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ICYMI: The USDA Published a Guide to Roasting Marshmallows

Pearls Before Swine is one of my favorite comic strips. While I normally read it for the daily laugh, today's strip did the immense public service of reminding me how silly our government can be:


This guide is actually real.

Posted by Stephan Pastis on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

He's right--the guide is real. The guide, which was published in August of 2014 on the USDA's blog, includes fire safety tips and also suggests that a person healthy up a s'more with a piece of grilled pineapple in lieu of chocolate.

Now, let’s get to the marshmallow basics. Use a roasting stick of at least 30 inches in length. The degree a marshmallow is roasted runs the gamut, from the barely cooked, light caramel-colored outer layer to the flaming marshmallow that contains a gooey interior wrapped by a crispy, blackened shell. From there, most people graduate to s’mores and rarely move on.

But there are some innovative ways to roast the little white treats that can help cut down on the amount of sugar intake by the kids, thus making bedtime a little more doable.

Think fruit.

Even if the kids – including us older ones – insist on more traditional s’mores, there are some healthy tricks. Grill thin slices of pineapple and substitute chocolate for the sweet, warm fruit. You will still get a tasty treat but by substituting with fruit, it is healthier – as long as you watch the amount of marshmallows used. If you want to cut down even more on calories, try using slices of angel food cake instead of graham crackers.


First, it will be a very cold day in hell the day I opt for grilled pineapple in a s'more instead of chocolate, and second...why was this necessary? If a person has to be told by a USDA guide to not stand directly in a campfire while roasting a marshmallow or to keep their kids decently away from a large fire, it's an actual miracle that they've managed to survive on this planet this long without Darwin Award-ing themselves. This is the kind of blog post you'd expect to see on one of those (admittedly, adorable) stay-at-home-mommy blogs next to a post about making a fun end-of-summer craft before school starts, not a blog from an official government agency.

The USDA should have more to worry about than ensuring that the public knows all about "marshmallow basics" to avoid injuring themselves in the s'more-making process. Heck, I'm actually slightly shocked the ultra-safe campfire-free "microwave s'more" wasn't laid out in detail as an alternative to the big scary campfire.

As summer is nearly upon us, please be safe and avoid triggering the need for the government to write some other useless guide for basic life activities.

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