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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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smores

National Toasted Marshmallow Day

Toasted Marshmallows go hand in hand with campfires, fires on the beach or around the back yard fire pit, and sometimes over the gas flame on the stove in the kitchen.  They are an age defying treat some like golden brown and others like charred black with a gooey white center.  But be careful, I have heard of a rule that if your burning delight falls in the fire, you don’t get another one!

Ghost or scary stories come to mind when I think back about marshmallows.  There was always that one camp counselor that could tell an animated tale that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  We called that fun, but now I’m not quite sure why.  Most of us knew there really wasn’t a boogeyman in the woods, but because of our age, there was always that niggling concern there might be.  Laughing as a group and walking back to our tents with marshmallow strings stuck to our chins made the hairs lay back down.

I would guess the statistics are pretty high that people who rent cottages for a time during the summer have marshmallows on their list of food items to take with them, or they make a quick trip to the nearest grocery store to get them before the bonfire is lit.  I’ve only been in a few RV camp registration offices that have essentials for sale, but  those essentials include marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars.  S’mores are not an optional item when camping; whatever your definition of camping might be.

If you don’t like your marshmallows toasted they are great in Ambrosia Salad, melting on the surface of a cup of hot chocolate, or as a swirl in chocolate ice cream.  The fluff form is used in making fudge, and mixed with yogurt it makes a great fruit dipping sauce.

There’s a way to make any form of marshmallows even better.  Enjoy them with friends or multiple generations.

National S’mores Day

The origin of this tasty snack is credited to the entrepreneur Alec Barnum. However, the first recorded version of the recipe can be found in the 1927 publication of Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts.   Even though the Girl Scouts were not the first ones to make s’mores, Girl Scout groups describe them in their reports as early as 1925.  Earlier recipes used the name “Some Mores”.  It is unclear when the name was shortened to “S’mores”.

What ever the name, I hope everyone on earth has had a form of this treat at least once.  Maybe even once a summer.

I know the most common place to have s’mores is around a campfire.  That’s great if you like mosquitos and camp fires.  When my kids were in their early teens we got all the ingredients and cooked the marshmallows over candles in the living room.  I thought too late about what the black smoke would do to the ceiling.  Not a good idea in a hotel either.  It sets off the smoke alarm!  Not telling where I tried that one.

A couple years ago we were visiting my husband’s niece in Cleveland.  Her husband made her a s’more by cooking one of those new huge marshmallows over the flame on their gas stove; after their boys had been pronounced fully asleep.  She proved to us, no matter how old you are, dessert is a good thing, and there is no lady like way to eat s’mores.  She ended up with marshmallow on her nose and fingers.  If it hadn’t been bedtime we would have joined her.

I never went to Girl Scout camp, but we had s’mores at 4-H camp and at church camp.  In those days there were only three true ingredients: graham crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows.  Today substitutions are encouraged, most of which have to do with peanuts.  Use a peanut butter cup, or add peanut butter or Nutella.

Which ever way you choose to enjoy this delicious, messy treat, make sure summer doesn’t get by you without having one.

 

 

 

National Junk Food Day

Junk Food probably means something different to everyone, depending on your own routine diet.  In my “puddle” it means chips, dips, candy, and even ice cream.  You know all those things we know we shouldn’t eat, yet enjoy so much.

When my children were young and we were on vacation, especially when staying a few days in a hotel, we would designate one evening, junk food night.  My son was probably about ten, so my daughter would have been eight.  We would go to the store and they could pick out anything they wanted.  Twizzlers, Cheetos, M&M’s, and Coke were the usual first choices.  Sometimes a bag of cookies, but I made those at home, from scratch, so store bought ones weren’t really a go to item.

We would spend the night in the room, snacking, watching TV, playing cards, and laughing.  About 10:00 pm one of them would say, “Ahh, I don’t feel so good.  Maybe we shouldn’t do this on our next vacation.”  But the next year would come, and we would do it again.

One year we made smores in our room.  We got all the ingredients, and some candles.  We cooked the marshmallows over the candles which worked fine, but almost set off the smoke alarms.  I didn’t think about that ahead of time.  My kids thought it would have been fun if they did go off.

I’m sad that today, parents and children alike have their noses glued to their “devices” and barely talk when they are in a hotel room.  They will never make the memories I have with my children.

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