“If it weren’t for these fluffy fuckers, we’d be bankrupt within a week.”
What do you get when you combine gelatin, sugar, water and corn syrup? No, not diabetes. Well…
But no, the answer we are going for is one of the most American dessert/decoration/camping/breakfast/anything candied foods available. That’s right, we’re talking about the ever Vegan-Unfriendly Marshmallow. Marshmallows are a staple candy in American cuisine, seen everywhere from breakfast cereals to candy treats made out of breakfast cereals. And before you can accuse us of overstating both the importance of Marshmallows, as well as their American-ness, consider their role in the creation of S’Mores. Imagine the S’More- the classic American camping treat of two graham crackers and two pieces of chocolate held together with a melted, gooey Marshmallow, without that most key ingredient. Without the shape-forming delicious Marshmallow, a S’More would just be two delicious but uncontained pieces of candy, chaffing against the rough texture of the graham cracker, unable to be held up in a comfortable, shapely way that helps ease future back problems. On a totally unrelated point here’s a picture of Marshmallows being strung together to make a bra.
So without further glances at the above image (even our female readers are a little curious, right? You’re thinking “that looks uncomfortable…but also kind of comfortable…”) let us go into the surprisingly rich history of…
Marshmallows: American Magic Sugar Balls
Marshmallow, in one form or the other, has been in existence since ancient times, dating back to when Egyptians combined the mucilaginous extract of the root of the marshmallow plant (a plant with origins in Europe) with honey to treat sore throats. The Marshmallow plant itself doesn’t look like anything special- it’s a four-foot tall flower, and the only thing good that comes out of it can be found in its roots, which can be used medically to treat things like sore throat and a bunch of other conditions that homeopathic medicine people probably exaggerate.
“You, sir, look far less delicious than anything else that will be pictured in this entire article.”
For those of you who just finished scrapping the remains of your microwaved Marshmallow Peep off your plate while plucking a Marshmallow out from your hot cocoa who might be concerned that you are eating something that came from a plant, worry not, what Americans eat as Marshmallows have never touched anything that has touched soil, we can assure you. The process got rolling in the 1850’s when Modern Marshmallow confections were first made in France and blah blah don’t care about the French, so the next major milestone for Marshmallows was in 1948 when American Alex Doumak developed a Marshmallow extrusion process. This process added sugar and pressed Marshmallow into tubs that were sliced and began to take on a very familiar shape.
(it was this shape)
We also decided to take the “marshmallow root” part and replace it with the much more wholesome “gelatin coming from pigs” and pumped it full of sugar. The explosion of popularity of products like Jell-O in the 1920’s and 1930’s greatly increased Marshmallow’s popularity (since almost every Jell-o recipe at the time called for Marshmallows). And ever since that point, Marshmallows have had a huge role in American food. Just look at all the things you can make with Marshmallows.
Yes, we realize that the earlier S’mores/Bra comparison was a bit…strained (Ha! Had to) but we are nothing but earnest when we say that S’Mores are one of the most quintessential American camping foods. When you’re eating a snack that’s healthiest ingredient is essentially a cookie you have to have a modicum of respect for the part of it that has to be set on fire to make the whole thing work. There is literally nothing other than a Marshmallow that can make this whole thing work. Want to make Caramel Peach S’Mores without crackers or chocolate? Still need Marshmallows. Cinnamon S’Mores with chocolate chips? STILL need Marshmallows, motherfuckers. Marshmallows make S’Mores delicious, and if you ever see an American claim that S’Mores aren’t delicious, duck! Smokie the Bear just showed up to maul the shit out of the person who would dare insult S’Mores. That dude is relentless.
2. Rice Krispies Treats
Just like the true origin of the S’More is unknown (but fear not, we will eventually delve into it) we still owe its inventor a lot, since the idea itself is so radical and inventive. “Let’s take these two random things…and stick some Marshmallow in there!” It’s genius in its simplicity. So too do we see the Rice Krispies Treats, where someone said, “Here’s a boring cereal that looks like rice and makes noises when you put milk on it. How about we just melt down some butter and marshmallows and turn it into fucking candy.”
And so they did.
And again, much like S’mores, Rice Krispies Treats come in all sorts of varieties that all require Marshmallows, no matter what. But you know what they don’t require? Goddamn Rice Krispies. Yeah, fuck that cereal, you can make bars of Marshmallowed out of whatever you put your mind to. Is Cap’n Crunch and chocolate something you’d want to smother in melted Marshmallow? You’re not even going to click this link because you’ve already run to the store to get butter, Marshmallows, chocolate chips, and goddamn Cap’n Crunch. Trix? Goddamn it, that sounds even fucking better! We should have put a disclaimer in today’s AFFotD that if anyone reading this is suffering from any blood-sugar related medical ailment, by they you’ve read this sentence the doctors have already been forced to cut off your leg.
3. Motherfucking Peeps™
If you google search “Marshmallow” the first result you get is for Motherfucking Peeps™. Why is that? Because Motherfucking Peeps™ are the natural evolution of the standard Marshmallow. You take Marshmallow, you shape them into little animals, douse them in a sugar-like substance, and for good measure give them little eyes that science says cannot be dissolved in ANYTHING. And then you just put them in Easter baskets, or trick people into seeing if they can eat 100 of them in one sitting. Motherfucking Peeps™ haunt you and even start to taste better as they get a little bit stale and start to harden. That’s right, Americans, Motherfucking Peeps™ openly spit in the face of physics and logic and once you open a package of them you can’t stop eating them.
4. Marshmallow Creme
If you never had a Fluffernutter (Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Fluff sandwich) for lunch growing up, take out your phones and call your parents immediately. We’ll wait.
Okay you got a hold of them? Tell them that AFFotD wants them to know that they are terrible parents and absolutely ruined your childhood. You’ll understand what we’re talking about when you have your first Fluffernutter. It’d delicious. Marshmallow Paste has been around for over a hundred years, and it’s impossible to get tired of it. And yes, it’s delicious with bananas.
Where would the Cereal Executives be without the massive surge in sales they get from kids picking out the Marshmallows and throwing away the rest of the cereal? Turning tricks in dark alleyways probably, right?
6. Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
Actually, forget we added this one. Fuck this guy. The rest of it though? And everything else Marshmallows are made for? Awesome. Delicious. American.