General Question

caly420's avatar

What are some popular movies where snow cream is either eaten or mentioned?

Asked by caly420 (546points) December 7th, 2011

My friend was born and raised in NC just like me, but he has never heard of snow cream before. I grew up hearing about it and making it whenever we were lucky enough to get a winter snow.

I’m sure I learned of snow creams greatness from my parents, but I was trying to think of a holiday movie that included it as a snowtime tradition, just to have some pop culture backup :)


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28 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

What is snow cream? Is it maple syrup on snow?

auntydeb's avatar

Never had ‘snow cream’, but the film Snow Cake (2006), starring Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver is enchanting. Read a bit about it, but I recommend getting hold of a copy if you haven’t seen it. Beautifully photographed, great acting and, a real ‘snow cake’ at the end.

Nullo's avatar

@above Snow cream is ice cream made from or with snow.

I had to Google it; never heard of it before.

gailcalled's avatar

Traditionally snow cream was clean snow with only maple syrup poured over it. All the new recipes using sweetened condensed milk, or sugar, vanilla and butter are Johnny-come-latelies aka impostors.

I cannot think of any movie, offhand where it is shown, but there must be some. I tried it for the first and only time at the Inn in Stowe, VT, run by the Von Trapps (The Hills Are Alive) in 1955. It was OK.

Certainly easy to make at home, provided it is snowing and you have pure maple syrup.

zensky's avatar

I also had never heard of it. Maple syrup on snow is called sugaring off, eh?

gailcalled's avatar

Not exactly. Sugaring off is the tedious process of boiling down the sap to produce maple syrup and then maple sugar.

This is probably the only downside of living in the land of milk and honey and no snow.

zensky's avatar

Uh no. In Quebec, the largest producer and exporter of maple syrup in the world, sugaring off is simply collecting fresh syrup and putting it on traditional tins of snow. Straight from the tree to the snow. This is from personal experience.

Here’s some reading material.

Yes, it is also used to refer to the boiling process.

gailcalled's avatar

The term has flexible definitions. Sap directly from the tree is pretty sappy;

sap to syrup ratio

Jones rule of 86. Divide 86 by the sugar content to figure out how many gallons of sap it will take to make a gallon of syrup. Example: 2% sugar, 86 divided by 2 is 43. It will take 43 gallons of sap to equal 1 gallon of syrup. It’s not perfect but it gets you mighty close.

Here’s some more reading material.

zensky's avatar

I’ve gone sugaring off. It’s the only phrase we used. We would get tins – fill them with snow – and tap the trees for sap from the pegs.

zensky's avatar

From Quebec’s official website:

The sugaring off

As freeze turns to thaw, the sap begins to rise in the maple trees. Following Amerindian custom, the first settlers learned to tap the sugar maple and reduce its sweet water to obtain a thick syrup prized for its flavour, colour and clarity. This seasonal ritual led to a thriving industry, one that each year produces thousands of hectolitres (hundreds of thousands of quarts) of syrup, taffy and maple sugar—representing 85% of Canada’s output

Nectar of the gods
Before it’s processed, the sap is collected drop by drop through spouts inserted into the trees. In the old days, pails would be hung from these spouts and their contents emptied regularly into horse drawn barrels. Times have changed though, and today many sugar bushes use a network of tubes connecting the spouts to a pump and carrying the sap to an evaporator. It takes roughly 40 litres (42 US quarts) of sap to produce one litre (1.05 US quarts) of pure syrup.


Note the “before it’s processed.” Now, what’s in a phrase and who determine’s what is colloquial and what is lexical? I’d say in this case the largest producer of maple syrup does.

gailcalled's avatar

Wasn’t it very watery, if the ratio is 42 quarts of sap to c. 1 quart syrup?

Maple syrup is also delicious on real steel-cut oatmeal.

Now, excuse me. I have to spend some time living my life today (in the rain and waiting for snow.)

zensky's avatar

You call that a life? Only if you have a roaring fire. Stay warm.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zensky I’ve never heard of pouring sap right onto the snow. The consistency of sap is very similar to that of water. The term “sugaring off” is, as @gailcalled said, pretty flexible. Usually, I use it to refer to visiting the cabane à sucre, and eating lots of pancakes and pork fat and maple syrup. My dad used to make maple syrup in our garage, and a few times he let us make maple taffy by pouring it over snow. Yum.

(But I’ve never heard it called “snow cream” before.)

zensky's avatar

I linked you to the term used in Quebec’s official website. Quebec, alone, produces 75% of the world’s maple syrup. They can use the term any way they want.

You can’t make it, not in a garage or anywhere. It’s sap. And the consistency is not like water that’s for sure. I don’t know which Maple you have – but there are several.

wilma's avatar

The sap that flows out of my Sugar Maple has the consistency of water. On the other hand the Maple Syrup that I make is thick and divine.
I’ve never heard of “snow cream”.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zensky You have to take the sap from the trees and boil it down, a lot – this removes much of the water and makes it syrup. That is why my dad didn’t let us make taffy all the time – because it takes a lot of effort to gather the sap, and then very little syrup is produced at the end. It can be a long and frustrating process, unless that is your whole business.

I am in Quebec. :)

gailcalled's avatar

Guess who woke up too 6 inches of fresh show this morning? (One guess per person.)

If it doesn’t melt before I return from an errand this morning, I will make some with. my lovely dark organic Vermont Maple Syrup…one of the few sweet things I eat on my largely vegan diet.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@gailcalled Four here. It’s really pretty.

zensky's avatar

@dappled_leaves Are you saying one cannot put maple syrup fresh from the tree on snow in a tin and call it sugaring off? There goes my childhood.

gailcalled's avatar

@zensky: Sap comes from the tree; syrup (after a lot of boiling down) comes from sap.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@zensky I’m saying that maple syrup doesn’t come from a tree. You have to boil the sap… and @gailcalled beat me to it.

zensky's avatar

OIC. So can one have sap from the tree on snow in a tin and call that “sugaring off?”

Has this whole thing been about calling the tree sap sap and only “syrup” after the process – or are you also arguing that the pastime of sugaring off is not as stated?

dappled_leaves's avatar

To your first question… I’m not sure why you would want to do that.

To your second… as I said earlier, I’ve always used the term to mean the whole “going to the cabane à sucre” experience. As in “we’re going sugaring off this weekend” or “I hope I get a chance to go sugaring off this year”.

zensky's avatar

It was directed to Gail:

I wrote above (when this thread began) Maple syrup on snow is called sugaring off, eh?

Gail replied:

Not exactly. Sugaring off is the tedious process of boiling down the sap to produce maple syrup and then maple sugar.

I’ve always used the term to mean the whole “going to the cabane à sucre” experience. As in “we’re going sugaring off this weekend” or “I hope I get a chance to go sugaring off this year”. PERFECT.

The only question I have now is – could one go sugaring off sans le cabane à sucre? Could one just “tap” a tree?

gailcalled's avatar

I will happily concede that “sugaring off” can have elastic meanings.

By the time I got home from the vet’s, all the lovely snow had melted so I missed my chance. I bet that there will be other opportunities to try my maple syrup on fresh snow soon.

zensky's avatar

And call it sugaring off when doing so.

gailcalled's avatar

Not that elastic. I would still call it ‘eating sugar on snow.” Enjoy the game.

zensky's avatar

Elastic like tights? Isn’t that what we used to call “leggings”?

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