SHANNON’S WEDDING: AND A FIRST TASTE OF MAPLE SYRUP FOR ONE OF HER GUESTS

August 14th, the day of our daughter Shannon’s wedding, was one of those lovely, clear days that tourists who vacation in Maine dream about. The day was warm, but not too hot, there was hardly a cloud in the bright blue sky, and the humidity was low. All summer brides (and grooms!) wish for such weather for their weddings. 

The actual ceremony was held outside (another reason to be thankful for nice weather) under a large pavilion. Shannon’s boss, who is a justice of the peace, performed the ceremony, and everything was as splendid as the weather. Andrea Maddi, one of the bridesmaids, read an Apache prayer. Claire Hersom, the groom’s aunt, read one of her poems. Then, there was a receiving line, pictures, the meal, and dancing. Lots of dancing. 

In fact, like the preceding week, it all seems a blur—a bit like Christmas where a lot of preparation goes into one day that seems to pass in a flash. Many of the guests have commented on how “glowing” both Shannon and Mike were. How true! They both looked so happy to be getting married. As I have told many of my friends, Mike and Shannon are very devoted to each other, and while it may be old-fashioned and not terribly romantic, I believe it is this devotion that will help them through the hard times that inevitably come into all people’s lives. 

Anyway, a beautiful day for our family and for the many dear friends who came to celebrate it with us. And I am now a mother-in-law. 

However, as a foodie, it would be remiss of me not to relate a conversation I had the following day with a young man named Chris, one of the guests. A small group of us, including Mike and Shannon, went to Riverside Farm Market & Café in Oakland for brunch the day after the wedding. Riverside Market sits on the edge of fields, gardens, and, yes, a vineyard. Beyond the fields, gardens, and vineyard, the Messalonskee river flashes and glitters as it flows by Riverside Market. In an area of Maine known for its pastoral prospects (as well as its mills), it would be hard to find a more pleasing view. 

Along with growing grapes, which is made into wine, Riverside Market grows much of what they serve, and all the food is fresh and well prepared. I love going there for brunch and am especially keen on their eggs Benedict. The poached eggs are plump and perfect, and the hollandaise sauce is smooth and rich. My husband, Clif, sat on one side of me, and Chris, the aforementioned guest, sat on the other. 

Chris now lives in Washington, D.C., but he is originally from Louisiana, where his parents run an organic farm that features grass-fed cattle. Chris is a foodie, and as he had never been to Maine, he was eager to try lobster rolls and real maple syrup, both for the first time. (When our server heard this, she shook her head in surprise. For Mainers, real maple syrup is almost a birthright.) 

On the way to Shannon’s wedding, Chris had stopped in Freeport to have a lobster roll. “But I didn’t get a good one,” he said. 

“Oh, no?” I replied, wondering what was wrong with it. “Tell me about the lobster roll.” 

“Well, it was stuffed full of lobster meat, but there was no sauce, nothing to go on top of it.” 

Spoken like a true son of Louisiana, where most things, even the seafood, are served with some kind of hot, spicy sauce. Laughing, I told Chris that in all likelihood he had had a perfectly fine lobster roll, that we “Yankees” tended to like our seafood straight up and plain, and indeed there is some virtue in this. Too many spices can easily overcome the delicate flavor of seafood, especially when it comes to lobster. Enlightened, Chris vowed to give lobster rolls another try, keeping in mind there would be no spicy sauce on top. 

With maple syrup, which Chris had for the first time with his blueberry pancakes at Riverside Market, it was quite another matter—love at first taste. And a triumph for Maine. A maple-syrup convert. 

So the wedding is now over, and a happy day it was. I hope to have a few pictures, not all of them food related, to post sometime soon.

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