In an effort to make the standard s’more a better choice for a camping snack, I attempted to improve or substitute all three ingredients–graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows with something healthier. The new packages listed all kinds of benefits. Below are the changes or substitutions I made and a brief description of how they differed from the original.
The graham crackers: Substituted with whole wheat and trans fat free graham crackers. This is the only snack whose flavor profile is based on gravel.
The chocolate: Replaced with carob. Carob is a substitute for chocolate in the sense that Will Purdue was a substitute for Michael Jordan.
The marshmallows: Substituted with sugar free marshmallows. They leave a persistent chemical taste stuck in your head that is more difficult to get out than that song “Muskrat Love.”
I roasted the new marshmallows using the same formula we all do: 1) Starting slowly and holding them near the fire so they turn that golden brown color. 2) Losing patience and moving them directly into the fire. 3) Urgently jerking them back out when they burst into a hissing ball of flame. 4) Frantically blowing on them hard enough to burst an ear drum so as to extinguish the aforementioned hissing ball of flame. 5) Deciding the one tiny white corner that is still not a charcoal colored cinder can be turned to a delicious golden brown by again patiently holding the marshmallows near the fire. 6) Sticking them back in by the fire to begin the entire process all over again.
When they were done, I slopped the molten, ash filled cream on the Will Purdue/gravel cracker sandwich and placed another gravel cracker on top. I then bit into something about as pleasant as an African civil war.
In spite of the improvements listed on the ingredients’ packaging, the changes could not be considered an upgrade to the s’more’s good name (unless increasing the price to $12 each is an improvement).
Wine has similar upgrades on its packaging to be wary of. The terms “Old vine” or “Reserve” on a label does not necessarily mean it’s an improvement. Although it can be a step up for some producers, the terms have no legal or agreed upon definition. This week’s recommendation uses no such terms.
Dry Creek Vineyard 2006, Cabernet Sauvignon ($21.99): Packed with coffee, tobacco, and chocolate covered cherries, it sort of reminds me of some of my camping trips in college.