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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Crying in Your Root Beer

This thought occurred to me when we were driving home from Berkeley Springs this weekend:

Can you get maple syrup outside North America?

In other words, do other countries beyond the US and Canada have sugar maple trees and produce maple syrup or is it always an import or is it not imported at all? Do you have real maple syrup, or do you only have pancake syrup made with sugar or corn syrup?

It literally occurred to me that I've never noticed it when traveling because I've never eaten anything that would necessitate using maple syrup while traveling.

And what about root beer?

I asked this a year or two ago and received only a few answers so I'll try again. A camp counselor once told me that if you haven't had root beer by a certain age, it is a taste that you can never enjoy. Why? I'm not entirely what the scientific process is behind this possible-fact. But it was his explanation for why non-Americans rarely like root beer--because it is a drink pretty much only found in the US and therefore, most non-Americans do not encounter it until they are beyond the magical age line. Is this true?

There actually is a point in wondering what you can't get outside the US.

What products have you wondered about in terms of foods you associate with your own country? I'll tell you if we can find it here.

As always, it has been about a month since we met, bitched, cried, comforted, and caught up each other on our cycles and lives. Pull up a seat and I'll pour you a drink. Let everyone know what is happening in your life. The good, the bad, the ugly. My only request is that if a story catches your eye, you follow it back to the person's blog and start reading their posts. Give some love, give some support, or laugh with someone until your drink comes out of your nose.

I have a ton of assvice in my back pocket and as a virtual bartender, I will give it to you unless you specifically tell me that this is simply a vent and you do not want to receive anything more than a hug.

So if you have been a lurker for a while (or if this is your first open bar as someone who found this space through IComLeavWe), sit down and tell us about yourself. Remember to provide a link or a way for people to continue reading your story (or if you don't have a blog--gasp!--you can always leave an email address if you're looking for advice or support. If not, people can leave messages for that person here in the comments section too). If you're a regular at the bar, I'll get out your engraved martini glass while you make yourself comfortable. And anyone new, welcome. I'm glad you found this virtual bar.

For those who have no clue what I'm talking about when I say that the bar is open, click here to catch up and then jump into the conversation back on this current post.

So have an imaginary cocktail and tell us what is up with your life.


annacyclopedia said...

I can give answers to both your questions, Lolly! Yes, you can get maple syrup outside of North America, although it is ridiculously expensive. When I lived in Japan, there was one store that specialized in imported foods where I could get not only maple syrup, but also maple butter which, for the uninitiated, is basically maple syrup cooked into a delicious soft fudge that you can spread on toast or eat off the spoon. Mmmm, sugary.

And if I can generalize on the root beer question, my experience in Japan was exactly as you describe - they hate root beer. One night we had a potluck, and a friend served root beer floats as a surprise - I think she had found the root beer at an import store in Tokyo and lugged it all the way home for us. My sweet friend Akiyo took one sip, made a face, and uttered the incredulous words that have become part of my family lexicon: "This is treat?" I think I had her float as well as my own - she said she thought it tasted like medicine.

So in honour of this story, I'll have a bartender's root beer to help numb my waiting brain. I'm headed into the last stretch of the wait, which is always the hardest part for me. If this cycle doesn't work, my doctor wants to put me on Femara instead of the Clomid I've been doing. I'm a bit leery of the Femara because of the off label use for fertility treatment, and because it's a much newer drug than Clomid. I hate the idea of being a guinea pig - the medical community doesn't really have the greatest track record when it comes to women's health. At the same time, this is our 6th dIUI cycle, and I'm starting to get weary. If there's a chance the Femara will be better for me with my lining issues, I'll probably tell my brain to shut up and stop thinking of the Dalkon Shield and thalidomide and HRT and just take it.

I welcome all stories of others' experiences as well as any assvice anyone wants to offer.

Mrs. Higrens said...

I read about a Oatmeal Cookie Martini in today's paper, so that sounds really good right now.

Had a BFN Monday morning from IUI #6, and FSH has gone wacky (almost tripling in 9 months with constant Clomid or Follistim), so looking towards taking a break for a couple months followed by the intro to IVF.

It's small consolation that I will be able to drink for real for a while.

bleu said...

Both explain about syrup production here and abroad.

As for root beer I never ever liked it. I think it smells nice but cannot stand the taste and I tried it as a kid. I always liked a coke float instead.

nh said...

We can get Maple Syrup in the UK - but I think it's always imported... plus personally I don't have it on pancakes - I'm more a sugar and lemon juice kinda gal (do you American's do that?)

Root beer - no idea! We have ginger beer... which if my psuedo mum is to be believed, you used to be able to get a ginger beer plant - and make at home!

I need a celebratory drink - 32 tomorrow! Some interesting cocktail will suffice! No new bad stuff personally - hurrah, in fact I'll go as far as to say, I'm starting to enjoy life again!

Rebecca said...

My husband is English and he hates root beer. He tells me that it tastes like medicine. I lived in England for four years but I don't remember if I ever saw root beer over there. I don't think I did.

When I was living there I really missed Cool Whip and the flavored non-dairy coffee creamers. You couldn't get either one over there.

loribeth said...

Maple syrup (or a derivative, like maple sugar candy) is one of those surefire "typically Canadian" gifts that I give or bring to friends & relatives outside of Canada. As for root beer, I remember loving it as a kid but having it again a few years back & thinking it was awful. Of course, I think the same about Orange Crush & that red coloured cream soda these days too. What changed, me or the root beer?

It's a wet, miserable day here, and I have a severe case of the February blahs & pre-annual meeting blues at work. I'll have some hot chocolate with a shot of Baileys in it, please, & see if that helps improve my perspective. : )

Jen J said...

I'm going to have a Sprite please. Keeping it NA today because I'm super nauseated and not even 1 week in to my 2ww. This has happened before and always ended up with a chemical pregnancy. I'm not taking any chances this time around... the good news is that my progesterone test came back super strong! YAY ME!

Regarding the root beer & the maple syrup... those were two things that I've never considered before. Huh. My sister is in Europe right now. I'll have to ask her.

Megan said...

When I lived in London I had a hard time finding good Mexican food. That's what I missed most. Now that I'm home I miss good banger and mash...yummy.

I always heard that peanut butter was an American thing.

Shelby said...

Mmmm, Maple syrup! I guess I am lucky to have grown in WNY, so close to Canada. We get really good syrup up there. Just amazing. And maple candy. ;)

Love root beer, birch beer, all that stuff. Haven't had it in a while though because it has a lot of sugar in it. And diet just isn't the same.

I'll have a big, long island iced tea. Gotta numb the stress away. Freaking out a bit about my GYN appt tomorrow. Hoping they find nothing, and not something major. Not that i'll know right away but still. And freaked about seeing a urologist. I don't want it to hurt. Or to find out something is wrong.

And...on a positive note, my baby boy is going to be 1 tomorrow! And my little girl will be 5 in just 8 days. Where has the time gone? Maybe I'll have another long island iced tea. Feeling the need to be in a liquor induced coma today.

Beautiful Mess said...

Happy early birthday to NH and happy early birthday to both Shelby's children! Hugs to Mrs. Higrens and to hugs to Jen J.
I use to love root beer, now..ick I hate it. It's too sweet and syrupy for me. Maple syrup on the other hand, YUM YUM!
I'll have a dirty martini, please. Actually, make that 2. I'm SO frustrated with the state today! I just want to march into SOMEONE'S office and give them a piece of my mind!

Wishing 4 One said...

Oh how I love this post, I do miss many a food items from back home in the USA.

Okay here in Cairo, I have only found supermarket type maple syrup, not the real stuff and not even good brands. I think I have seen all of two brands, one I can't remember now, and the other could have been syrup that you'd find in a dollar store food aisle (which they were charging 30LE for approx. $6 or so).

We just finished the last of maple syrup that my mom brought when she came last year.

Rootbeer I have not seen here at all. Do we have it, we very well could, but I haven't seen it. They do have cream soda, locally made and its damn good!

A few of the items I am brought when people visit, by my request, Frank's Red Hot Sauce, Lawrys Season Salt, Flavored Coffee Mate (they have only plain here), sea salt, ( i bet they have here just haven't found yet), twizzlers, reeses peanut butter cups, (they have both but not the same and the reeses are so so so small), White corn tortilla chips and the list goes on.

Man my list sounds crappy huh, all junk food. But honestly I don't miss it that much, and don;t eat crappy food here- its just a nice a nice treat to have when someone is coming to visit.

Still waiting to transfer the last of our frozen stockpile, we have four chillin. I think maybe cycle after next one, will be March, God Willing.

Betty M said...

Here in London it is all imported Canadian and sometimes US maple syrup and yup I can't stand root beer. My kids love maple syrup on popcorn.

Megan - Mexican food is improving here - Wah.aca in Covent Garden is recommended.

I'll have a mojito please with a side order of extra hours in the day if possible.

Stephanie said...

When I was a kid, the Mennonites up the road sold a root beer concentrate to mix with water. I would love to find that again, it was uncarbonated and so good!

I'm about to jump back into cycling again. In about two weeks I should start BCP for my second attempt at IVF.

Hopefully I'll respond to the drugs this time and make it to transfer. I'm hopeful and nervous, I want it to work, but I'm not expecting it to. Know what I mean? ;)

I'll take a rum and coke while I still can.

Tara said...

I'll have a big margarita on the rocks since this is virtual and all :)

I am counting down to the big test on tuesday - hoping that IVF #3 is a BFP. My boobs were really sore over the weekend but not so much anymore. My nurse said not to worry, but I do anyway. I hope my progesterone isn't dropping.

I have no idea about maple syrup or root beer. But, I've always HATED rootbeer. Now, a pale ale...I love that kind of beer!!!

Elizabeth said...

Hey Jen J, yay for good news! Cheers!

I was just remembering today what it was like to live life in 2 week segments, and wondering when I'll start doing that again.

I don't know about now, but I know when I was growing up in Peru there were a gazillion things made in the US that were not available there - like grape bubble gum. And vice versa, of course. When in the US, I mostly missed fried plantains, Inca Kola, manioc (aka yuca), and every kind of fresh tropical fruit. Of course you can get all that here now, and even then you could in big cities (but I'm a country girl).

So in a fit of ersatz nostalgia I guess I'll have a pisco sour - the national cocktail of Peru :-)

TeamWinks said...

Not only did my first husband (who was from Sweden) hate Root Beer, but thought Dr. Pepper tasted exactly like the glue he used as a little boy. Strange, but true.

I'm sitting where most people who read here would love to be. Our adoption is finalized, despite our son now being almost two, and I'm one day shy of 33 weeks pregnant (after donor egg IVF cycle.) Life is anything but boring, and it's completely exhausting.

So, since it's virtual, I'd like a rum and coke!

Jendeis said...

You know the issues. It was so good to drink with you this afternoon.

I've always wondered if they have ranch salad dressing elsewhere. Also, where does ranch come from? Did they invent it on a ranch?

VA Blondie said...

I think I will take a chance on your house red. I love red wine.

It has has been a long time since I had root beer, so I guess it is not my favorite thing. I do not mind it, though. And I love Dr Pepper, so go figure. I was born and raised in Virginia.

I think we are headed toward IVF. Our second IUI with injectables was a bust. I cannot say I was surprised. Hubby and I decided that we should try IVF with ICSI next. So in a couple of weeks, we have a IVF consult with my RE in Richmond. I am actually looking forward to seeing him again. In the meantime, I am drinking while I can. Ejnoying it while I lasts.

Queenie. . . said...

You can't get cranberry juice outside of the US. At least, I've never been able to find it anywhere. In honor of that, I would have a virtual cranberry martini...but since I'm currently drinking an actual glass of champagne (with cake--SUCH a good dinner, I know), I will just virtually toast you all.

I never knew there were so many people that didn't like root beer. It never occurred to me that there was something not to like. Dr. Pepper, though--ugh. Now THAT tastes like medicine. And Moxie--who drinks THAT stuff???

orodemniades said...

North America (Canada, New England, and parts of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) is the only place maple syrup is made. They tried importing Sugar Maples (aka Rock Maples) to northern Europe, but they didn't take. You can, however, buy maple syrup - at ridiculous prices. And, hilariously, it tends to be labled 'organic'. Ha!

Alas, as global warming continues, maple production in the US will probably die as the trees do, and it will be a Canadian import altogether.

Anonymous said...

Interesting thoughts.....

Having only lived in Canada and the US I never gave any thought to either the Maple Syrup or Root Beer availability.

There are significant differences between even Canada and the US with regard to foods available and their differences. Ketchup chips for example. Tim Horton's coffee another. I could go on and on.... perhaps will write a post on it. There is so much that is available in the US that we can't get in Canada for YEARS! Insane. But if you are a Canadian visiting the US, BE WARNED Alphabet cereal is NOT the same between the two places. Smarties in the US are also something completely different.

Mel, if you will pour me something "southern".... perhaps a Hurricane?

I am anxiously awaiting news on the thaw from Dora. Keeping my fingers crossed. Trying to figure out what type of chocolate to send to her post transfer.... any ideas?

Thanks for pouring and listening. Wish me a better drive home next week please!

areyoukiddingme said...

I never liked root beer until I was pregnant. Then it tasted great, but I couldn't drink it because I was borderline diabetic. As soon as that baby was out, root beer was disgusting again.

Just Meim said...

I always thought of root beer as a "kids" drink, and therefore despised it when I was a child. Now, it's my FAVORITE! Fountain Barq's is the best!

As for my drink, I'll take a fountain barq's (surprise, surprise!). I just had my 2nd miscarriage in less than a year. And my RE says I have PIO shots in my very near future.

On a positive note... I'm working really hard to lose weight, and I've lost 5 lbs in a week. YAY!

Tigger said...

Copper Camels, please, and keep the shots coming.

I've been off my anti-depressants for about a month, and have reached the "oh god, she's unstable! Look out! she's gonna blow!" stage. I'm very close to losing my temper at all time, over everything. I think the anger about mom is boiling up and it's not going to be good when it goes over. Also? I'm sitting at two months after getting my magical fucking degree and I still don't have a job. So much for degree = more job opportunities.

Erin said...

I just finished a diet root beer and it was super tasty! As a child, when I'd spend my summers in Wisconsin I'd walk down to one of the local hot dog/root beer joints. They always had THE best homemade root beer, I can almost taste it now....sigh. In other strange coincidences I had a sip of home made root beer schnapps today. It was made by a chef "trying out" for a job where I work. I just let it touch the tip of my tongue and it made my whole body shiver! 80 Proof! Wowza!

We go for our first "IVF is now your option" consult tomorrow. I'm extremely nervous and super excited all in the same breath. I'm cautiously optimistic, but reading about all the meds and needles is starting to freak me out a little....My sister in-law the nurse has volunteered to stick me when needed.

Thinking maybe I should have stolen some of that schnapps for some liquid courage!

B said...

Maple syrup. Check. (imported)
Cranberry Juice. Check.
Dr. Pepper - well let's face it, America is a country people migrate to not from so it is hard to find those sort of things here - but my local grocer has every kind of Italian fizzi drink on offer, even Norwegian Elderberry cordial. I like Dr Pepper although I've only had it in the States. Another thing we don't do is peanut butter with sweet stuff, and also cinamon and cherry flavours (cinamon gum, cherry cola etc.

No-one who eats vegemite late in life likes it, and everyone who eats it early will crave it sometime, particularly when they are recovering from a tummy bug.

Dora said...

Isn't Angrycanrn the best!!!

I'm sitting here in my Toronto hotel room. One day left for a drink before I'm PUPO. But I ordered dessert from room service, not booze. I'm too scared of mini bar prices to hit that.

I can't drink sugary sodas (pop for you midwesterners). Just way too sweet for my taste. Diet Barq's is great.

I ate a few pancakes while visiting the Netherlands. They like their pancakes (but not for breakfast), but not a drop of maple syrup in sight. Didn't like the syrup they had, so I had some with chocolate sauce. (Vacation calories don't count.) I converted my ex to real maple syrup, by having him do a taste test with the real deal vs. Aunt Jemima. He actually let me throw away an almost full bottle of the fake stuff.

Please think good thoughts for my thaw and transfer Friday morning.

Ms Heathen said...

We do indeed have maple syrup here in the UK, although it is all imported (mainly from Canada).

Since this is after all the virtual lushary, maybe I should overcome my prejudices and order a root beer - I've only ever tried it once in my life, and thought that it tasted a little like mouthwash! This is, of course, on the proviso that, if I don't like it, you'll take it away and pour me something tastier instead!

Marge said...

We live in Michigan (used to be in Wisconsin) and we make our own maple syrup. It has become a family thing and we all have fun with it. My ever-resourceful DH made an outdoor stove out of an old water tank, had somebody weld up some big arse pans, and we have fun boiling it down for hours and hours. But drinking the sap right from the tree is sooo good.

Lemon Fanta from Germany. I love that stuff! The closest thing I've found is some sort of lemon drink in a glass bottle at Target.

I've been working on my blog--it helps me heal. It's been almost eight months since Dekar died and it seems like yesterday. Sigh. Damn.

Anonymous said...

Here in PA, we have backwards laws regarding alcohol, and I've heard that chalked up as the reason we also happen to have a good deal of microbreweries around. I've always enjoyed microbrew root beer, but apparently you can't get or make "real" root beer anymore, since Sassafras is carcinogenic. I absolutely can't stand diet root beers - they DO taste like medicine.

Also, I had NO idea you couldn't get cranberry juice abroad.

In any case, I'm going in for my egg hunt ultrasound on saturday, presumably followed by IUI next week. I've had a migraine every day since the beginning of this cycle, and I'm about ready to chalk it up to side effects of clomid (though I never had that for the first 5 rounds) - so I hope this is my last go around with clomid, since I just can't take this anymore.

EVE said...

New here and always a day late and a dollar short!

I remember drinking homemade rootbeer from a 'witches cauldron' teeming with dry ice smoke as a kid at Halloween. That was some gooooooood rootbeer!

A little about me, I'm TTC #2 after having IF with #1. I'm about to hit the one year mark for TTC again, so that's a bummer.

Two weeks ago I learned that I may be suffering from POF (which is pretty devastating) and that my doc thinks I have an endometrioma in my ovary, so I'm hoping to get better news when I see the RE on Mon.

I have to work today, so I can't blog surf like I'd like to, but I can't wait for next week to get to know some of you more!


Erin said...

Mmmm, maple syrup. Yum.

I've been turned off of most root beer except A&W after trying some that my FIL made. It was awful, and I still feel nauseated when I remember that I drank a full glass of it because he was so proud of having made it himself. I like to think that it prepared me for motherhood.

I'll have a glass of champagne, since we'll be celebrating K's one-year Family Day in just a couple of weeks! It's hard to believe we met him almost a year ago, and almost every day I look at him and think of how amazingly blessed I am to have him as my son.

decemberbaby said...

Amaretto Sour, please.

I'm on CD10 with a lining that is woefully thin, and a follicle that's almost ready to trigger. Anybody have an encouraging story?

I am the Princess said...

I live in new york
we make our own maple syrup every now and then. I hate the artificial stuff.
Too bad it is hard to come by in the rest of the world.
ohhhhhh root beer floats- i remember having them all the time at the A & W drive in.
now that gave away my age.
I am not the biggest fan of root beer- but would never pass up a root beer float.

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Shinejil said...

You can get maple syrup in both Germany and Russia, though it's often only sold at fancy "health food" or other specialty stores. It's imported in both cases.

I'm in the other 2ww--the one when you're waiting for your first u/s to confirm viability--so I'll take something nice and strong (and virtual). How about a magic bottle of vodka that sends you first into euphoria for a few hours and then oblivion for 10 days?

Shinejil said...

Oh and one more thing! Maple syrup is also produced in Ohio and Indiana, as far south as Zone 6 (for all you plant heads out there). So it's not just Vermont, peeps! :)

L said...

I am going to order a glass of red wine..Robert Mondavi's Private Selection please. Thanks.

I honestly don't like maple syrup. I remember going to Upstate New York and getting all geeked over the little tin cans in the shape of cabin filled with the stuff..then I put it on a pancake and immediately reached for Mrs. Buttersworth to save the day.

Root beer- depends on my mood.

I am currently waiting on all my DHs work up to be complete. He has azoo. We have an appt. tomorrow with our urologist (Dr. Jumpable). He should end up getting a transrectal US, and US of the Sugar Lumps. :) Hopefully there is a blockage somewhere...eventually we will get a TESE or PESA...or something. That is my life!!!

Cheers to all of us ladies!

my blog-

I have my profile blocked b/c I have a blog my IRL peeps follow.


Cassandra said...

There are so many acquired tastes in different parts of the world. It's always an adventure to be open to new foods when traveling. Sometimes intriguing, sometimes ewww.

In honor of that, I will order a lychee martini.

In the midst of Perfunctory IUI #7, in preparation for IVF #3. It is so liberating to do a cycle where I expect nothing. Liberating but also annoying.

Sara said...

I live in South Korea, and ALL of the maple syrup here (yes, Annacyclopedia, it's shockingly expensive here too) is imported from the US or Canada.The climate would be fine for sugar maples, but I don't think that they're native here. Not sure though.

Root beer is widely available in Southeast Asia, but is sold under a different name--Sarsaparilla. It is reasonably popular there. That doesn't answer the question about it being a taste that one must acquire early in life, though. One possible explanation--babies (of many species, not just humans) learn about what is food and what is not from their mothers, starting in utero, and especially during lactation and the period of infant care. Strong flavors to which they are not exposed during that time may be viewed with suspicion later.

mary said...

Love root beer, had one with lunch. My mom remembers my grandma making it homemade when she was little.

Can I just say I need a strong drink and keep them coming tonight. Found out a co-worker is pg. She is unmarried, not serious about the father and really not a very nice person. Add to that the fact that unmarried pg people are not well regarded in the teaching world. I felt like someone punched me when I heard the news. We would be great parents (really, we would be) but our babymaking is dependent on finances and we have no disposable income having to pay two mortgages until our previous home sells. Anyone looking for a lovely house in AZ? Doesn't help that the twins due date would only be a month away. I am bitter.

Bec said...

I'm up for a nice glass of Semillon Sauvignon Blanc thank - I've become a bit of a wine coniesseur of late!

Yes you can buy Maple Syrup in normal shops in Australia, but personally golden syrup is much better *and Aussie made :)*

Speaking of regional foods, one thing that most Aussie's love and everyone else hates is Vegemite - best thing on the planet. Also TimTams are very popular, apparently there is an Australia store in Austin (where my friend is) which has all of our aussie products :)

sunflowerchilde said...

Ciao! I'm in Italy with my husband visiting his family and I LOVE root beer, although I rarely drink it anymore. I can confirm that they don't have it here and don't know what it is. Also, when Italians have visited us in the states, they always hate root beer and say it tastes like medicine. I grew up with it, and with every other kind of soda, too, and root beer is the only one I like.

They do have maple syrup, but I believe it's imported and expensive.

Trying to recover from failed IUI #1 right now (while on vacation). Just like the beginning of TTC, I'm guessing that when the first IUI fails it's a huge setback. I'm climbing out of the depression of the last few days, and trying to look to the future. I know the path ahead of me is still long, but I'm dreading what will happen if/when I come to the end of it.

corrin said...

Root beer is my absolutely favorite fizzy drink.

When I was in college we used to order shots called Oatmeal Cookies and they tasted exactly like the real thing. I still don't know what they were. Haha.

Rebecca said...

I have never seen maple syrup or root beer for sale in Yorkshire, although I've seen maple "flavoured" things.

I'm mostly angry atm. It sucks, really. I'll have a Black Russian

Bea said...

It's weird how different foods turn up in different countries even though the ingredients/culture would lead you to assume otherwise.

I can't remember the first time I had root beer. I think it's similar to sarspirella, or maybe I'm getting it confused. I had sars early, although I didn't appreciate it til later. Root beer is fine by me and I often order it at "American Diner" style restaurants because it is so American and I figure I should plow in as long as I'm eating American style - but perhaps that's the sars talking.

Speaking from opinion alone, I think you're never too old to acquire a taste, it's just that people tend to become a bit set in their ways after a certain point. Durian is the obvious exception to this ;)