With picnic season in full swing I look forward to campfires. What tastes better than a hot dog cooked over an open fire? Although we have commercial hot dog sticks, often we simply take green branches to do our cooking.
Years ago when we had a Franklin fireplace we ate a lot of hot dogs all year long. We had long tongs that we roasted our hot dogs on. My husband would come home from the barn and open the doors to the stove so we could roast the hot dogs. That was something that I always kept in the freezer. It was expected that I could produce wieners and buns for a snack.
We all have fire rings, but the one that gets used the most is my son's down by the pond where camp. It is not unusual to have a few cows looking over the fence when we get there. In fact, even the horses take note of our use of the pasture. The nice thing about a fire ring is that the fires do not spread. We can fan the flames to have enough heat to cook hot dogs, then, let the fire die down to roast marshmallows.
While I love marshmallows, I was never particularly fond of them roasted. If I did roast one, I made sure it did not burn.
Although s'mores were part of our family memories, I do not remember ever having any until I was an adult. At camp we did make something they called banana boats. Yuk! We cut a banana down the middle and filled it with marshmallows and chocolate chips. The whole thing was wrapped in foil and roasted in the fire. That was not a recipe I cared to bring home.
The grandchildren love s'mores so we usually have the fixings when we have a campfire. All of the children are old enough now to roast their own marshmallows, but usually the adults help with the assembling process. It is hard to manage all of the pieces without dropping something.
Would you believe they now make "flat" marshmallows just for making s'mores? My daughter found some somewhere when she shopped and had them over the fourth. I guess they worked alright, but I am not sure the change in shape was really necessary. Regular marshmallows work just fine.
I did notice that there were chocolate marshmallows this year. Last year I bought some strawberry ones. The grandchildren and I ate them and they were very good. I remember a few years back I found some peppermint and spearmint marshmallows that came complete with red and green stripes. I found that they were tasty in fruit salad. That was just a passing fad though so we did not get used to them.
I "googled" s'mores and found some interesting information. I found a recipe for homemade graham crackers that sounds really interesting. It is a little involved but the reviews say it is worth the effort. That might be a nice project to do with the grandchildren.
The write up said that the graham cracker dates back to the 1800s. Reverend Sylvester Graham, a minister from a small town in Jew Jersey, is credited with the recipe.
"Dr. Graham's Honey Biskets" were marketed as a health food since they contained white flour as well as wheat bran and wheat germ.
Most of us do not think of graham crackers as health food, but being low in sugar content they serve as a sweet indulgence for some people with diabetes. When I visited my father-in-law's cousin Goldie in her apartment, we always had a graham cracker with our cup of coffee. They must not have hurt her since she recently turned 100 years old!
My children and grandchildren still enjoy graham crackers. Sometimes we eat them plain, sometimes doctored up. I always save leftover frosting to create graham cracker sandwiches. Sometimes I use peanut butter as the filling, too. I also remember when they came out with cinnamon graham crackers. I really like those.
When the grandchildren were small I always had a box of teddy grahams in the cupboard. I am not sure when they began to make the bite-sized versions. It made an easy snack for little fingers. Of course, there were plain, chocolate, cinnamon, and chocolate chip ones. I varied my stash to keep the little ones happy.
Back to the s'mores - I found information that documented a recipe for s'mores in a Girl Scout book in a 1920 something issue. Maybe I never had them because I never went to Girl Scout camp! Our family did not make them when we had a campfire at my aunt's cottage either. It is strange, I like the crackers, the chocolate, and the marshmallows, but I do not like them together and I do not like them toasted. To this day, a s'more is not something I really enjoy, but I make them for the children. I even figured out a recipe for s'mores that can be done indoors so that they can be enjoyed during the winter months as well. I included it in my cookbook so that others could enjoy it, too.
Whether you cook over a fire or over a grill, food cooked outside tastes very good. Be sure to have a fun-filled summer with lots of family picnics. If your family likes s'mores, make some. If they do not like them, fix something else. The most important part of a picnic is the memories that are made.
Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org.