Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Monday, October 29, 2012

More S'mores, Please


I think everyone has had a s’more at least once in their life.  In case you just crawled out from under a rock and aren't familiar with these delectable morsels they are a gooey combination of marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched between crispy graham crackers.  And, hopefully, the s’more has been cooked over and eaten next to a campfire and not in the microwave like some of our city friends. 

So you may have known what they are but do you know their history.  Oh yes, there will be a history lesson now.  The name comes from two words “some” and “more” which are often said because they are so good and you can not eat just one.  The treat was developed by campers in the early 1900’s and although the true originator is not known since camping recipes tended to be orally passed around, Loretta Scott Crew is credited with the recipe as she was the first to publish it in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook entitled “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.”  I'm not sure that title would be approved for use today but it sure makes the Girl Scouts sound like fun.

The three components of s’mores are simple: graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows.  Ironically, the first component, graham crackers, were invented in 1829 by the minister Sylvester Graham as a health food because of the high fiber content of the unsifted and coarsely ground wheat flour.  The next component, the marshmallow, dates back to the ancient Egyptians and later made popular by French confectioners.  Sap from the mallow root (later replaced with gelatin) was whipped and turned into a fluffy candy.  But the product was revolutionized when Alex Doumak created the cylindrical shape through a process of pushing the combined ingredients through tubes.  As they emerge, they are cut into pieces and packaged into perfect bite-sized pieces.  Chocolate has a long and complex history that would bore you to death and just make your mouth water so I won’t go there.  But just know that it was John Cadbury and his idea of emulsifying chocolate that led to the first solid bar.  Many people thank you Mr. Cadbury!  So now that all the ingredients are portable it is time to take them to the fire.  If you are lucky enough to have nice friends that buy you a S’mores Kit (thanks Nancy and Ginger) then you are ready to go.  Otherwise, head to the store and gather the goods before the sun goes down.

Dad at work
I think the key to a good s’more is melted chocolate and a soft gooey marshmallow that is NOT burnt.  But it seems not everyone agrees on the desired degree of burness and some people just stick it directly in the fire and wait for flames to shoot out of their skewer.  One thing is for sure, you need nice hot coals (not only for the s’more but to keep your feet warm while this process is going on).  My dad put the chocolate on the graham cracker and set them by the fire while he was gingerly toasting the marshmallow.  This allows the chocolate to start melting which is just enough of a head start before the hot marshmallow lands on top of it.    
Note the chocolate melting softly while the marshmallows are being cooked.  With four hungry
women hovering around, Dad was cooking two at a time.
No campfire?  Next best thing is to make them indoors by the fireplace on a cold winter’s night.  Or if you are really desperate and want to disgrace the Girl Scout Handbook, use the microwave.

Betsy your marshmallows are done!

2 comments:

  1. Great pictures and stories from the Southwest! I'm ready to go camping and make s'mores again. Your Friend, D'Bruce

    ReplyDelete

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