Don’t get me wrong, I can understand why some people would want to roast marshmallows to that “perfect” golden-brown. I wouldn’t wish Marshmallow-induced salmonella on my worst enemy, so I get it. I will say that the classic à point marshmallow is a bit cliché, but it’s acceptable, and doesn’t interfere much with the natural marshmallow flavor. At least, certainly not as much as a darker bien cuit treatment, with the hints of charring that ravage the sweet marshmallow flesh. But even that is nowhere near the level of the torch-waving maniacs, who seemingly find nothing sacred, who burn their marshmallows to black, conduct which should never be allowed within ten miles of any Michelin Star campfire.

That being said, my years of experience have proven to me time and again that even a lighter treatment of the marshmallow has subtle effects on the marshmallow’s chemical composition. This causes slightly caramelized undertones to come through. This, while preferable to some, masks the true flavor of the marshmallow. While the sugar flavor certainly still comes through, the gelatin’s sophisticated zest is unfortunately crowded out. Instead, I would recommend simply warming the marshmallow in vicinity to the fire at most. Be sure to hold it adjacent to the fire and not above it, as you don’t want the smoke particles to corrupt the marshmallow and then your precious taste buds.

Of course, none of this is important if your palate is not refined enough to tolerate the marshmallow in its rawest form, just as nature intended. Only a select few can truly appreciate all the flavor a raw marshmallow has to offer, typically after years of training, give or take a PhD. It takes an expert to immediately taste the difference between “Jet-Puffed,” “Kroger,” “Dandies,” “Smash Mallow,” and of course “Campfire.” But if you think you may be able to cherish the full flavor of the marshmallow, or as I like to call it, “nature’s candy,” try ordering it tartare next time. 

—B. Hollander-Bodie

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