[Sca-cooks] s'mores?

Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius adamantius.magister at verizon.net
Wed Aug 30 06:07:21 PDT 2006

On Aug 30, 2006, at 5:48 AM, Margaret Rendell wrote:

> I'm hoping that my questions are because I'm Australian, and not just
> that I'm clueless, but I don't really understand this thread at
> all...can someone help?
> Huette von Ahrens wrote:
>> I make a really good sweet potato souffle.  I brought it once when  
>> I first
>> joined the SCA to a pot luck.  I put it in the veggie area when I  
>> arrived.
>> I looked later and found it with the desserts.  So I moved it back  
>> to the veggies.
>> I later saw someone moving it back to the desserts, upon which I  
>> told them that
>> is was sweet potato, not pumpkin.
> 1) why would this make a difference?

Excellent question, and one which probably has no really logical  
answer other than "Tradition!" Sweet potato pies and puddings are  
often confused with pumpkin because of their color when both are  
cooked, and when both are cooked, mashed, mixed with things like  
eggs, cream and spices, and baked again, they can be hard to tell  
apart unless you taste them. Now, Huette's souffle should be pretty  
easy to distinguish from a pumpkin pie, but for whatever reason, the  
default assumption seems to be that sweet potato dishes, even though  
the potatoes are inherently sweet (slightly), are vegetable side  
dishes, whereas pumpkin dishes, even though pumpkins aren't  
particularly sweet and do often end up in savory dishes, are still  
often assumed to be desserts, perhaps because, deep down, people just  
think all pumpkin dishes are some variant on the concept of the  
pumpkin pie (such as pumpkin cheesecake, for example).

Yes, Americans are weird.

>> As much as I like marshmallows, I hate marshmallows on sweet  
>> potatoes...
> 2) is this a joke I haven't heard?

Yes and no. Evidently you hadn't heard this before, but it's no joke  
-- a significant portion of sweet-potato-eating Americans eat them in  
a form that is sweetened still further with various sugars, often  
recooked in a sort of sugar-glazed gratin. They tend to be served  
with things like Virginia ham, or a turkey, and it's not as crazy as  
it might sound. Well, the punch line of the joke is that it's quite  
common to top these recooked sweet potato dishes with marshmallows  
(generally the little ones), which, when baked, form a sweet, poofy,  
gooey, slightly caramelized topping. As you might imagine, some  
people find it a bit much.

> 3) what are s'mores? I gather they involve graham crackers,  
> marshmallow
> and chocolate, but I'm finding it hard to envisage
> 3a) what are graham crackers? A savoury biscuit of some sort?

A Graham Cracker is a bit like a Carr's whole wheat biscuit, slightly  
sweetened (with molasses, I believe). Named for Sylvester Graham, a  
19th-century health reformer who popularized a specific form of whole- 
wheat flour (I'm a little sketchy on the details), commonly known as  
Graham Flour, which, when made into biscuits or crackers... well, you  
get the idea. It's been about a billion years since I've eaten a  
Graham Cracker, but I vaguely recall them having a hint of cinnamon  
in them. The other thing that one needs to know about a Graham  
Cracker is they are flat, thin, and broad, rolled into large squares  
or rectangles which are then scored before baking to enable the end  
consumer to break them easily into squares approximately 6 cm on a  
side, which makes them a convenient substrate for a piece broken off  
a Hershey chocolate bar. This, topped with a hot toasted marshmallow  
of sufficient ambieent heat to begin to melt the chocolate, and  
topped with another piece of Graham Cracker, is a s'more.

S'mores are apparently a Scout Camp thing...


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