Blizzards and other major storms force us indoors, to do indoor activities. No doubt everyone has heeded media reports to stock their fridge and pantry with enough food to stay fed and happy while locked up inside.
But for many there's also something of a pioneer spirit deep inside that yearns to come out when the elements act up. We light our wood stoves, gather wood for the fireplace, even cooking large batches of food evokes the days of long ago, when winters were much harsher and having enough food to last the winter meant planning, preparing and sometimes going without.
Luckily we don't have to go out and shoot a moose to feed our family anymore, but there is still a fun way to enjoy this snow with a sense of the pioneering spirit. Make maple snow cones. How's that you say? Snow cones? Aren't those the things you made with your snow cone machine when you were like 11? Actually snow scones and shaved ice have a long history, way beyond the plastic machines we played with as children.
According to the University of Chicago's Web Institute, the Roman Emperor Nero was the first to enjoy frozen ices. He was said to have sent slaves up into the mountains to bring back snow and ice. The ice was then mixed with nectar, fruit and honey.
In the 1800s and early 1900s, handheld shaving machines were used to make snowball desserts. When times were good out on the prairie, even the pioneers enjoyed eating snow or what they called "Snow Candy," drizzled with molasses.
"Laura and Mary each had a pan and Pa and Ma showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams onto the snow."
- Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
In 1919, Samuel Bert of Dallas sold shaved ice at the Texas State Fair , by 1920 he'd invented a snow cone making machine. In 1934 Ernest Hansen patented the first motorized ice block shaver in New Orleans. His wife, Mrs. Hansen helped create several flavors of syrup to be added to the ice, which came to be known as "Snowballs."
So now it's time for you to make your own maple snow cones.
Go outside and collect clean, pristine snow. Avoid snow that's pockmarked by debris or drippings from your roof. It also goes without saying that you should avoid any snow that isn't perfectly white.
Pack the snow tightly into a cone, a mug, glass or bowl.
Heat the maple syrup in a sauce pan until a liquid consistency. That makes the syrup easier to pour.
Enjoy. The kids will love making this, as well as eating it. I was a little skeptical at first, but it really was very good. It will be the most delicious and most natural snow cone that you'll ever eat.
For more, go to www.yourpotluck.com