It isn't summer unless I have a s'more. I don't even really like them that much; I would gladly eat the chocolate and skip the rest. In fact, the graham cracker and marshmallow are just vehicles for carrying the chocolate to my mouth, so to speak.
But really, there's nothing like toasting a marshmallow for a s'more over a campfire, trying to get it to the perfect stage of golden brown. The stars are winking overhead, everyone is pleasantly tired after a day at the beach or on the trails, someone's telling jokes or singing a song . . . when suddenly that perfectly toasted marshmallow bursts into flames and ends up a blackened, charred mess.
When you have children, there is one of two reactions when this happens -- tearful disappointment or unadulterated glee. The child who wants to make the perfect s'more and the child who is delighted to burn up an entire bag of marshmallows, three on a stick at a time.
|our view of Lake Michigan last night|
Making s'mores with children is fraught with danger. Take three excited, overtired children at the end of a long day, put them near an open fire and give them long, sharp, pointed sticks. Um, who came up with this brilliant idea? Mom and dad are on the constant alert, lest someone trip and fall into said fire or accidentally poke someone's eye out. There's always the possibility of a flaming marshmallow, wildly swung about in an attempt to extinguish the flames, slipping off and careening into the nearby nylon tent.
And the unsuccessful attempt to make sure all the graham cracker crumbs and dead marshmallows lying in the dirt around the fire have been cleaned up so that you don't wake up in the middle of the night to hear two angry, snarling raccoons fighting over the leftovers.
Enter adults staying at a condo on the beach, with fond memories, but no campfire at hand. It's summertime; s'mores are clearly called for after a day at the beach.
Well, necessity is the mother of invention as they say.
Now, those of you who own toaster ovens have probably already thought of this, or have done this. But, when I thought of using the toaster oven in this fully equipped kitchen to make s'mores, I felt Positively Brilliant.
|tip the marshmallows over and toast "s'more"|
No fuss, no mess. No sticky fingers all over the clean sleeping bags despite mom's best attempts at wiping little faces and fingers clean before bed. No marshmallow residue in a child's hair, resulting in a matted tangle. A nice perfect s'more.
So how come I miss those campfire days so much?