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S’mores and More

“Come for supper.  We’ll build a fire.  Hotdogs and s’mores,” Daughter wrote in her text invitation.  She knew she had me with two words:  fire and s’mores.

            Daughter’s family has a hand-stacked brick fire ring, big enough to burn two-foot long logs and for many people to sit around.   She and I celebrated Mother’s Day sitting with our feet near a fire and dodging the smoke.  That day we didn’t make s’mores; we were happy just to watch the fire and visit. 

            When I was a kid, Dad sometimes built a wood fire on the trash burning fire spot near our garden to cook hotdogs and roast marshmallows.  He’d cut long branches from a nearby tree, and using his pocket knife, he sharpened one end of the branches so we could thread the hot dogs, longways, onto the sticks and hold the them over the fire.  I cooked and gobbled my hot dog quickly to get to the marshmallows. 

            There’s an art to roasting the perfect marshmallow – golden brown and crunchy on the outside and melted on the inside.  Mom taught patience and she told me to turn the stick slowly so all sides of the marshmallow would brown evenly.  Never hold a marshmallow directly over flames unless you want it burned black.  I’ve always doubted those who claim to like burned marshmallows.  How could burned sugar taste good?

            Daughter’s family uses two-prong metal roasting sticks and those are perfect for hotdogs.  The prongs are spaced apart for piecing the two ends of hotdogs and several can be roasted at the same time.  To roast marshmallows, I put one on each prong and held the stick near a log, not flaming, but hot red embers, and I slowly turned the stick. 

            Before the marshmallow crust began to turn to brown, it drooped.  The metal stick warmed the marshmallow inside and the pieced hole got bigger.  “Mom, they’re going to fall off.  They’re hot enough,” Daughter said.  Maybe hot inside, but not brown and crunchy on the outside.  I continued to turn the stick slowly and the marshmallows looked like drawings of elongated raindrops.

            Finally, I declared them done and Daughter held two graham crackers ready.  One topped with two rectangles of a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar.  The other with a Reece’s peanut butter cup.  “Ever tried a Reece’s s’more?  Some people really like them,” she said.   I love Reece’s cups, that combination of chocolate and peanut butter, so I tried a new s’more taste. 

            Some things shouldn’t be messed with.  My second s’more was perfect.  A crunchy, browned, melted marshmallow and warm milk chocolate candy between two graham crackers.  As I licked the melted marshmallow that oozed between the crackers, Husband said, “You know they make cinnamon and chocolate graham crackers.  Those would probably make good s’mores.”             Maybe, but someone else can try those.  I’m declaring myself a s’more traditionalist and the next time I’m invited for hotdogs and s’mores, I might even take my own stick, cut from a tree branch.

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