Monday, May 22, 2017

A Brief Rant, Because I Can't Take It Any S'more!

With campfire season upon us, it’s time we had a straight-forward talk about something that’s been bugging me more and more in recent years. I’m talking about s’mores, specifically the frequency with which these traditional campfire treats are concocted for our increasingly spoiled children.

It used to be that you had a campfire to have a campfire. That was the reason. Occasionally, once the initial excitement of starting the fire and the pure awe of the fire itself had begun to wane, some well-organized parent would announce that they’d brought the various ingredients for s’mores. People would cheer and then search for appropriately long and thin sticks. This was not an every fire thing, but only at the special occasion campfire.

It doesn’t work like that anymore.

Now, s’mores have become a seemingly necessary part of every darn fire, ever.  If there is burning wood in a pile with people sitting around it and children in the vicinity, the kids expect there to be some s’mores. If not, they will be downright disappointed.

S’mores are not special anymore, but required.

It’s gotten so bad that we even have fires for the sole purpose of making the s’mores.

And what's with the spelling? "S" Apostrophe?
It's just annoying.
BTW, that marshmallow is done.
Two parties I’ve attended in recent weeks ended the exact same way. At some point as the evening wore on, the host announced that they’d bought the ingredients for s’mores. There was no campfire when they announced this. The kids all got excited, of course, and I’m looking around saying, but there’s no fire?

Let that sink in. Rather than busting out the s’more ingredients at an existing campfire, they busted out the ingredients and said it lets go make a fire so we can cook these ingredients.

This is just wrong.

What’s worse, these were the first two campfires of the long spring and summer campfire season, and already my kids have had s’mores twice. TWICE!  Thinking back, we were lucky if we had s’mores twice a summer.

I blame the parents, as always.

You see, us parents fondly remember that time we had s’mores a few decades ago at that one fire, and now we try to give our kids that same experience every gosh darn time. I add it to all the other ways parents these days go way overboard to the detriment of everything decent, including our sanity.

But here’s the other problem. S’mores kind of suck. And most people don’t even like them that much.

Think about it. You’ve got three ingredients. First you've got the marshmallows, which are quite disgusting both in form and in substance. Do you know what they are made from? Sugar, water and … gelatin. Look that one up. It’s a made from a substance found in animal bones. Puffy, white mashed-up animal bones.

Then you’ve got graham crackers, which are pretty much toddler food. Sure, they’re good crushed and turned into a crust under cheesecake. But when’s the last time you saw someone eating a graham cracker who wasn’t teething.

And, of course, you’ve got the chocolate. Everybody loves chocolate. But if you think about it even more, the least tasty way to indulge in chocolate is probably within a s’more.

It just so happens that at both of these parties – and at most campfire parties that I attend – the s’more supervision parental duties got left to me. That’s because I’m a bit of a safety freak, and for some reason I get nervous when twenty kids between the age of 2 and 14 gather around an open pit brandishing sticks that often turn into marshmallow torches, always to the shock of everyone involved.

“OMG! Your marshmallow is on fire!”

No crap. They were sticking it in the flame for the last three minutes.

And of course, in every bunch there’s at least one little pyro who tells you how much they like the burnt ones. It’s a lie. They just like burning stuff and pay the price of eating a burnt marshmallow for the rush.

As always, once the s’mores making frenzy is underway all chance of me relaxing to hypnotic dance of flames is extinguished. In its place, there’s left a few fights over the best stick, mild corrections for kids who cook too close to the flame or too far above it, and, of course, don’t forget the warm, gummy bizarre animal byproduct that covers everything from your fingers to your chair to your beer can to your daughter's hair.

Most of the kids don’t even eat the darn s'mores. They take a bite or two, and then purposely drop it in the dirt and demand another one.

A kid at one of the parties who’d half eaten three of the concoctions before conveniently dropping them, came up to me and asked for another. I told her, rather than make another s’more, how about you just burn a marshmallow on a stick and eat some of this here rapidly softening chocolate. She agreed to the plan.

Because that’s really the only good part about s’mores, isn’t it? Eating chocolate and burning stuff.

I know I’m outnumbered. But I vote to eliminate this whole s’mores thing and get back to having a fire for the fire’s sake.

If you want to bring some chocolate, fine. But let’s dial back the s’mores. Okay, people?

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Unknown said...

I would like these s'mores:

Larry said...

Cranky Curt!
First off, I like graham crackers.
Second off, we occasionally have s'mores at home as one of my sons really enjoys them. I think they are merely okay.
Finally, what about popcorn and a movie? Don't tell me you never watched a movie to justify popcorn.