maple syrup

how to make a substitute for maple syrup when a trip to the grocery and back would take close to an hour and your waffles are ready to eat.
the little farm where i grew up outside of greenville is 1.25 miles off of 150, which my family has always called "the highway". our highway is one of those authentic wander-indiana-roads that you city people call "the scenic route". it's a 2-lane state road that moseys its way past farms and through the woods on the way to new albany. 
          if you decide to take our highway and travel from greenville to the bottom of the knobs, you'll cover a little over 12 miles and see that about the whole way the road is painted with a double yellow line. so, if you come up to a tractor or a slow-moving truck packed with farm animals, just cool your citified heels and wait until they pull over to let you pass. don't forget, you drove our road to take in the picturesque countryside and enjoy the long way around.
          in the 1960's i remember following 150 once a week into town to run errands. sally, susie, jimmy, marilyn and i took turns riding in the front of our station wagon with our mother. there were no seat belts. there were no dvd players. and we didn't have air conditioning so if it was hot we rolled down all of the windows and my hair would get tangled. when we got to town, we made our stops at the bank, the library, the grocery store, and dad's factory. we visited cousins and grandparents, aunts and uncles. and if we were well behaved, we'd get to stop at the ice cream store before heading back up the hill to lower the tailgate, and unload our provisions.
          with such an excursion necessary in order to stock the kitchen, i can well imagine mother's disappointment if she needed an ingredient that she forgot to buy on the last trip into town. plato's necessity/invention statement is so apropos here, because it was just such an occasion–when she found that the pantry shelf held no bottle of syrup–that required my mother to create a substitute. i have been in the exact same predicament many times since then, with a hungry husband eager to eat breakfast, a stack of hot waffles on the stove ready to serve, and no maple syrup in the pantry.
          this satisfying maple syrup substitute is based on the one my mother taught me to make. it's not as thick as maple syrup, but it's sweet and hot and soaks into your pancakes or waffles to moisten them just the same. and, if the round-trip to the store is close to an hour, then you'll find that this syrup is better than the real thing.
• 2 cups of water
• 1/3 cup of sugar
• 1/3 cup of brown sugar
• 1 tsp. maple syrup extract (or vanilla)
• several slices of orange or lemon peel, colored part only
• 2 tbl. butter
in a large saucepan, whisk all of the ingredients together except for the butter. bring the mixture to the edge of a boil and stir to melt the sugars. reduce the flame to a simmer and let it bubble about 10-15 minutes. whisk in several big dollops of butter and continue to simmer until the mixture is thickened.

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