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Monday, December 19, 2011

Not Chewing Gum

Many of the things I pursued as an adult were things that, lacking money and adequate knowledge, foiled my efforts as a child - kite flying, juggling, photography, and eating enough marshmallows.

It was summer, sometime around 1960, and I found myself in a backlot in Bristol, CT, with a couple of friends. We had built a makeshift campsite. Everything we did was makeshift. We had dug out a shallow foxhole (I don't know why) and had fashioned an A-frame tent-like structure which we placed over our dugout. The tent was made from corrugated cardboard, the scrounger's building material of choice - ubiquitous and free.

All that remained was something to barbecue or toast. Our meager funds ruled out any food, including marshmallows. The few cents we could pull together only allowed us to purchase one pack of chewing gum. Very sad, but true. And that is how, on that summer day, you would have found me and my entourage toasting chewing gum (skewered on sticks) rather than marshmallows. Our feast of burnt and melted gum was inedible - one could easily say that the outing was a failure. Marshmallows would have to wait for another time, when I had money.

I do recall one occasion in Fire Island where I was first introduced to S'mores. Indulging in such things seemed very appropriate for summer at the beach.
Marshmallow, however, is everything that New York City is not - soft, fluffy, sweet, and benign. So, even as an adult, with money to buy a room full of marshmallows, it was never forefront in my mind. I don't recall ever being offered a marshmallow in New York City.

So when a friend told me that the Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake at Stand 4 was a must have, I was on my way and at the bar within minutes, placing an order for this milkshake which is taken quite seriously. It comes highly recommended and reviewed. It was featured on the Food Network's "Best Thing I Ever Ate." Like many of the artisanal food places in NYC, Stand 4 goes the extra mile. According to Gourmet Magazine, the ingredients list consists of 3 scoops of vanilla ice cream (they use Laboratorio del Gelato), 1 tablespoon of whole milk, 1 large dollop of Woodstock Water Buffalo Milk yogurt, 5 Kraft Jumbo Jet-Puffed marshmallows, and whipped cream.

The Toasted Marshmallow Shake arrived shortly, delivered by a finely feathered waitress. The shake was delicious. Now, here was the unrequited love of my youth, brought vividly to mind in a new, extraordinary concoction. It feels like the summer of 1960, only I have enough money and we are toasting marshmallows, not chewing gum :)

Related Posts: Kick in the Shins, Cones, Trucks and Things, Fluff, Bon Appetit, Peanut Butter & Co.


Kendigram said...

Oh my gosh, I LOVE marshmallows! Yum! Gotta try that!

Leslie said...

I so love your childhood stories, this one is so funny!!

I'm getting a very strong memory of marshmallow and peanut butter swirled together in one jar, in my NYU dorm room fridge just around the time I met you in 1970. Sounds disgusting now but I'm quite sure I bought it for you....hmmmm...why?

There are other things to put on a stick to roast. At the Bryce Canyon campground M and I also had no marshmallows, but with such a gorgeous campfire we had to do something. Well, skewer up the bread and make yourself some toast! ;-)