Jewish World Review August 5, 2003 / 8 Menachem-Av, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

S'Mores Maker threatens all we hold dear (and gooey) | There's a new kitchen product in department stores that's absolutely disturbing. I am talking, of course, about the new S'mores Maker.

The S'mores Maker consists of a round wooden tray that holds three attractive containers, one for graham crackers stacked in a neat row, one for chocolate bars stacked in a neat row, and one for marshmallows arranged in a pleasing geometric pattern. It also has a small Sterno pot with a little grate on top for toasting marshmallows a light golden brown. Oh yes, and it comes with four brightly colored skewers.

This is so unnatural, so very, very unnatural.

The S'mores Maker has a picture on the box of a group of freshly-scrubbed young people gathered together laughing and making jolly, assembling S'mores. The writing on the box says you can make s'mores inside and outside!

What is the world coming to?

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Let's start at the beginning shall we? No. 1, nobody needs to make s'mores inside. Making s'mores is an outside activity. It may be the last activity that can still get people off the couch and into the great outdoors. Under no circumstances should we encourage anyone to stay in temperature-controlled climates and make s'mores while watching television and playing video games. It's unhealthy, it's unnatural and it's not why the marshmallow was invented.

No. 2, you don't line up the ingredients for s'mores in nifty containers that whirl around on a Lazy Susan. The ingredients for s'mores should stay on the ground around the campfire, scattered in a random fashion. The chocolate bars should be kept partially hidden, maximizing the difficulty of finding them in the dark.

S'more ingredients can be elevated to a picnic table, although this is not the preferred method. For maximum flavor, they must be kept outside in the pitch black, illuminated only by the dancing flames of a campfire. The fact that the components of the s'more are often dropped in the dirt is what gives them their unique flavor and distinctive crunch.

No. 3, s'mores are not made with marshmallows gently toasted to a light golden brown.

Marshmallows were meant to flame. High. Way into the air. You may recall the wilderness-loving president Teddy Roosevelt saying, "The only good marshmallow is a blazing marshmallow." Teddy was right. He was also right to tell the White House chef that he would end up with the moose and elk mounts on the wall in the wild game room if he ever made s'mores in the White House kitchen instead of outside, over an open fire on the south lawn.

Finally, no one in their right mind uses a brightly colored skewer to toast a marshmallow for a s'more. Can you say city boy? You prepare marshmallows on sticks you've hunted in the woods. In the dark. With no moon. With strange noises in the trees overhead and crunching and crackling sounds emanating from beneath your feet.

The proper utensil is a forked stick that leaves a smeary brown residue on your fingers when you jam on the marshmallow. The stick must be long enough to hold over the flames, but short enough to singe the hair on your arm and make you respect the fire.

A dusty graham cracker, a burnt marshmallow, and a soft chocolate bar assembled in the dark by a roaring fire under an endless starry sky, my friends, is a s'more.

And if they ever get all that packed in a box for $29.99, I'll be the first in line to make a purchase.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman