June 19, 2014

WILLIAMS: S'more of good times

I got to check something off my bucket list this week. I ate a s’more for the first time in my life — that graham cracker/marshmallow/chocolate sandwich, beloved by young campers. Actually, eating a s’more was never actually on my bucket list but when my friend, Blythe, found out I’d never tasted one, she was aghast.

“What kind of under-privileged childhood did you have anyway?” she asked.

Certainly no one in my life ever tried to prevent me from experiencing the wonders of s’mores. I guess I was just never in the right place at the right time.

No one knows exactly when s’mores were invented but the first recipe to be printed was in the 1927 Girl Scout Handbook, Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts (a copy of which was sold on eBay for $250 in 2011).

Actually, back in the day, s’mores were called by their full name, Some Mores, until about 1971, when the shortened version became the popular one.

We do know the origins of s’more ingredients. Sylvester Graham invented the graham cracker in 1829 as part of a healthy vegetarian diet.

Chocolate has been around for over 4,000 years. It came from the Amazon and has been valued in every country ever since, being once considered a form of currency in Spain.

Marshmallows also date back 4,000 years when Egyptians squeezed mallow plants to get the insides. Only royalty were allowed to have it. Later, the French whipped the mallow with sugar and egg whites to make medicine which was used for cough and sore throats.

The largest s’more we know of was made in 2007 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Virginia State Parks. It was 1936 square feet and used 55,000 graham crackers, 40,000 marshmallows and 8,000 chocolate bars.

I can’t say I was all that impressed by my s’more. I think the love of them may stem more from nostalgia than actual taste. If they make you remember fun times as a kid sitting around a campfire with a bunch of friends, toasting your marshmallows before putting the melting gooiness on a graham cracker with a square of chocolate on top, then they probably engender warm feelings in your heart and stomach. Not so much if you don’t have these recollections to fall back on.

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