Sunday, July 31, 2011

On a Lack of Orthodoxy, and Reflecting on Michael Pollan's Food Rules

Here is where I tell the dogmatic: this is not a post for you.

We returned today from a quasi-staycation - we were spending the week at a nearby lake taking advantage of some kayaking and other summertime activities. And guess what? There were s'mores. Oh, yes.

Now, in no way would I attempt to classify any type of s'more (grain-free or not) as "paleo" or "primal". Nope, they are decidedly a rare neolithic treat. Michael Pollan once said in his Food Rules, "#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself." I can't ever know whether he had s'mores in mind, but the idea here applies nonetheless. Since all of the commercial marshmallows that I found in stores contained various preservatives in addition to corn starch and corn syrups, I looked for a non-corn marshmallow, only to return the same search results over and over. You guessed it: Google was recommending via its various search results that I make my own. Me? Make my own marshmallows? I went back to a marshmallow recipe linked by Eat the Cookie, who also has a grain-free graham cracker recipe on the same page.

My mom was my partner in crime: she covered most of the marshmallow-making process. I made the graham crackers. And guess what? Total time invested in both was at least three hours. Yes: three hours. In other words, Michael Pollan knew that there was something to his statement. If someone wants a Cheeto, and they have to hand-craft the Cheeto, it's going to take them way more time and energy than popping a few quarters into a vending machine does. Because of the huge time investment, guess how often s'mores are likely to be a part of our lives? Yup; about once or twice a year, tops.

The marshmallows toasted beautifully once held close to the flame - and my entire family pronounced them far superior to commercial marshmallows in all aspects. (I didn't have any of anything, since I'm still in July Whole 30 mode, so I relied on the reviews of the s'more eaters present.) My brother said that conventional s'mores were a taste and texture bust by comparison.

And thus, my 4-year-old had her first handcrafted s'more.


  1. Oh, that sounds delicious. I had no idea marshmallows could be made at home! Perhaps I'll try that next summer. My husband always feels badly that he doesn't get to pass that on to our son when we go camping with his family.

  2. You know, our adult children will be here for a week this month and I do believe I shall make some for them - I've told them they are going to eat what we eat, and it might be nice for them to see that, yes, you can have a somewhat healthier version of something like s'mores.

    Then again, my edict didn't seem to phase them much - my daughter is already trying to find a way to make paleo Jello shots.

  3. Just curious, is this the recipe you used?

    They aren't paleo because of the sugar, but at least they leave the corn syrup out.

  4. At the link you have, Eat the Cookie attributed this below link, which was her starting point.

    I made the Visions of Sugar Plums version.

    Yes, marshmallows are in no way paleo, but my goal was to minimize the gak factor, and I think the VOSP version did that nicely.


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