Mmmmm, tastes like arbitrary, capitalism-driven tradition
For many of a year we forget about marshmallows. We mangle them out for s’mores when we go camping and we give them to a kids to fire out of homemade PVC marshmallow guns, yet mostly they’re absent from a renouned consciousness. Which is excellent since who unequivocally likes marshmallows? But afterwards Thanksgiving rolls around and unexpected we’re putting marshmallows on honeyed potatoes and blending them into fruit salads and adding them to that jello thing with a canned oranges that Grandma always brings. None of a dishes are really improved by a further of marshmallows, yet it’s tradition. It’s our heritage.
And also it’s a Big Marshmallow marketing intrigue to keep we purchasing their fluffy, gelatinous, some-more or reduction meaningless candies to top your honeyed potatoes, when you’d be most improved off only adhering with brownish-red sugarine and pecans.
It goes like this. Two brothers, Frederick and Louis Rueckheim—the guys who invented Cracker Jacks—start mass producing marshmallows in 1907. Ten years pass, and a two decide it’s time to kindle some marshmallow demand. So (according to Saveur) they sinecure a man who founded a Boston Cooking School Magazine to come adult with a garland of marshmallow-centric recipes, including—but really not singular to—marshmallow-topped honeyed potato casserole. And people totally bought it. Later, a association circulated a second recipe pamphlet full of some-more #SponsoredContent advocating for a inclusion of marshmallows in all sorts of dishes where they don’t belong, adding insult to damage with a bunch more variations on a honeyed potato casserole. Flash brazen to like 100 years after and Aunt Tammy is literally trace mini-marshmallows over a bed of candied yams as we speak.
So now we know that your family tradition that has been upheld down from era to era was done adult by a house so they could sell we a product we didn’t wish or need. Just like rendezvous rings. And Mothers Day. And the Transformers franchise. But only as engagements rings and Mothers Day and the Transformers movies have embedded in our culture, for improved and (definitely) for worse, those uncanny marshmallow dishes are here to stay. They’ve turn one of those unique informative dishes that carries definition in annoy of being kinda sum (like fruitcakes and mooncakes and other less-than-delicious seasonal treats). Because only as there’s something special about eating a turkey on Thanksgiving even yet it’s a world’s misfortune meat, there’s something special about putting marshmallows in casseroles and jello salads once a year to weigh that, hey, this is a meaningful time. And if Campfire® marshmallows is a primary customer of a friendship to this singly American custom, well, so be it.
Thomas Harlander is youth web producer at Los Angeles magazine. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram. He recently wrote “These Are a Most Spectacular Vistas for Viewing a L.A. Skyline.”