the US missed the coach of riches on that one.

Aunt Jemima and other similar syrup such as Butterworth offerings on our shelves and tables are fakes. They are fraud. They look and smell cheap once you’ve had the real thing. They try real hard to make you think they are connected somehow with log cabins and woods people, but really think of the 5,000 sugar cubes you are really putting in your mouth with those.

Light versions? Okay, so you’re ingesting something like 2,500 sugar cubes instead of 5,000 – good luck.

Cherry on top.

Maple syrup is probably the only product in our diet produced directly from a tree sap, making the natural sweetener full of antioxidants, zinc, and manganese.

Would you put cornflower oil to fuel your car? Of course not, so go ahead and fork that $15 so you may put real maple syrup on your pancakes - and your body will thank you for a better version of the gooey treat in your plate.

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