Baby’s First S’more
My husband, daughter and I spent the weekend at “The Farm,” my dad’s girlfriend’s amazing place in Upstate New York. The farm is kind of like summer camp. There is hiking and swimming. There are alpaca, ducks, peacocks, guinea hens, a rooster and deer to chase around and feed. There is a furnished teepee and a furnished log cabin on the property. There are ATVs. And of course, there is a vegetable patch. As for the accommodations, unlike camp, they are luxe.
My daughter, Gloria, “learned to drive” the buggy and fed the various animals on the property. She got dirty, went exploring and spent most of her time getting to know two of her six grandparents a little bit better. She also had her first s’more.
Do you remember your first s’more? As an adolescent, I spent my summers at artsy sleep-away camps and summer programs that shunned color war, which was perfect for me. I would spend the first two weeks sending my parents whiny letters about how miserable I was, then I would invariably meet a boy with long hair and a bad attitude, and then I would spend the next six weeks not writing home and having the time of my life. Camp was where I experienced many of my culinary (and I use that word lightly) firsts. I had my first soda at camp. I had my first super-local, picked-by-me-5-minutes-ago-corn at camp. I had my first Cadbury Crunchie Bar, toad in a hole, and scone at camp. (Those were in nerd camp in Cambridge, England.) I had my first bug juice, Utz brand chips, caviar (don’t ask), maple candy and last but not least, s’mores at camp.
Now, nothing says “safety” like a large group of rowdy teenagers sitting around with sticks, sugar, and fire. Whoever thought that a campfire would be a good idea must have known how tasty s’mores are. I was not sold on the whole experience though. I was, let’s say, socially challenged, I had never had a marshmallow (I thought they seemed gross) and I was petrified of fire. I doubted that campfire night, in which we talked to each other in a big group, while cooking marshmallows over a huge open flame, was going to be a success. Needless to say I was wrong, especially if you measure success in the severity of your post s’mores binge belly ache.
Gloria was introduced to the concept of s’mores by a cartoon character named Kai Lan, and she was instantly hooked on the idea of trying them. So, s’more lover and good mother that I am, I was sure to pick up ingredients for s’mores on our way to the farm. After dinner on Saturday night, Gloria, my husband, the grandparents, and I headed to the fire pit with our supplies and made s’mores.
I was surprised to learn this would be my husband’s first s’more and the first time my dad made his own s’more. Nobody seemed to know what was going on and I ran around dispensing sticks and ingredients. I did not have the time to savor my own s’mores (I gobbled them up instead). But I did get to spread the cheer and teach a few people how to make the most classic and tasty campfire dessert around.
I was a little disappointed because the crowd’s reactions to the s’mores were mixed and not just outright “Oh my goodness, this is the best thing ever.” My husband now understands the enthusiasm people have for them. My daughter doesn’t care for the marshmallow, but likes the other ingredients, and upon seeing the campfire, declared, “That looks like dragon fire,” which is really awesome enough for me. My dad seemed quite happy with having an excuse to set things on fire and thought his s’mores were quite tasty. My dad’s girlfriend would have preferred cake to a second s’more.
We were hurried and it was not dark out. Perhaps setting the mood would have helped some. A dark sky and “Rocky Raccoon” on the acoustic guitar would have added a sense of nostalgia that most grown-ups seem to experience during the summertime. Overall, I think the campfire was a success because, Gloria made and ate her first s’more, and she saw dragon fire with her family.
- graham crackers broken into squares – so each cracker makes two squares
- Hershey Bars – traditionally 2 pieces per s’more but please adjust your ratio to your taste
- marshmallows – traditionally 1 per s’more but please adjust your ratio to your taste
Have your graham cracker squares and chocolate handy. Place your chocolate on one graham cracker square.
Over a campfire, toast your marshmallows on nice long sticks you found on the ground. There are different techniques. I believe the traditional method is to slowly brown all sides. Personally, I like to set my marshmallow on fire. I then wait and make sure the fire chars the entire outside surface of the poor unsuspecting sugar pillow. Once I am sure it is completely blackened, I blow out my little torch. This yields a marshmallow with charred outside, and a molten inside that makes me insanely happy. I do not like the “natural” chewiness of un-scorched marshmallows.
Then use the two pieces of graham cracker (leaving the chocolate on top of the bottom square) to pinch the marshmallow off of the stick. You should have an ooey-goey chocolate and marshmallow sandwich. Eat and repeat.