The art of roasting a marshmallow, for it is indeed an art like any other culinary endeavor, requires various skills.
Proper placement on the stick—not too close to the edge (it might fall off) not too far down (you’ll lose all the magic inside as you slide it off)
Proper elevation above the flame—too high and it will not roast properly, too low and you’ll have a torch not a treat.
But the most important is patience. Balancing all the technical skills in placement and flame elevation is just the mechanics, it is having the patience to allow the savory delicacy to properly heat and change from white to golden brown that is the key to a successful roast.
Marshmallows, while there is no archaeological evidence in the form of a petrified marshmallow, date back to 2000 BCE. Despite this lack of physical evidence—I mean who would leave a marshmallow behind, although properly sealed it is likely they would still be viable after thousands of years— the process was well established by the Ancient Egyptians (who also may have invented beer if you need more proof of their brilliance as a society.)
The plant used to produce this delicious treat (which should have its own food group) is called Althaea Officinalis which translates to Official Food Stuff of Gourmands, my Latin may be rusty but close enough.
Over the centuries, the process was refined to the point where marshmallow exists in hundreds of forms.
My personal favorite is Marshmallow Fluff which fueled almost my entire adolescence (and a significant portion of my adulthood as well.) Combined with that other miracle invention, peanut butter, a Fluffernutter is the height of culinary excellence.
In 1927, the first “official” recipe for S’mores was printed in the Girl Scout Guidebook “Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts” (not sure the title was the best choice of words, but they were different times.)
I myself am not a connoisseur of S’mores, I am not a chocolate fan, so I tend toward just eating toasted marshmallows which is much faster than trying to build a sandwich out of melting, gooey confections squashed into a graham cracker.
I also found another danger linked to such practices. The original purpose of Graham Crackers which, after you read this, will forever raise caution whenever you decide to make a S’more or other such snack involving graham crackers.
The original purpose of Graham Crackers was to curb sex drive!
Think about that for a moment. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quote from the article in Food & Wine.
“Graham crackers were originally invented to curb sex drive. Early 19th-century New Jersey Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham believed that humanity, as Atlas Obscura reports, was on its way to a moral collapse due to an obsession with carnal desires. He also believed the food we were eating greatly contributed to our undeterred need to have sex. A simple steak dinner with wine could, according to a 1847 text he wrote, “increase the concupiscent excitability … of the genital organs.” So, he promoted a special process of baking using only “finely ground, unbleached wheat flour, wheat bran and coarsely ground germ.” Out of this, came a bland, dry cracker that he named after himself – the graham cracker.”https://www.foodandwine.com/desserts/give-me-some-more-history-about-smore
So, unless you are trying to curb some out-of-control sex drive, learn patience when roasting marshmallows and avoid graham crackers. And next time somebody offers you a graham cracker, you might take a moment to wonder why.
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