In case you missed it, this past Thursday, August 10th, was National S’mores Day. If you type this string into Google™, you will come up with quite a few references to this tasty, gooey treat as well as some stories about its origins. I will leave all of that, and the link above, to those of you who may wish to explore the history of s’mores in more detail. For those of you not familiar with this item, it is a crunchy, crumbly confection made with graham crackers, chocolate (a Hershey®’s plain milk chocolate candy bar, to be specific), and marshmallows (toasted, not singed in my book). Its construction is a careful process with the hot marshmallow melting the chocolate and the whole thing held together by the graham crackers on top and bottom.
I don’t really have a specific memory of the first time I had one of these concoctions, but it must have been on some camping trip or other. I have to say that I wasn’t immediately hooked, which is a surprise given my sweet tooth. I’m more of a “deconstructionist” s’mores eater, if you will, preferring to eat each component separately or, truthfully, just the chocolate and the melted marshmallow, leaving out the graham cracker completely.
For me, I think part of it is that I’m more of a marshmallow “toaster” as opposed to a “burner,” as my brother-in-law put it so delicately when we were testing out the s’mores kits that my mother had found at L.L. Bean®. Rather than thrust one of the billowy, white orbs full-on into the flames (or hot coals in our case), catching it on fire and allowing the marshmallow to develop a black, blistering, crusty exterior, I am the type who will sit there, patiently, turning my marshmallow on the end of a pointed stick or skewer, daintily toasting each side until it reaches a specific shade of golden brown.
This method drives one of my sisters completely crazy. I think on one occasion she actually took my stick and rammed it into the fire, destroying my handiwork and leaving me with a blackened shell, underneath which lurked the gooey marshmallow heart. I was not happy with this. All of this came back to me this weekend when I was back at my parents’ house and we were trying out these aforementioned s’mores kits. My mother had even found a rotating skewer for those who, like me, want to make sure that each side of the marshmallow has its appropriate time allotment so that one doesn’t get too browned or burnt, as the case may be. Unfortunately, someone else called dibs on that utensil so I didn’t get to try it this time.
The verdict? Well, I think it was a bit unnecessary to pre-break the graham crackers in half, as the kit did. The Hershey®’s chocolate was the same as it always is. The marshmallows, however, were, I have to say, disappointing. It was as though a regular-sized one was chopped in half (see picture). This had all sorts of ramifications as part-way through the toasting process my marshmallow started to sag off of the skewer, only to be rescued from the coals by my quick-thinking cousin who grabbed a graham cracker to catch it before it fell. Other than that, as the first picture in the post shows, the kit did create a bog-standard, scout-regulation s’more. As for taste? Well, let’s just say that after one bite and the mosquito bites that I managed to accumulate from being outside while toasting the marshmallows, I could have been back at camp.