“Okay, class, today is National Marshmallow Toasting Day. To celebrate, we are going on a field trip to the park around the corner! We’ll roast some marshmallows, talk about marshmallows, make marshmallow pizzas, make up scary stories about marshmallow monsters, and even feed marshmallows to my cat, Marshmallow!”
Marshmallow lifted up her head from the bed in the corner, looked around, and fell back asleep.
Ms. Marsh’s hair was white. Her glasses were white. Her clothes were white. Her handbag was white. In all ways imaginable, Ms. Marsh looked like a marshmallow.
Bruno kicked me under the table.
“She’s crazy, you know that?”
It was the second day of the third grade and our teacher was taking us on a marshmallow themed field trip.
“Yeah, I noticed.”
One kid, Isabel, raised her hand.
“Ms. Marsh, where do marshmallows come from?”
“Oh, good question, Isabel! The history of marshmallows is a fascinating one!”
Ms. Marsh squealed as she spoke.
“Class, pack your things, grab your marshmallows and sticks, and line up outside. I will answer Isabel’s question on the way to the park.”
I stood next to Bruno in line.
“Hey, Justin. Ms. Marsh should be called Ms. Marshmallow, right?”
“Yeah, good one, Bruno.”
Ms. Marsh came out of the classroom and started towards the park. We trailed behind her.
“The first person to eat an ancient version of the marshmallow was probably an Egyptian.”
Bruno put his arms up and started to walk like an Egyptian. He laughed and looked at me to see if I was watching.
Ms. Marsh continued our history lesson.
“The Egyptians took out the sap from the mallow plant and mixed it with their nuts and honey. Or so the story goes. But that sap looked much different from the marshmallows you are carrying in your bags.”
I looked at Bruno’s bag. It was empty. Bruno had eaten all of his marshmallows and we weren’t even a block away from the school.
“The modern marshmallow traces its roots back to 19th century France where confectioners hand-whipped the sap from the mallow plant to create a fluffy and chewy new product.”
Bruno grabbed my marshmallow bag and pretended to whip the marshmallows on the inside. He laughed and handed the bag back to me.
“But because this process required so much work, later in the 19th century, the French confectioners started using egg whites and corn starch to skip the process of sap extraction.”
I don’t think Bruno understood this last part because he didn’t make any jokes about it.
“Then, in 1948, a man named Alex Dumak created a new process which gave the marshmallow the shape you see in your bags.”
“Except for me, of course,” Bruno whispered, looking at me. “Because I don’t have any marshmallows in my bag anymore.”
He laughed as Ms. Marsh built a fire in the charcoal grill so we could all toast our marshmallows.
Except for Bruno, of course.
August 30 is National Marshmallow Toasting Day. Celebrate the day by toasting a marshmallow wherever and however you prefer.