Which one was the winner?
I received a call from my dearest friend L. this morning and she recounted the following tale:
In honor of maple syrup season, she paid a visit to her daughter S.'s 2nd grade class to read a story about how maple syrup is made and then conduct a taste test, to see which syrup the children preferred, pitting real maple syrup against Aunt Jemima.
She brought in two unmarked bottles of "syrup" and had each child taste a spoonful of each. Out of 20 students, the disheartening news is that 17 preferred Aunt Jemima over the real maple syrup. They were instantly able to recognize it as the syrup they ate at home and showed a clear preference for it. I did not find this especially surprising, simply disheartening.
After the test, L. explained to the young students that Aunt Jemima did not even have anything maple in it and then she explained why maple syrup was healthier, encouraging them to consider eating the real thing. Even if they don't, at least they have been exposed to it.
What I had to wonder was why so many children were eating Aunt Jemima rather than real maple syrup, particularly in an upper middle class neighborhood where cost might not be a major issue? If fake syrup reigns supreme, clearly the advertisements maligning high fructose corn syrup have failed. Given another demographic, I might entertain the argument that cost was a factor but then in defense of using real maple syrup I would suggest that a little goes a long way and you needn't douse your pancakes or waffles in it but rather drizzle it sparingly on top.
Once again, more evidence to support my mantra "Eat what you love and your children will follow." What they eat is up to you.
P.S. I would love to poll these children years from now as to their syrup preferences. There is certainly hope since I was raised on Aunt Jemima myself and haven't touched the stuff since I started buying my own food.
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