How the Heck Did I Survive Childhood? Part 1

A while back I commented that this little blog seemed to be turning into a food blog. Since then, not so much. Personal life butting in where and when I don't want it to and all. So as I do a 180 degree turn back to food and food blogs I feel compelled to comment on a trend or two I'm seeing. First is the proliferation of peanut butter, chocolate and whatever recipes. I should confess that in my book, peanut butter in any form, even disguised by chocolate ranks at the bottom of things to eat. I have no idea why, but it does. Want to punish me, feed me peanut butter sandwiches for a week. Or make it worse and add jelly. Yuck!

As a kid, I recall maybe once or twice getting PB&J in my lunch box. Frankly, I don't think my mom liked it much so it wasn't a staple in our house. She was more the Oscar Meyer bologna sandwich type. Fridays brought my brother and I tuna salad sandwiches which were so good. As far as jelly or jam, I don't recall having seen it much around the house. My parents were from the toast with butter school of thought. If you put me on a desert island with peanut butter and jelly, I'd probably starve. Now stick me on the same island with bread and butter and I'd be a fat happy camper! Throw in some summer sausage and it'd be a holiday.

But I digress, along with the proliferation of peanut butter and something recipes is a new interest in s'mores. Another anethma to my palette. Though this one I can blame directly on the Girl Scouts. I loved earning badges but did not relish the camping part of the Girl Scout experience. It was in fifth grade where s'mores surfaced in my life. After a day of hiking and crafts we had dinner. Finding and keeping a sturdy twig from a tree about 3 feet long (0.92 meters) was very important because while camping was not in tents but rather a cabin with about 40 cots, there was no real kitchen or grill to speak of.

Dinner consisted of hot dogs on buns with ketchup. The catch was that you had to thread the stick up through the length of the hot dog and then roast it over the campfire hoping that your stick did not break or burn leaving your dinner in the fire. Following dinner it was time for s'mores, the troop leaders would dole out the graham crackers, squares of Hershey's milk chocolate bars and marshmellows. The idea was to stick a marshmellow on your stick and roast it to a toasty brown without having it melt off the twig into the fire.

There should have been a badge for s'more assembly. With no tables or chairs, you balanced the piece of chocolate on the graham cracker, put the melted marshmellow on it (while still on the stick) then place another graham cracker over it like a sandwich and slide the marshmellow off the twig with the "sandwich". The idea was to have a wonderfully melted chocolate marshmellow treat (frankly it was nauseatingly sweet). One problem, it was usually cool at night so as the fire died down, the amount of heat given off the marshmellow was not nearly enough to melt the chocolate. Basically you had a cracker, hard chocolate bar and burnt marshmellow mess.

Then there were those girls who put 5 or 6 marshmellows on the twig at a time to have more heat with which to melt the chocolate. Picture a group of 30 or so 10-year old girls with hot sticky twigs squeezing around the fire all at once. It necessitated some arms and sticks reaching over the heads of those nearest the fire. Now add to your picture all these little girls on a sugar high, with marshmellows in different degrees of melting, trying to get the s'more packages together and still jockey for their spot by the fire. Marshmellows dripping on each other, in hair and on the ground. The diehards would pick up the fallen sticky treat, dust it off and plop it on their waiting cracker. There was about a 50-50 survival rate for the marshmellows. Many just melted off the stick into the fire in all the commotion.

Is it any wonder that the word s'mores makes me just gag? Maybe if I didn't have such bad memories of s'mores, I'd be more open to the new array of s'more creations. I figure it's not so bad, since it just saves me a few more calories and that's always a good thing. Tomorrrow I'll tell you about cooking with a "buddy burner". Oh, you lucky people!  :)



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