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I Hate S’mores. Seriously Hate.

May 19, 2009

Summer is approaching.  People will be doing more cooking outside.  There will be fire.  If there happen to be marshmallows, invariably someone will suggest making s’mores.

It’s just a bad idea.  Bad all around.

Toasted marshmallows are fine.  They are great.  Feel free to put them on sticks over fire until you feel queasy from the sugar, smoke and heat.  Until all the hair has been singed off your fingers, and your tongue and mouth are blistered and burned.  Until your face and fingers are so covered with sticky goo you could pass for a human flytrap.  And do it with my blessing.
I’m not even going to tell you whether I think it’s better if they are:
a) set aflame so as to be charred black for a bitter exterior contrast to the sweet insides, or
b) gently toasted to a golden brown, forming a delicate crust that slides off a firm but melting center.

I am going to tell you not to sully that delightful morsel between a graham cracker and a slab of chocolate.  It gains you nothing.  And loses you everything.

I can imagine in my mind what a good s’more would taste like.

It would not be on a graham cracker.  It would be more like a graham cracker crust, but probably in the form of a cookie.  Something with a lot more butterfat, and not the dry, sandy substrate that passes for the bread on this traditional dessert sandwich.

The chocolate would be a good quality dark chocolate.  Not the ubiquitous Hershey’s “barely chocolate” milk chocolate bar.  I would be perfectly happy with Callebaut.  And it wouldn’t be a bar either.  It would be a creamy chocolate ganache – something that would spread well over the cookie.

However you cooked the marshmallow, it would need to cover the entirety of the cookie below.  But the critical point is that the marshmallow should be the shining star of the dish.  It should sit proudly on top and not be covered by another cookie.  Your teeth should still be able to experience the sensation of biting into a hot toasted marshmallow.

Clearly, this vision of my ultimate s’more is still an exercise in gilding the lily.  As good as this may be, it is still not that appealing to me.

As far as I can tell, the only reason for the existence of s’mores is to hide the grit of sand from eating roasted marshmallows at the beach.  Why else would they be placed on graham crackers?  Yuck-a-doo.

Some might argue that putting the marshmallow in a sandwich makes it a cleaner, less sticky experience.  Hogwash.  I have never seen a s’more eater not covered in sticky goo.

People should be happy with having a perfectly toasted marshmallow.  It is one of life’s wonderful simple pleasures.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2009 12:43 pm

    You are so wrong… But have you tried the chocolate with smoked applewood bacon? It sounds so wrong, but is so f—ing good… Try it, if you can find it in Albany or if not, I’ll send you some… ridiculously expensive(9.99/bar), and as off putting as the swiss cheese pancakes… and just as yummy.

  2. Grace L. permalink
    May 19, 2009 12:48 pm

    Thank you for speaking out! I’ve often wondered why people go all goo-goo for s’mores when, for me, it’s all about the charred marshmallow texture giving way to the sweet gooey insides.

    Yeah, I’m one of those who likes to light the marshmallow on fire and hold it up like I’m carrying the Olympic torch.

  3. Ellen W. permalink
    May 19, 2009 9:19 pm

    The smore as prepared and consumed by the unknowing masses is much different from what a gourmand like yourself imagines a smore could be at its fullest potential. I wonder, if someone were to make the smore you envision, would it live up to your expectations? Sounds like a good opportunity for research…

  4. May 20, 2009 10:44 am

    I bet nutella might make it better…
    What do I know? I don’t even eat graham crackers.

  5. little sister permalink
    May 20, 2009 2:04 pm

    mmmm… s’mores. I think s’mores are less about the perfect combo of taste and more about the novelty, the ritual, the communion with others. I think (maybe with the exceptions of smoking breaks) we, in the US, allow ourselves little time for activities like bonfires, or ‘summer’ for that matter. Those who argue it’s the taste, may really be saying it lives up to the VERY memory of a s’more (and Hersheys chocolate might be very important in this case), and that memory is really not about the s’more at all. The s’more (smell, touch, taste, sound) merely unlocks the memory of an idealized time, place, past. It reminds me of adults who go to Friendly’s by choice (versus at child’s request) and the recent cupcake craze in NYC…

    S’more= platonic ideal of childhood ?
    I’m not suggesting, by the way, that you hated your childhood, but only that your best memories of childhood didn’t involve s’mores (perhaps Steve’s icecream, carvel’s flying saucers, Burr’s berry farm’s strawberry slushes, Amish sticky buns, astronaut icecream..?)

  6. Annie permalink
    May 20, 2009 7:12 pm

    With such lines as, “gently toasted to a golden brown, forming a delicate crust that slides off a firm but melting center,” it’s clear you’re working on the wrong side of the Ad biz. So visceral and succinct.

  7. omaxwell permalink
    May 22, 2009 9:47 pm

    Earlier this month I spent an overnight with about 8 cub scouts and their dads. It is amazing how expert and opinionated they were at a very young age about s’mores.

    First of all, you need a good green stick. You did not even address this. If you yourself fall into the fire it is too short. But that is only the most obvious issue… a good stick is key and finding the right one is a warrior’s pursuit.

    You are correct that Hershey’s chocolate should never ever be used for anything, except possibly compost. They are scoundrels, having purchased Scharffenberger, Joseph Schmidt and Dagoba for the sole purpose of putting their rivals out of business. Also much better chocolate can be found.

    Now this is important, Mr. Fussy. While your marshmallow is cooking your graham crackers and chocolate should be placed near the fire so they will warm up and melt when the gooey cooked marshmallow contacts them. Without this step on any kind of a chilly night you do not get an adequate s’more.

    Beyond the above, some scouts ignited their ‘mallows and quickly extinguished the blaze, others let them brown slowly, and still others barely waved them over the flame because they just wanted to get to the eating. One scout dad toasted his for a good 10 minutes and ate it nude, like you’re describing. I’ve never seen a look like he had on his face as he consumed it…

  8. Kate M. permalink
    May 28, 2009 5:24 pm

    Zingerman’s graham “crackers” would be a better fit…more like a cookie given the butter quantity. Those and some ganache would definitely elevate the typical s’more.

  9. Tonia permalink
    June 19, 2009 11:08 am

    I am on the anti-Smores side. My memories of childhood encompass only the roasting of the marshmallow over the fire while camping with the fam and I feel that I have not missed out on anything. ;-)

    Let’s not even go there with the chocolate. You could write a whole other blog about that. My parents started us off early with the Fussy chocolate bug.

  10. Jennifer permalink
    June 19, 2009 12:06 pm

    I’d rather just eat toasted marshmallows until I turn greenish.

    But on a camping trip a friend introduced us to some unique s’mores that I would happily eat any time. On a sheet of foil place you graham cracker, block of chocolate, marshmallow and top with another graham cracker. Wrap the bundle in the foil and toss on the fire. Best s’more I ever had. Everything melts together…ridiculous. So messy. So good.

  11. Mama Ass permalink
    June 30, 2009 6:06 pm

    Not a huge fan of the graham cracker part of the s’more either, but during Girl Scout Cookie season we use the “Thanks-A-Lot” cookie to make smores. It’s a shortbread cookie with a iced fudge side. It’s the exact size necessary to sandwich a toasted marshmallow, and the chocolate is already applied for the melt. Not gritty at all.

    • March 12, 2012 10:19 pm

      I do that, too! Check out my website! It has tons of recipes using Girl Scout Cookies. The Thanks-a-Lot S’mores is one of the most popular recipes!

  12. Josh permalink
    March 6, 2014 1:01 am

    Cant stand smores and wish they’d be banned.

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