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Old 06-11-2018, 07:01 PM
Interrobang!? Interrobang!? is offline
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Why is maple flavor by far the most popular flavor for breakfast syrups in the US?

Across the US, maple syrup pretty much comes as a standard side with any order of pancakes, waffles, or French toast. Other toppings may be available but aren't nearly as popular, particularly when you're talking about syrups in particular.

What made maple so overwhelmingly favored? Why not birch, or "golden," or molasses-cinnamon, or some variety of fruit? I'm not only talking about genuine maple syrup, of course —most "pancake syrup" is not made from real maple, but is nevertheless flavored like it.
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:07 PM
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:53 PM
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I think you have the right answer.

There is a true maple syrup. A natural, historical syrup that existed way before any of the artificial flavors came to be. And maple syrup (the real stuff) is tasty, tasty tasty. And most of the other competition (I'm thinking IHOPish stuff) like blueberry, boysenberry and the like just tastes like ass.

The real stuff is great, and the fake stuff with the same flavor can be ok.
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:57 PM
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Birch syrup is more expensive than maple, due to the more expensive process. It is more common in the northeast of the country.
Golden syrup is more neutral tasting, so it doesn't add as much, and isn't very common to find.
Berry syrups are pretty popular.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:03 PM
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Because there was a time real maple syrup was the default syrup on pancakes. Mrs. Butterworth and friends are cheaper imitations for those who can't afford the real thing.

Last edited by Fear Itself; 06-11-2018 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:24 PM
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I wonder if corn syrup is more easily disguised as maple syrup than it is as other historically popular flavors? I mean, cinnamon syrup sounds amazing, but that's weird enough that it might not sell well.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:30 PM
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Here's a cool article on the history of Log Cabin syrup. I dunno if it answers the question, but it suggests a factor: marketing.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:48 PM
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The one time I tried real maple syrup, I found it to be watery and didn’t stick to pancakes but just made them soggy. If that was the way it is supposed to be, I prefer the fake stuff. I also love IHOP’s (former name of IHOB’s for you millenials) butter pecan syrup. Delicious!
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:39 PM
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Because there was a time real maple syrup was the default syrup on pancakes. Mrs. Butterworth and friends are cheaper imitations for those who can't afford the real thing.
I grew up on Mrs Butterworth, Log Cabin and the other artificial syrups. And then when I was twentysomething, living on my own and with my own disposable income, I bought a container of real maple syrup from the supermarket. I was surprised to find I was disappointed. Perhaps because my tastes were attuned to the fake stuff.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:51 PM
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The real stuff is great, and the fake stuff with the same flavor can be ok.
There is no fake stuff with the same flavor.
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Old 06-11-2018, 09:59 PM
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I live in New Hampshire and everyone uses only real maple syrup. I am so used to it that fake syrup is cloyingly sweet and flavorless if I use it now.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:03 PM
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There are essentially two kinds of breakfast syrup: maple syrup and flavored corn syrup. Asking why most people prefer maple syrup to flavored corn syrup is like asking why most people prefer a real home-cooked breakfast to a McDonald's takeout breakfast.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:04 PM
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I grew up on Mrs Butterworth, Log Cabin and the other artificial syrups. And then when I was twentysomething, living on my own and with my own disposable income, I bought a container of real maple syrup from the supermarket. I was surprised to find I was disappointed. Perhaps because my tastes were attuned to the fake stuff.
That was my first experience with real maple syrup as well. Now I don't use either the real or fake stuff on most breakfast fare at all. There are better option out there most of the time. I do use some of the fale stuff for some of my baking though. Home made maple iced doughnuts anyone?
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:21 PM
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If you want to talk about other natural products, honey, molasses, and sweet sorghum have historically also been popular in the US. I suspect that LHoD is right and that the present status of maple syrup is a product of marketing.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:29 PM
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I live in New Hampshire and everyone uses only real maple syrup. I am so used to it that fake syrup is cloyingly sweet and flavorless if I use it now.
I grew up on Log Cabin (my grandmother served it out of the metal cabin-shaped can), but saw The Real Deal at a farmer's market. And I loved it. I've decided it's healthier than "store-bought" because I use it sparingly, and so ingest a lot less sugar (and high-fructose corn syrup) than if I slather a waffle in the fake stuff in order to get as much flavor as I can with a tablespoon of Actual Maple Syrup.

Come to think of it, it's like eating a tiny square of Real Chocolate* and getting more satiation (and fewer calories) than I would from stuffing a whole Hershey bar in my craw.

*Current favorite: Seriously Dark Chocolate with Hawaiian Sea Salt made by my wife's friend William...
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:31 PM
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I don't care for the taste of maple whether real or synthetic. I'll take marmalade or lemon curd on my pancakes if we must have them. I don't like pancakes especially much, either.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:41 PM
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I'll take marmalade or lemon curd on my pancakes if we must have them. I don't like pancakes especially much, either.
Mmm, marmalade on pancakes. Thin ones, almost like crêpes, spread with Quince and Apple's orange/lemon marmalade. But after this thread, I'll try these with a dash of real maple syrup as well.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:45 PM
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Mmm, marmalade on pancakes. Thin ones, almost like crêpes, spread with Quince and Apple's orange/lemon marmalade. But after this thread, I'll try these with a dash of real maple syrup as well.
I like that brand.
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Old 06-11-2018, 10:56 PM
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The old rating system was A, B, C, with A being the most refined and sought after. But A is refined so much because they were trying to remove the maple flavor and make it more like cane sugar. Get B or even C if you want more flavor. Actually, now B and C are both grade A with descriptive words; A/B/C was easier.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:07 PM
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I grew up on Log Cabin (my grandmother served it out of the metal cabin-shaped can), but saw The Real Deal at a farmer's market. And I loved it. I've decided it's healthier than "store-bought" because I use it sparingly, and so ingest a lot less sugar (and high-fructose corn syrup) than if I slather a waffle in the fake stuff in order to get as much flavor as I can with a tablespoon of Actual Maple Syrup.

Come to think of it, it's like eating a tiny square of Real Chocolate* and getting more satiation (and fewer calories) than I would from stuffing a whole Hershey bar in my craw.

*Current favorite: Seriously Dark Chocolate with Hawaiian Sea Salt made by my wife's friend William...
This is kind of the crux of the matter to me. Real maple syrup is (to me) a lot sweeter tasting than corn-based syrups, hence you use less even though it costs more. And man, what a difference. Instead of slathering waffles or pancakes in the stuff, you can just drizzle maple syrup on and get similar (but IMO, very much improved) results.

That being said, I am something of a softie for fruit syrups. I have loved boysenberry syrup on pancakes at places like IHOP (or IHOairbnb, or whatever it is now) since I was a child.

But being in a place like that is the only place I would want that. Frankly, the pancakes are shitty and so should the syrup be, I guess.

At home? NEVER. Only the best $6.00 per ounce maple syrup on the Kroger brand waffles I feed to MY snowflakes, thankyouverymuch.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:15 PM
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Another one who after being raised on the fake stuff was disappointed with the real stuff, though I did adjust over time to come to appreciate it and unappreciate the other stuff.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:41 PM
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My mom used to make her own pancake syrup when we were on a food stamp diet. White sugar, brown sugar, water and vanilla. So I of course grew up ignorant of "Real Maple Syrup" was and was delighted to even find something as decadent as Mrs. Butterworth in our kitchen.

Now 30 years later I'm seeing a dude who's family is one of the top maple syrup families in the area (Ohio is America's 7th highest producer of maple syrup!) and I'm not into their syrup at all. I've gotten one bottle of their good stuff over the years and it was just ok. Plus I'm diabetic so I couldn't even get in to it if I wanted to. I am happy with my Splenda-and-caramel-color "syrup."

Does anyone know what country is the third largest consumer of real maple syrup, after the US and Canada? Do any other countries eat north-american-style pancakes (not crepes)? What do they use?
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:42 PM
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Only the best $6.00 per ounce maple syrup on the Kroger brand waffles I feed to MY snowflakes, thankyouverymuch.
Hmmm, we may have to expand this to "what should I put maple syrup on?"

I was lucky enough to marry a Seattle-ite, so I've been introduced to Krusteaz pancake mix (and Snoqualmie Falls Oatmeal). Got a large rectangular griddle that fits over two of the gas burners on our stove, so I can mix up a batch of tasty dough and churn out enough pancakes for an entire sleep-over in a few minutes. And introduce everyone to warm Real Maple Syrup (but I heat up some fake stuff, too, for the kids who prefer that... they'd probably prefer Kroger waffles to my pancakes, too, but sorry, kids).
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:58 AM
Interrobang!? Interrobang!? is offline
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Just to clarify:

I'm not asking why there's a bunch of fake maple syrup out there. I'm pretty clear on the concept of cheap substitution.

I'm wondering why maple at all —real or fake —when there are theoretically other flavors of syrup (real or imitation) that could've been more popular.

"Marketing" makes sense, of course, though the specifics would be interesting.

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Old 06-12-2018, 01:01 AM
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I'll take marmalade or lemon curd on my pancakes if we must have them.
Yeah, lemon curd is tops for me, and almost any fruit compote is second place.

I'm also someone who grew up eating faux maple syrup and liking that fine. Real maple took some getting used to. (And I still serve the fake stuff for weekend pancakes or waffles with the kids.)

Last edited by Interrobang!?; 06-12-2018 at 01:01 AM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:13 AM
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Across the US, maple syrup pretty much comes as a standard side with any order of pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
Cite?

What you say here is what I thought I remembered from my childhood, but nowadays, whenever I pay attention, any "standard" syrup I see doesn't claim to be maple syrup, or even to be "maple flavored" or "imitation maple" or anything like that. It's just called "syrup" or "pancake syrup" or something generic like that.

You can buy maple syrup in the store, but it's significantly more expensive than "pancake syrup."

Did actual maple (or at least maple-flavored) syrup use to be more common than it is nowadays? Or did people use the word "maple" to describe syrup that wasn't actually maple at all? Or am I just misremembering?
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:13 AM
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For me it's simply that I prefer the taste over the various berry flavored syrups.

Regarding real vs fake; I was raised on Log Cabin and I'll use that or others, like Mrs. Butterworth, if they're what's available but I definitely prefer the real thing.

I think Log Cabin had some percentage of real maple syrup when I was a child.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:35 AM
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Hmmm, we may have to expand this to "what should I put maple syrup on?"

I was lucky enough to marry a Seattle-ite, so I've been introduced to Krusteaz pancake mix (and Snoqualmie Falls Oatmeal). Got a large rectangular griddle that fits over two of the gas burners on our stove, so I can mix up a batch of tasty dough and churn out enough pancakes for an entire sleep-over in a few minutes. And introduce everyone to warm Real Maple Syrup (but I heat up some fake stuff, too, for the kids who prefer that... they'd probably prefer Kroger waffles to my pancakes, too, but sorry, kids).
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:36 AM
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Did actual maple (or at least maple-flavored) syrup use to be more common than it is nowadays? Or did people use the word "maple" to describe syrup that wasn't actually maple at all? Or am I just misremembering?
I am, to the horror of purists everywhere, using "maple syrup" to describe both actual maple syrup and maple-flavored pancake syrup. Mostly because what I'm interested in is the flavor, not the quality of the syrup —why is maple, whether natural or artificial, the popular flavor.

(Granted that there's a clear taste distinction between natural and artificial maple, but fake maple is still trying to approximate the same flavor.)

You do make a good point about "pancake syrup" though —I grew up calling Mrs Butterworths and Log Cabin and similar syrups "maple syrup," and I have no idea if they used to actually use the word "maple" in their marketing or if that's just a regionalism. (It's relatively common, though, because Google autocomplete suggests "maple syrup" in searches for all those brands —so other people are using "maple" to describe them even if the manufacturers aren't.)

Last edited by Interrobang!?; 06-12-2018 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 01:40 AM
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I am, to the horror of purists everywhere, using "maple syrup" to describe both actual maple syrup and maple-flavored pancake syrup. Mostly because what I'm interested in is the flavor, not the quality of the syrup —why is maple, whether natural or artificial, the popular flavor.

(Granted that there's a clear taste distinction between natural and artificial maple, but fake maple is still trying to approximate the same flavor.)
True, but in reality, it doesn't really come that close. It tastes like flavoring agents, whereas pure maple tastes like...pure sweet goodness from a tree.

I know that sounds lame, but it's true.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:13 AM
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Real Maple Syrup tastes to me like someone mixed some gasoline in with corn syrup. Mm, yum.

I also don't like alcohol because, again, it tastes like gasoline (this time minus the sugar).

So my guess for why people like maple syrup? Because most people like alcohol and it reminds them of that.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:16 AM
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Real Maple Syrup tastes to me like someone mixed some gasoline in with corn syrup. Mm, yum.

I also don't like alcohol because, again, it tastes like gasoline (this time minus the sugar).

So my guess for why people like maple syrup? Because most people like alcohol and it reminds them of that.
I have to suspect that your smelling/tasting note of maple syrup including "gasoline" isn't going to be super common.

And that's cool, you know, everyone is different! Maybe I live a sheltered life but I've not heard that descriptor for pure maple described in that way. YMMV.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:26 AM
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Just to clarify:

I'm not asking why there's a bunch of fake maple syrup out there. I'm pretty clear on the concept of cheap substitution.

I'm wondering why maple at all —real or fake —when there are theoretically other flavors of syrup (real or imitation) that could've been more popular.

"Marketing" makes sense, of course, though the specifics would be interesting.
Because maple sugar produced domestically was once cheaper than cane sugar imported from the Caribbean. Later, maple syrup and maple sugar were used during the American Civil War and by abolitionists in the years before the war because most cane sugar and molasses were produced by Southern slaves. Because of food rationing during the Second World War, people in the northeastern United States were encouraged to stretch their sugar rations by sweetening foods with maple syrup and maple sugar, and recipe books were printed to help housewives employ this alternative source.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maple_syrup?wprov=sfla1
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Old 06-12-2018, 05:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Interrobang!? View Post
Just to clarify:

I'm not asking why there's a bunch of fake maple syrup out there. I'm pretty clear on the concept of cheap substitution.

I'm wondering why maple at all —real or fake —when there are theoretically other flavors of syrup (real or imitation) that could've been more popular.

"Marketing" makes sense, of course, though the specifics would be interesting.
Hi Interrobang!?. Here in the SDMB we will rehash old discussions a hundred times before pondering an unfamiliar question. Hell, we can’t even see some questions if they use certain key familiar words.

So, let me ponder... I have no idea, beyond I prefer the taste. The lack of tart, fruity notes lets the flavor of the butter and griddle cake come through. My own question: what is defining taste of waffles and pancakes that distinguish them from other breads and rolls? Is it just a textural difference?

Related topics:
Why is cola flavor so effective in soft drinks, but otherwise rarely used?
Same thing for coffee and tea flavors: they show up in a few candies, but are tiny players... why?
Why is vanilla a huge star as an ice cream flavor, and otherwise a supporting actor?
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:27 AM
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There are essentially two kinds of breakfast syrup: maple syrup and flavored corn syrup.
Golden syrup is a cane sugar product (or beets)
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Do any other countries eat north-american-style pancakes (not crepes)?
Sure, you can get them at a couple fast food places and other restaurants here
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What do they use?
"Maple-flavoured" syrup for any but the high-end places. You can get the real stuff in supermarkets. But I doubt South Africa's more than noise on international syrup sales charts. I think either Germany or Japan are likely no. 3
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:15 AM
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A local guy taps trees and makes syrup every few years. We've given him the OK to tap our trees and as a thank-you we get a bottle. We are stingy with the stuff in an attempt to make it last till the next batch. I do not buy the fake stuff anymore, it's the real thing or nothing.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:02 AM
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You do make a good point about "pancake syrup" though —I grew up calling Mrs Butterworths and Log Cabin and similar syrups "maple syrup," and I have no idea if they used to actually use the word "maple" in their marketing or if that's just a regionalism. (It's relatively common, though, because Google autocomplete suggests "maple syrup" in searches for all those brands —so other people are using "maple" to describe them even if the manufacturers aren't.)
According to this page, Log Cabin and Hungry Jack explicitly list maple flavoring in their ingredients. Aunt Jemima and Mrs Butterworth do not and, looking at their websites, neither seems to use the word "maple" anywhere.

However, in a blind taste test, I'd bet that most people would just consider them all "syrup" and largely approximate to one another. I suspect the "artificial and natural flavorings" in the AJ & MrsB are to simulate maple flavorings.

By the way, I ignored all the woo-hysteria stuff from that website and only linked to it because it lists all the major brand syrup ingredients in one place.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:15 AM
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I'm wondering why maple at all —real or fake —when there are theoretically other flavors of syrup (real or imitation) that could've been more popular.
My suspicion is that back in the day, maple syrup was common in the northern parts of the US, and stuff like honey, sorghum syrup, molasses, and cane syrup were common in the southern parts of the US, because they were cheap (local agricultural products/by-products), while refined sugar (what you'd have to use to make fruit syrups) was expensive.

I think over time, maple syrup became predominant- maybe people liked it better, maybe it held some sort of higher socioeconomic status, maybe it was more prized because it was rare, or whatever.

So when cheaper sugars and corn syrup made fruit syrups and imitation maple syrups practical and cheap, maple was the choice for the flavoring.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:35 AM
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True, but in reality, it doesn't really come that close. It tastes like flavoring agents, whereas pure maple tastes like...pure sweet goodness from a tree...
Mmm... just quoting that to remind us of the point of this thread. Real maple is tasty.
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Only the best $6.00 per ounce maple syrup on the Kroger brand waffles I feed to MY snowflakes, thankyouverymuch.
And quoting that because I laughed.
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:50 AM
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I think part of the popularity compared to other flavours is because maple is a "real" syrup flavour. Sort of like how it would be easy to make imitation "bacon bits" in all kinds of different and exotic flavours, but even if they did, most people would stick with what feels normal to them.

Also, putting actual fruit on waffles or pancakes is "a thing", and maybe imitation fruit gets embarrassed next to real fruit.

Last edited by DavidwithanR; 06-12-2018 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:12 AM
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There are essentially two kinds of breakfast syrup: maple syrup and flavored corn syrup. Asking why most people prefer maple syrup to flavored corn syrup is like asking why most people prefer a real home-cooked breakfast to a McDonald's takeout breakfast.
I think the other comments here essentially prove this to be a poor comparison. As has been shown in the comments; most people seem to prefer what they were raised on.

When reading anything where opinions are asked for; I've come to the conclusion that I have to mentally think about a bell curve and standard deviation; in that a lot people that are most passionate about their opinion will be sure and answer. If you were to read this thread as canon beliefs about syrup you'd come to the conclusion that the store bought stuff is shit, and only the real thing will do. I honestly think that's the outliers; and that most people probably don't care too much one way or the other, and that Log Cabin or Mrs Buttersworth are good enough for the price. As a kid, I remember running out of Log Cabin; and using Karo Syrup and being just fine with that.

To answer the OPs question; I think Left Hand of Dorkness hit the nail on the head: marketing.

Which begs the next question: It never occurred to me that other people put something different on waffles or pancakes in other countries.
It looks like Lemon Curd and marmalade are two things... is there a 'usual' product that is used?
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:19 AM
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When reading anything where opinions are asked for; I've come to the conclusion that I have to mentally think about a bell curve and standard deviation; in that a lot people that are most passionate about their opinion will be sure and answer. If you were to read this thread as canon beliefs about syrup you'd come to the conclusion that the store bought stuff is shit, and only the real thing will do. I honestly think that's the outliers; and that most people probably don't care too much one way or the other, and that Log Cabin or Mrs Buttersworth are good enough for the price. As a kid, I remember running out of Log Cabin; and using Karo Syrup and being just fine with that.
Absolutely folks are likely to prefer whatever they grow up with, barring some big change later in life. But I don't know that most folks don't care. To me, maple syrup and pancake syrup are real different products. If I stop at McDonald's for their fluffy mushball pancakes, their syrup is fine just fine. But when I make pancakes and waffles at home, I'm a total snob about it, and there's no way I'd serve 'em with pancake syrup: if I'm out of maple, I'm using powdered sugar, or jam, or honey, or something else.

I dunno. Maybe you're right. But I see them as way different.
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Old 06-12-2018, 11:51 AM
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Real Maple Syrup tastes to me like someone mixed some gasoline in with corn syrup. Mm, yum.

I also don't like alcohol because, again, it tastes like gasoline (this time minus the sugar).

So my guess for why people like maple syrup? Because most people like alcohol and it reminds them of that.
I'm not a drinker and I love real maple syrup. To me, at least, it tastes nothing like alcohol.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:23 PM
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Frankly, I kind of like Log Cabin. At least I don't dislike Log Cabin. It's what we had when I was growing up because it's what we could afford. And while I recognize real maple syrup is vastly superior, I still buy and use Log Cabin because I feel like I have to be judicious with the real stuff, while I can dump as much Log Cabin on my waffles as I want. I save the real stuff for drizzling over breakfast sausage.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Real Maple Syrup tastes to me like someone mixed some gasoline in with corn syrup. Mm, yum.

I also don't like alcohol because, again, it tastes like gasoline (this time minus the sugar).

So my guess for why people like maple syrup? Because most people like alcohol and it reminds them of that.
Or maybe people like the taste of gasoline. I'll grant you, it's an acquired taste.
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Old 06-12-2018, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by MrDibble View Post
Golden syrup is a cane sugar product (or beets)
I don't know about South Africa. But here in America, very few people use golden syrup on their pancakes. The main breakfast syrups like Mrs Butterworth, Log Cabin, and IHOP are all based on corn syrup.

This is, bizarrely enough, related to our political system. The parts of our country that grow corn happen to have a disproportionate strength in national elections. So to win favor in those areas, we have laws that subsidize and encourage the production of lots of corn. One result of this is corn often ends up being used as a sweetener instead of sugar.
  #47  
Old 06-12-2018, 01:02 PM
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Why is cola flavor so effective in soft drinks, but otherwise rarely used?
Cola isn't an actual flavor. It's a mixture of citrus fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla. The citrus fruits will usually be some combination of lemons, limes, and oranges. These flavors get mixed together and you usually can't identify the individual flavors.
  #48  
Old 06-12-2018, 01:17 PM
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Cola isn't an actual flavor. It's a mixture of citrus fruits, cinnamon, and vanilla. The citrus fruits will usually be some combination of lemons, limes, and oranges. These flavors get mixed together and you usually can't identify the individual flavors.
Lemon, lime, and orange aren't real fruits. They're various mixtures of citron, pomelo, papeda, and mandarin. Cola is the flavor of a soft drink, so it's a real flavor in context.
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Old 06-12-2018, 06:29 PM
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I grew up on Mrs Butterworth, Log Cabin and the other artificial syrups. And then when I was twentysomething, living on my own and with my own disposable income, I bought a container of real maple syrup from the supermarket. I was surprised to find I was disappointed. Perhaps because my tastes were attuned to the fake stuff.
My Dad was a Maple Syrup wholesale buyer at age 8. He'd go out with his mom to the farms and do the tasting. (He also was doing the driving. Different world.)

And he never really liked the real maple syrup from the supermarket. He mostly blamed it on being a Canadian product -- too far north for good syrup --- but it get's less sweet and more like tree sap if you push the season.
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:14 PM
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I prefer blueberry over maple, but maple is by far the cheapest flavor. So here we are.
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