Most summers I travel “Up North” to visit my grandparents in Michigan. There is a lake, water-skiing, old movie watching, reading in the sun, potato salad, and a uniform comprising of a bath-suit, towel and oversized t-shirt. When the wind blows, the smell of cow is carried from the surrounding farms and drifts in and out of windows, reminding me to breathe deeply. Without reception, even my cell phone takes a vacation and lies dormant in my bag. In short, it’s wonderful.
On special nights (perhaps during a self-imposed intermission to a Fred and Ginger classic), Nana may suggest S’mores for dessert. These are some of my favorite nights. We each grab a kitchen fork, crank up the heat on the stovetop and roast our marshmallows over our indoor “campfire.” (Sometimes there are even campfire songs involved).
Arranging our “mise en place,” if you will, we arrange two graham crackers per plate, one plain (the top of the sandwich) and the other perfectly covered with chocolate (the base). The roasting begins.
There are two main categories of marshmallow roasters:
- The first camp holds their fork high above the burner and caramelizes each side of the marshmallow with meticulous dedication. These golden brown beauties stay over the flame long enough to melt the marshmallow all the way through the center, ensuring that the s’more is gooey and warm enough to melt the chocolate bar.
- The second group of roasters includes the pyromaniac sort. There are those who set their marshmallow aflame with no apologies, watching it blacken with glee. Others begin with the slow rotation method, but eventually seem to lose self-control, dipping their forks dangerously near to the burner creating a mini, marshmallow torch. Although these roaster enjoy the charred, campfire flavor, rarely do their marshmallows melt all the way through, leaving an unsatisfying, solid center.
This past weekend, I added a thin spread of peanut butter to my graham cracker (an addition I highly recommend). The marshmallow melts the peanut butter, as well as the chocolate, incorporating a creamy component into the s’more’s texture. I call it, “stovetop bliss.”
So, from my isolated locale Up North, I enjoyed s’mores and simplicity, roasting my marshmallows slowly and melting them to their core. My grandparents sang camp songs as we all stood around the stovetop–a perfect place to be.